Afternoon Tea and DIY Sugar Cubes

diy fancy sugar cubes

DIY Sugar Cubes ~ these fancy sugar cubes are surprisingly easy to make, and can transform morning coffee or afternoon tea into a truly memorable occasion!

Make your own adorable sugar bon bons for afternoon tea

The other day I had the most fun I’ve had in a while, some girlfriends and I went on an afternoon tea excursion to the historic Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena.  I could definitely get used to this…we spent a leisurely couple of hours sitting and chatting and being waited on hand and foot.

tea at the langham hotel

We started off with a Kir Royale, which is one of my favorite elegant cocktails — Crème de cassis topped off with champagne, and no, it wasn’t 5 o’clock yet!

kir royale

Langham Hotels and Resorts is a British owned company, and so it makes perfect sense that they would institute the venerable old tradition of Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood at the Langham Huntington. It’s one of the more complete services I’ve experienced, with lots of interesting choices of tea, (I chose the English Floral, a rose, heather, elderflower, and lavender blend) and plenty to eat.  I came super hungry, and left super happy!  The three tiered tray holds everything from traditional scones and clotted cream to tea sandwiches and pastries.  I’m not sure if the other ladies noticed, but I scarfed down one of the smoked salmon on sourdough with caramelized shallot caper cream before we even unfolded our napkins… :)

tea sandwiches at the Langham Huntington

If you live in the area and want to show Mom how much she means to you, I recommend taking her to the Langham…they’re all booked up for this Mother’s Day, but you can give her a rain check.  She’ll love it, and so will you.

diy lemon sugar cubes

Lemon sugar cubes

It’s hard to come off the high of spending a few glorious hours at a luxury hotel, it’s like the letdown after a great vacation…reality settles in like a thud.  I kinda wanted to keep the romance alive, so I set right to work creating my own elegant little sugar cubes to make my regular old tea a little more special.  They aren’t really cubes, I guess, they’re more like little bon bons, but, whatever.  They’re even prettier than the plain paper wrapped ones we had at the Langham!  It’s super duper easy, even your toddler can help.  You can use them to fancy-up your own afternoon tea, or add them to the breakfast-in-bed tray this Sunday.  If you’re the ‘Mom’ in residence, make these and set them out as a hint…

rose flavored sugar cubes

I went a little nutty and made all kinds of flavors, starting with lemon, and then I moved on to rose, orange blossom, lavender, and even jasmine.  There’s no end to the fun you can have.  But I’m guessing most of you will be happy with plain sugar.  The key is that you moisten the sugar ever so slightly with either water, or your flavoring of choice, and then press it firmly into a plastic or silicone mold.  You can add a touch of gel paste food coloring if you like.

molding sugar cubes

Flip the mold over and voila! – you’ve got perfect little sugar bon bons.  They dry firm in less than an hour, and then you can set them out on a tray or in a bowl.  The plain ones will keep indefinitely, but the ‘flavored’ ones will not last as long because the scent and flavors will eventually fade.

do-it-yourself sugar 'cubes'

There is no trick to these at all, the sugar falls right out of the molds.  The only thing you have to do is make sure to mold your sugar while it is still damp, and let the cubes sit, untouched, while they dry, for at least 30 minutes.  If you mess up, just scoop up the sugar and remold it.

diy jasmine flower sugar cubes

One of the interesting ‘flavors’ I made was jasmine.  I made it the same way I made my lemon sugar for my LEMON SUGAR SHORTBREAD, but instead of lemon rind I processed regular sugar with a handful of blossoms.  This would work with honeysuckle, lilac, and lavender too.  You can even use raw sugar for this, if you prefer, because the processor will break up the crystals enough for it to mold sharply.

