1. ITV Report

Mathematician cooks up perfect cream tea recipe

Rodda's, who commissioned the research, is the oldest producer of cornish clotted cream Photo: Rodda's clotted cream

A mathematician claims to have devised a formula to create the perfect cream tea.

Rodda's, a family run creamery based in Cornwall, commissioned Dr Eugenia Chen from Sheffield University to create a formula that identifies the perfect ratio of scone, cream and jam used to make up a cream tea.

Dr Cheng's research found that:

  • Clotted cream is better suited to a scone than whipped cream
  • The total thickness of the scone should be around 2.8 cm
  • Jam must be spread before the application of the clotted cream due to its density
  • The thickness of the cream should not be thicker than the scone because the stone may become unstable during the eating process
  • A rim of around 5 mm is required around the jam, to prevent a mess, and then a further rim of 5 mm for when the cream is placed on top of the jam

The mathematician compared the art of building a scone to constructing a good sandcastle, arguing that a wider base is required before the scone becomes narrower, to ensure stability and to avoid dripping.

The formula designed to ensure the perfect cream tea Credit: Sheffield University

Dr Cheng, who is renowned for using food to explain complicated maths to students, said:

This formula shows that maths is relevant in our everyday world, and that maths can give us a logical explanation for something we've discovered by gut feeling, like that clotted cream is better than whipped cream.

The new formula will debut at the Royal Cornwall Show in early June.

Rodda's director Nicholas Rodda said the formula ensured the perfect cream tea could be produced "no matter where you are in the country".