5 expert tips for the best Mother’s Day high tea at home

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5 expert tips for the best Mother’s Day high tea at home

Mother’s Day is upon us once again, and it’s time to make a splash and make it an extra-special day for your mom or any mother figure in your life you’d like to celebrate. If you’re looking for an idea on how to bring a smile to mom’s face on this day but you’re not sure what to do, an intimate high tea enjoyed at home might be just the ticket. Khanya chats to Rebecca Timkoe of Ginger Pops Confectionery in Gqeberha about her high-tea picks and how to make it Four-Seasons worthy.

Our mothers do so much for us, so it’s kind of tough to know where to start when it comes to showing our appreciation for them. “Keep it simple,” advises Rebecca Timkoe of Gqeberha-based Ginger Pops confectionery. Living a life immersed in the sweet, Rebecca has made sweet treats for many a Mother’s Day and has racked up plenty of high-tea experience over the years. Ginger Pops is the city’s largest supplier of classic French macarons, delivering macarons in hundreds of creative flavours to her loyal fan base. Some of her most popular flavours include creamy crème brulée macarons with cracking caramel tops and pistachio macarons filled with raspberry cream. One of her better-kept secrets is a decadently fudgy brownie, which is smothered with chocolate ganache and generously sprinkled with chocolate pop rocks. It’s utterly delicious and made only on the most special of occasions. Rebecca is constantly experimenting and creating new sweets in her studio kitchen, sharing them with friends and family, and supplying local coffee shops. She shares how she celebrates her mom on Mother’s Day, and how you can make a Mother’s Day high tea at home feel extra special.


Find the recipe for  Rebecca’s macarons here. 

“I come from a very food-oriented family, in that we’ve all always worked in the food industry, so when it comes to actually getting down and celebrating, we’re more likely to whip out the braai and make a few salads. Working with sweets all the time, I tend to veer towards the savoury, but I always make sure there are some macarons and sweet treats at the end of the meal for mom to try. She often helps me out in the kitchen on the really busy days, and I also know which flavours she loves, so I always make a little extra.”

1. Have cake as a centrepiece


Find the recipe for glazed marble cake here. 

In terms of a high tea table, I think the most important thing to know is what your mother really likes. “I personally think a cake in the centre of the table is a great feature. The cake doesn’t even have to be cake as we know it, it can be a large, luscious pavlova, piled high with fresh berries or whatever is in season, sweet fruity coulis or curd and dollops of fresh cream folded into yoghurt.” Studio H and Sweet Lion Heart Confectionery have popularised savoury cakes for Cape Town through a series of collaborative events and they’ve been an absolute hit – think fresh bread layered with snoek paté, fresh cucumber and Cape Malay spiced apricot, all enveloped in cream cheese designed to look just like a sweet cake.A genius idea for moms with more of a savoury tooth.

If icing a cake isn’t your strong suit, Rebecca advises a naked cake. “They always look decadent and so stylish, and they’re a blank canvas that you can just pile all your hopes and dreams onto! It’s the type of cake you don’t really need to have any special skills in the kitchen to make. If you like, make some chocolate ganache to drizzle over your naked cake for a little more indulgence.” You can also kind of cheat it here and buy some miniature desserts you can use to decorate the top of your cake – think brownie bites, mini chocolate0chip cookies, cubes of fudge and chocolate-covered Turkish delight.

CHECK OUT: Our cake recipe collection. 

2. Make sure there are savouries and sandwiches

If you have a mom who doesn’t like sweet things, make some sandwiches with some of her favourite fillings and cut the sandwiches into rounds using a cookie cutter, or simply cut off the crusts and cut into fingers or triangles. For fillings, think smoked salmon, dill, pickled red onions and cream cheese, or pepperoni pizza-themed tiny toasties. Miniature pies and savoury pastries like samoosas, wontons and spring rolls are also a cool addition to the high-tea menu and they provide some balance so that not everything is sweet. Bao buns and other filled dumplings are always delicious and will be the first thing to disappear off the table.


Find the recipe for chicken-and-dhania samoosas here. 

3. Don’t forget the cheese and fruit

A platter of assorted cheese and fruit is always a winner. Take the opportunity to make it a platter of mom’s favourites – fancy hams, smoked salmon ribbons, crudités (ones that mom will actually eat, like colourful exotic cherry tomatoes and crunchy mangetout) and, of course, an assortment of cheese – extra points if you keep the cheese selection local. It’s also always a good idea to cut and arrange some seasonal fruit on a couple of platters and place on them on each end of the table so that everyone can reach them.


ALSO READ: 5 key pairings to make your cheeseboard come alive

4. Use the fancy platters and plates

A high tea presents us with the opportunity to really be a little over the top, and to make things beautiful. Bring out your best platters and cake stands. If you don’t have one, simply take a glass with a wide base and top it with a plate to make a makeshift cake stand that will add some height to your table, too. You can make a few of these, and they don’t need to balance only cakes, you can place anything you choose on them.

espresso cupcakes

Find the recipe for Espresso cupcakes here. 

5. Flowers and candles on the table add a special touch

Flowers are important for any celebration. Make a beautiful arrangement to place in the centre of the table, or a series of smaller arrangements to place strategically between all the snacks. Candles are always lovely, too. If you’re staying indoors, dot your table with tea lights or go all out and get some pretty candles to incorporate some romance into your table setting. Remember, this day is all about mom, so unless the high tea is a surprise, ask her what she likes and make sure it’s all there when she arrives.

Malva pudding cake with custard icing

Find the recipe for malva pudding cake with custard icing here. 

While all of this might seem like a lot, you’re free to make your high tea as simple or as complex and detailed as you’d like. If you decide to simply head to your nearest Woolies and buy everything readymade, we won’t tell if you don’t. After all, the most important part of the table is the people seated around it. Gather all of mom’s friends and make it a party she won’t soon forget. If you need a little more inspiration, check out our afternoon tea recipe guide more delectable treats to entice mom. Fin the guide here.

Follow Rebecca Timkoe at @gingerpops.


Khanya Mzongwana Article by: Khanya Mzongwana

If you're anything like our deputy food editor Khanya Mzongwana, you're obsessed with uniqueness and food with feeling. Cook her family-tested favourites, midweek winners and her mouth-wateringly fresh takes on plant-based eating.

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