This posting is an acknowledgement of the many blessings in the life of a small business.  Every business, large or small, benefits from personal recommendations but small enterprises are especially dependent on word of mouth recommendations. So at the risk of blowing our horns too loudly, we are sharing a digital ‘word of mouth’ recommendation.

“Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas entered our lives a few years ago. It would not be December without a visit from Marilyn. Three sisters, and sometimes a fourth, invite our daughters and friends to spend one heavenly afternoon sharing a glorious tea party. We all dress up in our finest hats and gloves. Next December (2014) we hope to be joined by the first member of the next generation.  It has become such a special tradition, we cannot imagine skipping even one year.”

Marilyn, Justine and Jocie from Toronto and Winnipeg

Cranberry and white chocolate cake.  Photo credit: Charles Wakefield

Cranberry and white chocolate tea bread. Photo credit: Charles Wakefield

Cranberry and white chocolate tea bread

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries – roughly chopped
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided in two
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, at room temperature; lightly beaten
1 1/2 vanilla extract
6 oz white chocolate, ‘hammered’ into bite size bits

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter an 8.5 x 4.5 x 3 inch loaf pan, or other similar volume pan – for the holidays, we chose a round pan.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together cranberries and two tablespoons of sugar. set aside
  3. In a large bowl, stir together flour, remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. In another small bowl stir together milk, melted butter, egg and vanilla until blended.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture; add milk mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in cranberry mixture and the bits of white chocolate.
  6. Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes or until cake tester inserted in the centre of the tea bread comes out clean.
  7. Place pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove tea bread from pan and allow to cool thoroughly on rack.