Sunday, February 6, 2011

In preparation for a tea party a friend and I have in the works, I decided to test some recipes.  The one I did today was for tea cakes.  The recipe I used was from Williams Sonoma and called Lime Tea Cakelets.  It called for the mini cakes to be baked in a mini swirl pan, but they don't make a mini swirl pan, and neither does anyone else as far as I could tell, so I made it in my mother's bundt pan instead. 

Adjustments (of course): Besides the bigger pan, I also only had one lime, so I used the lime and then about half an orange.  The cake was VERY limey as it was, so I don't think I missed much on that one.  I also steeped to Earl Grey tea bags in the milk, assuming they were about a tablespoon filled each.  The thought of steeping tea in hot milk was absolute decadence to me, which made me wonder about my view of indulgence.  The cake had pretty much no tea flavor, but I don't know if it was just supposed to be subtle, or because of the bags vs. loose tea.  Come to think of it, we actually have loose Earl Grey here (at my mother's).  I made a pot of it last week and my 2 1/2 year old niece picked up a dried leaf and said, "I can eat this?"  We decided on no.  Or yes, but it might not taste good.  She eats basil off the plant though, so there's no telling what will work. 

The cake baked up quite nicely (in 40 minutes for the full-sized), and came out of it's pan nicely as well. Because it's Superbowl Sunday, we indulged and had dessert at around 4pm (which we later decided was tea), and will eat dinner during the game. The whit stuff is whipped cream because, well, why not have whipped cream when you can?  We pretended it was clotted cream.  We also looked up the recipe for clotted cream in the 1964 Joy of Cooking, but the first direction in the recipe was pretty much literally, "get a cow," so we stuck with whipped.  Recipe below the pictures. 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. Earl Grey tea leaves, steeped in 3/4 cup hot milk for 10-15 minutes
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and grated zest of 2 limes
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

  • Have all ingredients at room temperature.
  • Position rack in lower thrid of oven and preheat to 325F.
  • Butter and flour wells of a swirl cake pan; tap out excess flour.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper; set aside.
  • Pour milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Press liquid from tea leaves; discard leaves.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds.
  • Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes; stop mixer and scrap bowl occasionally.
  • Add eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • On very low speed, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk and ending with flour; blend each addition until just incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl occasionally.
  • Fill wells in pan a little more than halfway.
  • Bake until cakes spring back when touched and pull away from sides of pan, 10-12 minutse.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack, cool to the touch and remove cakes from pan.
  • Repeat with remaining batter.
  • Dust with confectioners' sugar.
Serves 12

Adapted from Sweet Miniatures, by Flo Braker (Chronicle Books, 2000).

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