Thursday, 15 August 2013

Earl Grey tea cake

For the August meeting of the Stamford Clandestine Cake Club, we met at St John's Church, Stamford, so I thought it appropriate to bake an Earl Grey tea cake - More Tea Vicar!

This is a recipe from the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, which I have made a couple of times now. The first time, I opened the oven after the allotted baking time, only to find it not quite done yet and quickly sinking in the middle as all the air escaped out of the oven door. This time, I left it in a big longer to avoid the same - and I think it was a little overdone. Next time, I will get it spot on.

2 tbsp Earl Grey leaf tea
200 plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb
120g butter
330 caster sugar
3 eggs
120ml buttermilk (the first time I made this I had no buttermilk, so instead used a little natural yogurt and a little milk, and it seemed to do OK)
1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
Bash the hell out of the Earl Grey leaves with a pestle and mortar.
Sift together the tea, flour, and bicarb.
Beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
Gradually add the beaten eggs, adding a little flour if it looks like it is separating.
Mix in the flour a third at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Add the vanilla. Mix well. Pour into the tin.
Bake for about 45 minutes.

Once the cake is cool, pour icing over the top to drip down the sides. Make the icing using icing powder, lemon zest (about 1 lemon), and a couple of tablespoons of cold Earl Grey tea until you get the right consistency. I never measure the icing sugar.

This cake has a lovely texture with an interesting fleck of tea through it. The tangy lemon icing really does the flowery tea justice, and it went down really well with everyone who tried it. I made this for a birthday party the week before the cake club, and it disappeared so quickly I almost didn't get a piece.

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