As far as I’m concerned, the new year JUST began. So it’s ok to still be feeling festive. Our tree is still up and we had never gotten around to putting lights on it. We’re thinking of finally doing that and leaving it up for the rest of January.
I know you’re judging me just a bit. And so I’m going to distract you with this cake. Which is as Christmasy as this one.
The super awesome customised board you see in this photo was a gift from my Secret Santa. And the mulled tea that went into this cake was a gift from another friend to her Santa Baby (what exactly is the recipient called?).
As always, I fell for the tin that this beautiful tea came in. Designed by the super talented Alicia Souza and made by, but unfortunately sold out on, the Tea Trunk. It has all the flavours that these little pies have, but in a cup of tea. I don’t think it gets much better than that. I’m not the world’s most enthusiastic tea drinker, but a cup of this does taste pretty darn good. One whiff when you open the packet will send your olfactory bulbs into raptures, I kid you not.
I made this cake with half barley, half regular flour, mainly because I ran out of the regular kind. As always though, whole grains lend a better flavour and barley in particular, does wonders for the texture of all cakes and muffins. Try it!
I also added almonds on top, because I prefer to that to the frosting in the beautiful original recipe. I love butter, but buttery frostings for some reason are not my thing.
Oh also, a lot of people who tasted this were reminded of these pumpkin muffins, I’m not sure why!
The colour and flavour of the cake will vary according to what kind of tea you use. This particular mulled tea is not very dark and the flavours of the spices are stronger than that of the tea itself. If you look at the original recipe, you will see a very dark cake, which you should get if you use regular black tea. This mulled version uses Assam tea leaves, by the way. My favourite 🙂
Oh, speaking of mulled things…
The cake itself comes together quickly, unless you accidentally drop some tea leaves into the batter and spend the next 10 minutes with your better half, fishing them out.
I promise this cake will stop you from being depressed about the holiday season ending! (It’s still on, ok?)
What you’ll need:
1 cup milk
3 to 4 tbsps black tea/contents of 3 to 4 tea bags (depending on how strong your variety is)
3/4 cup sugar (increase to 1 cup if you are not using mulled tea, which is sweetish)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract (in hindsight, I should have omitted this since the tea was flavoured anyway)
1 and 3/4 cups flour
1 and 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)
What to do:
1. Warm the milk till just boiling and add the tea. Turn off the heat and leave it to steep and cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease a 9″ cake tin. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, if using. Set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs, beating well. You can do this whole thing by hand.
4. Add the vegetable oil and vanilla, if using. Beat again. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix well.
5. Strain the milk and tea leaves mixture into the above and mix slowly till you have a smooth batter.
6. Pour into the prepared dish, sprinkle with almonds or any other dried fruits, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool, slice and serve with, what else, a cup of hot tea 🙂