Host your own Blue Cross Tea Party

Host your own Blue Cross Tea Party
Sarah with Gino the Italian greyhound.jpg

We’re so excited to be teaming up with Blue Cross and celebrate the amazing work they do for animals and now, you can join us in helping the charity. 

This year, Blue Cross is hoping to raise £70,000 with its Paws for Tea campaign which calls on people to host their own tea parties. All money raised from the campaign will support the tens of thousands of sick, injured and abandoned dogs, cats, small animals and horses Blue Cross helps every year through its rehoming centres and animal hospitals across the country. 

To celebrate, Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding visited homeless kittens and cats to call on animal lovers everywhere to host a tea party for friends and family in aid of Blue Cross after visiting the charity’s rehoming centre in Lewknor, Oxfordshire.

During her visit to Blue Cross Lewknor, Sarah met five-week-old kittens Sage and Salsa. The kittens were born at the rehoming centre earlier this year after their mother Mouse was brought in heavily pregnant.

She also met Italian greyhound Gino who was rehomed by Blue Cross in 2015. The five year old regularly returns to the rehoming centre to act as an ambassador dog - a role which sees him provide canine support to other dogs who may be nervous in their new surroundings or unsure of being around other dogs.

Sarah with Sage the kitten 2.jpg

In 2017, Blue Cross helped 40,000 sick and injured pets through its rehoming centres and animal hospitals across the country. The pet charity also provides a range of other free services including a Pet Bereavement Support Service and education visits to schools, colleges and youth groups.

Heather Collin, Blue Cross Community and Events Regional Manager, said: “Blue Cross helps tens of thousands of pets every year and it’s events like Paws for Tea which raise the vital funds to make that possible as being a charity we receive no Government funding.

Planning to hold your own tea party? Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott has shared his recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Coconut Custard for this year’s campaign, perfect to treat your party guests too! 

Ainsley Harriott’s Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Coconut Custard


  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ of a tsp ground cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 60g softened butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 150g molasses or black treacle
  • 120ml boiling water
  • 200g tinned pumpkin puree
  • 430-500g carton fresh custard
  • 200ml carton coconut cream
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbls brandy (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm/8inch deep square or round cake tin.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarb, ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice and pinch of salt into a large bowl.
  3. Stir the molasses or black treacle into the boiling water until well combined, then stir in the pumpkin puree.
  4. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale, add the egg and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Gradually mix in the pumpkin and egg mixture into the dry ingredients until well combined. Do not over mix.
  6. Pour into the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for approx 45-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Coconut Custard

  1. Pour the custard, coconut milk, cinnamon and brandy into a small saucepan stir and heat gently. Alternatively you can combine and serve it chilled.
  2. To serve: cut the spiced pumpkin cake into squares and serve warm with coconut custard, crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream.


Preparation time: 15 mins

Serves: 8

Nutrition: n/a 


This cake can keep up to seven days in the fridge and can be kept warm or cold! 

  • Recipe and image courtesy of Ainsley Harriott
  • For more great recipes see Yours Magazine out every fortnight, on a Tuesday.