I had my first slice of tea infused cake at my friend N’s house the year she and I sang in the Christmas pageant.
We had a one line solo together in O Holy Night, so every afternoon I went to her house and we rehearsed “Long lay the world, in sin and error pining” over and over until we weren’t so off key, and then we practiced our ‘fall on your knees’ routine. Our reward afterwards was a slice of cake and a drink. That to this day remains one of my most memorable Christmases.
You know how they say that it takes a village to raise a child? Well, N’s mom was the village; she was the quasi-mom to the kids in the neighbourhood. Strong, deeply religious and a disciplinarian, our parents never worried about us when we were at her house, and we loved hanging out at her house because she had the best snacks.
She gave cakes to families in the neighbourhood at Christmas time. Her signature Earl Grey cakes were beloved – sweet, moist and fluffy, they were these aromatic slices of heaven with tiny specks of tea leaves.
I had all but forgotten about that Christmas until I found the recipe for this black tea and cardamom cake last Christmas. I went looking for a quick cake to make and share with friends at the tree trimming.
Then all the memories came back, like how for years I wondered what the heck ‘error pining’ meant (Thanks google!).
This is a quick easy cake with exceptional flavouring. As far as flavour pairings go, black tea goes remarkably well with the heady warm notes of cardamom (and coffee and chocolate too).
It’s lush, soft and fragrantly unique – it smells delicious when baking and hours after.
It’s the sort cake that is fine for breakfast or as a snack, with several cups of tea, of course. It’s perfect dressed up with frosting for special occasions too.
The last time I baked two cakes: one with all-purpose flour and a second using a ratio of whole-wheat and buckwheat flour for a more rustic cake. This weekend for our tree trimming get-together, I’ll be doubling the recipe again and adding milled tea leaves to the batter to create tiny specks like those cakes from long ago.
- 1 cup almond milk (or some other non-dairy milk)
- 1 - 2 tablespoons loose-leaf black tea (about 3 - 6 tea bags)
- 1/4 cup or 2 oz. non-hydrogenated plant-based butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 over-ripened banana, mashed
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup white whole-wheat flour + 3/4 cup buckwheat flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees f., and butter a medium-sized pan
- Gently heat milk on a stove or microwave until near boiling and add tea to milk
- Let tea-steeped milk cool then strain and set aside, discard tealeaves
- Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy
- Add banana and coconut oil and mix well to incorporate
- Stir in tea-steeped milk and vanilla extract and mix
- In another bowl, combine flour with baking powder, baking soda, ground cardamom, nutmeg and salt
- Combine the wet ingredients with the flour mixture, and mix until evenly combined and batter is smooth
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 – 60 minutes.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 - 10 minutes, remove from pan and allow cake to cool completely before serving
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