DIY Sugar Cubes for Afternoon Tea

Yield: each 1/2 cup sugar makes approximately 12 sugar cubes

Ingredients

    plain sugar cubes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp water
    lemon sugar cubes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • rind from 1/2 lemon (I use a serrated vegetable peeler to thinly peel the rid off, just the yellow, not the bitter white part)
    rose sugar cubes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater
  • touch of gel paste food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  1. For the plain sugar cubes, put the sugar into the bowl of a small food processor and add the water. Process until the sugar is uniformly moist, this will just take about 30 seconds.
  2. For the lemon sugar, put the sugar into your processor. Add the lemon rind and process until the rind is completely incorporated into the sugar and it is a pale yellow. I give the small machine a little shake now and then to redistribute everything. You don't need the water for this one because the rind adds the moisture.
  3. For the rose sugar cubes, process the sugar with the rose water.
  4. Spoon the moist sugar into plastic molds and press in firmly. Use the pads of your fingers to really make sure you've packed it in. The processor will have 'fluffed up' the sugar which is why you need to pack it down.
  5. To invert the mold you can either do it directly onto a flat surface like your counter top, or you can place something firm and flat over the mold, and invert the mold and the surface together,
  6. Gently lift the mold so you don't disturb the delicate impressions. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. They will be firm enough to handle and even stack, carefully!

Notes

Work with the sugar while it is damp.

https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/afternoon-tea-and-diy-sugar-cubes/

lemon sugar cubes

I used my trusty Cuisinart mini food processor to blend up the sugars, and the very same plastic bon bon mold I used in this post.  Any plastic or silicone mold with small openings will do.  You can find them at large craft stores.

diy fancy sugar cubes

This is a really straightforward, simple project, it shouldn’t cause you any trouble at all.  Whether you’re treating mom, or just kicking back with friends, the only thing you have to decide is…

Make your own fancy sugar cubes - it's easy!

 

38 Comments

  • Reply
    Patricia D. Pageau
    August 2, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes! As you, High Tea is a great way to have a relaxing and quite delicious afternoon! I was wondering where did you get your jasmine flowers? I will be trying them for sure I have a “Tea Party” soon. Shall take a try at the clodded cream too. Once you have the “Tea” bug you live from one experience to the next, so wonderful to be served!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 2, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Hi Patricia! Thanks for your kind words, and I have a jasmine vine growing in my yard, so I have an endless supply of flowers!

  • Reply
    Julie Meadows
    June 1, 2017 at 11:16 am

    How far in advance can I make these? Will they freeze well?

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 1, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      These will last basically forever, Julie, no need to freeze.

  • Reply
    Christie
    March 10, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Can this be done with Stevia powder?

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 10, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      I’m not sure, you’d have to experiment, Christie! And let us know :)

  • Reply
    Barbara
    February 8, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    These are so incredibly easy! I adore fancy sugar cubes for afternoon teas but am not that skilled at piping icing onto ready made cubes. These are an effortless option. I have found that 1/2 teaspoon water did not work for me, I had to use a bit more. In fact I grated lemon rind for some and orange rind for others and then squeezed lemon or orange juice in the processor without even measuring it. The texture of wet sand is the key to success. Thanks for the idea, I appreciate being able to make them myself.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 8, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      You’re so welcome Barbara!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    August 12, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    My boys enjoy a cube or two whenever we’re dining out at a local french restaurant. They are just 6 and 3 but I’d be super mom if I could make them at home for a special treat, esp. if I can find airplane or car molds! Thank you for the awesome post!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 12, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      You can definitely find those molds, Melissa —https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EFN551G/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thvifrthgris-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01EFN551G&linkId=791dab0a519a160cd5e9c26b32500515

      • Reply
        Carla
        January 25, 2017 at 10:43 pm

        I love the pattern of ur blue and white cup, where do you get it, I purchase a plate with the same pattern in a yard sale. But I will love to buy the set.

  • Reply
    Margarita Monjaras
    February 23, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    If I don’t have a food processor can I just use my blender?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 23, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Yes, and you can also do it by hand, Margarita.

  • Reply
    Angela
    January 22, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Where do find the molds? Any suggestions for how to store the cubes?

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      You can find the molds, which are candy molds, in any large craft store, Angela. You can also go to Amazon and search for them, there are TONS of shapes. You can store the cubes just like regular sugar, once they dry they are fairly sturdy. They can be kept in a small bowl if you like.

      • Reply
        Ruth
        February 24, 2016 at 12:36 pm

        You may be able to find them at Walmart also

  • Reply
    Diane {Created by Diane}
    May 13, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    these are ADORABLE and they are going straight to the top of my must make list!

