Empress Tea Scones – The Best Scones Ever!

Today I’m sharing a the best scones ever recipe – the scones from the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria.

The Best Ever Empress Tea Scones  on a metal rack with other desserts.

Yesterday I shared my Valentine’s Day High Tea Party with you and I promised today I’d share this incredible Empress tea scone recipe to go along with it.

Trust me when I say they are the most delicious scones you’ve ever tasted!

You can make this scone recipe with or without raisins so I made half without raisins.

A white plate with gold leaf detail and raison and plain scones on it.

These scones are best with English clotted cream and strawberry jam.

The Best Ever Empress Tea Scones/ scones with clotted cream and jam, tea on the table.

These are my favorite brands of jam and clotted cream: Bonne Maman strawberry jam and Double Devon Cream.

Strawberry jam and English clotted cream on the table beside the scones.

This is the scone recipe from the Empress Hotel that I adapted to make less than the 35 scones it calls for in this recipe.

I  baked a few batches to get it perfect as this recipe was for such a large amount of biscuits.

A tea towel from the Empress Hotel with the recipe on it.
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4.34 from 6 votes

Empress Tea Scones

These Empress tea scones are truly the best scones you’ll ever taste. Based on the recipe from the famous Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC Canada. Perfect for high tea.
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 8 large scones
Author: Jamie Lundstrom – So Much Better With Age


  • 2 1/4 cups flour plus more for dusting
  • 1/3 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup whipping or heavy cream


  • Preheat oven to 350 deg F
  • Put flour in a large mixing bowl and crumb the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles small peas.
  • Add sugar, baking powder, 2 slightly beaten eggs, and salt and mix together with a fork until just combined.
  • Add raisins.
  • Pour the cream in and knead in to the dough.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll dough out on floured surface until 1 inch thick. Using a large circular cookie cutter dusted with flour, cut out the scones and place on ungreased baking sheet. (Note: you could use parchment paper but do not use a silpat – it makes the biscuits flat).
  • Leave the scones to rest for 5-10 min.
  • Beat one egg and brush just the top of the scones.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until just golden brown.

I hope you enjoy these scones for a high tea or just any day of the week!

Make sure to pin it for later!

Empress tea scones - the best scones ever graphic.

click in case you missed:

Valentine’s Day High Tea Party

High Tea Party For Valentine's Day poster.

Valentine’s Day Big Heart Cookie

Valentine's Day Big Heart Cookie graphic.

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    1. Good flavour & texture but with 3/4 cream & 2 eggs, mixture was rather too wet. Best to have at least 1/2 c more flour.
      Also, very important to sift flour, baking powder, salt & sugar together completely first, THEN add the butter to blend well before mixing in the cream & eggs mixture.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Generally if I use salted butter I don’t add extra salt but I think I used salted butter AND a pinch of salt in this recipe. And yes, unbleached all-purpose flour 😉
      Thanks for being here!
      Hugs, Jamie

  1. Hi there, a question and a comment: The Hotel tea towel recipe you show calls for 400F oven temperature. Wouldn’t taking it down to 350F affect the scones? Also, I know that people use “high tea” and “afternoon tea” interchangeably these days, particularly outside the UK, but high tea has traditionally been used to designate a full “supper” taken at a “high” kitchen table as opposed to the afternoon tea taken at a tea table and that only consists of 3 tiers of savory and sweet items as opposed to a meal taken after a full day’s work. It was a class thing obviously. So, high tea is an evening meal and afternoon tea is the dainty repast we all aspire to in our fantasies.

    1. Hi Dagmar, I’ve made the scones many times at 350 deg F but I know most scone recipes call for 400 deg F. It might be my oven on convection? I’m not sure.
      Every time I go for high tea, it’s always called high tea so that’s why I named them that. Canada is also a part of the British Commonwealth. High tea also gets more searches on Google for keywords. Thanks for your information.
      Hugs, Jamie

    2. 5 stars
      No, the tea towel clearly says 350, as does the recipe Jamie has given.

      Not sure where you got the 400 from, but the towel agrees with Jamie’s 350!

  2. Hi Jamie,
    back in 1995 I worked in the pastry department at the Empress Hotel and actually made the scones for afternoon tea. the thing that sets this recipe apart from others is using 35% or 36% whipping cream. the other secret ingredient is the raisins. we only used golden raisins which are more expensive than the regular brown Thompson raisins. To cut the scones before baking, we used a soup can, nothing fancy. Also, to create fluffy tall scones, cut down on the dough with the soup can and don’t twist your wrist too much because this drags the dough sideways and prevents the scone from rising nicely in the oven. Hope this info helps.

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