  • Reply
    Susan
    May 11, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    What a beautiful place, Sue! What a fun ‘thing’ you’ve started. My all-time favorite aperitif is a Kir Royale! So delicious with a twist of lemon :) Your sugar cubes are so pretty! What a beautiful idea.

  • Reply
    Abbe+@+This+is+How+I+Cook
    May 10, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    My mother used to bring s sugar cubes when she dined at a fancy restaurant. I would love to give her these. Thanks, Sue!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 11, 2015 at 9:45 am

      I think when we were kids we would eat them while we waited for our meal to arrive!

  • Reply
    Foodiewife
    May 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I absolutely adore going out for tea. Smoked salmon and cream cheese is my weakness, and I become highly territorial if those are on my tiered trays. I don’t consider myself to be craftsy or artistic by any means. But even I can make these, and I think they are so clever. Love this!

  • Reply
    Penny
    May 9, 2015 at 4:22 am

    I love all of the goodies on the three tiered tray. You are lucky to have such a great hotel close by. The sugar cubes are adorable!

  • Reply
    Lizzie {strayed table}
    May 8, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    What a brilliant idea. I love this, I am going to have to visit a few local op-shops and scout out some molds.

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 8, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      If you have a Joanne’s, or a Michaels, you should find them, Lizzie.

  • Reply
    Toni | BoulderLocavore
    May 8, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Sue these are the cutest EVER! What a fun and creative idea. I can think of so many uses for them and what a way to make a tea special. Love them.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    May 8, 2015 at 8:45 am

    What a fun and very creative idea. I would never have imagined how simple these are to make, what a great kids project and a wonderful way to make a cup of tea super special!

  • Reply
    Christine Faber
    May 8, 2015 at 7:25 am

    After loving every minute of 2 Air Force tours in the UK, we arrived back in the U.S., where I found myself automatically boiling water every afternoon at 4… While it may no longer be a daily occurrence, I often still immerse myself in both the Tea ‘ritual’ (beautiful teapot, tea cozy, “Hot the Pot”, steeping, my favorite China teacup), and the selection of the ‘right’ choice of tea (Lapsang Souchong for chilly, rainy afternoons) for the day… Thank you for this visit down Memory Lane.

  • Reply
    Mary
    May 7, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    These are spectacular, Sue. Your creativity never fails to amaze me!

  • Reply
    denise@magnoliaverandah
    May 7, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    What a great idea – must give these a go. Don’t you just love afternoon tea at a special hotel. Happy Mother’s Day.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    May 7, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    These cubes are so pretty, a must for afternoon tea!

  • Reply
    Christina @ Christina's Cucina
    May 7, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    It was such a lovely afternoon and truly like a mini-holiday, forgetting our stressful lives for a few hours! The sugar cubes look absolutely stunning and I never realized how easy these would be to make at home!

  • Reply
    Cynthia/what a girl eats
    May 7, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Fantastic post Sue! I agree, we need to find more places to splurge on afternoon tea! I can’t wait to make these cute sugar bon-bons!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 7, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Thanks Cynthia!

  • Reply
    Monica
    May 7, 2015 at 9:37 am

    What a fantastic idea. I’m daydreaming about afternoon tea right now and I think the little touches, like the sugar cubes, help make the experience so memorable and special. Growing up in Hong Kong, I remember lots of sugar cubes on the table at restaurants and I always loved to used the tongs and it was special. These are another level – lovely idea!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 7, 2015 at 10:16 am

      I’m not really sure what the point of sugar cubes is, but they sure are fun!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    May 7, 2015 at 9:21 am

    These are so fun! I bet they are super tasty in a nice cup of tea. You and your lovely lady friends have a great thing going on – a personal splurge is a thing of beauty and way too rare :) I always love your garnishes and use of natural flavors – these are magnificent! Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's+Recipes
    May 7, 2015 at 8:37 am

    wow just how adorable these sugar cubes look!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    May 7, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I am so jealous of all your tea outings (I love “tea” :) These sugar cubes are so pretty and love the flavour infusions. I must find myself a pretty mould!

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