Tea for Two and Two (Teas) for Tea: Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Loaves are, in my humble opinion, the underrated hero of the cake world. They often appear understated but, ooo baby, can they ever pack a flavour punch! This little earl grey number is one of my go-tos for tea time when I want to amp up a classic tea loaf just a bit.

It’s pretty darn easy to make and decorate and even easier to unwittingly polish off.

I mean, I can’t be the only one who continually goes back for “just another sliver” only to realize I’ve eaten half a loaf, right?

Earl Grey Tea Cake

 Makes 1 loaf

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Earl Grey tea leaves, very finely ground
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup Earl Grey infused milk, room temperature, recipe follows
Earl Grey glaze, recipe follows
Loose leaf Earl Grey tea, for decorating
Lemon zest, for decorating

Preheat your oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9- by 5-inch standard loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in the tea leafs and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  This should take about 2 minutes using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add the eggs, one at a time, then add in the vanilla and mix well to combine. 

With the mixer running on low, add in 1/3 of the flour followed by ½ of the earl grey infused milk and repeat until all of the flour and milk are used up.  Mix just until combined.  Scrape the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool slightly in the pan then turn the cake out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. 

Once cool, drizzle the top of the loaf with a generous helping of Earl Grey Glaze and a scattering of loose leaf Earl Grey tea and some lemon zest. 

Earl Grey Milk

1 cup 2% or whole milk
1 Earl Grey tea bag

Heat the milk in the microwave and add the tea bag.  Allow this to steep for 10 – 15 minutes to infuse the milk then remove the tea bag.

Earl Grey Glaze

2 ¼ cups icing sugar
1 bag Earl Grey tea, cut open
3­–4 tablespoons milk or Earl Grey Milk, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon lemon juice

In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, tea leafs, milk, vanilla, and lemon juice.  If the glaze seems a bit thick, simply add a bit more milk to thin it out.  If it is too thin, add some more icing sugar.

Matcha Cheesecake: A very Dr. Seuss-ian dessert

Matcha Cheesecake

Matcha Cheesecake

Green Eggs & Ham?

I mean, come on Sam-I-Am, why couldn’t you have offered something that sounded more appetizing? Say, a green tea cheesecake & raspberries?

I guess Dr. Seuss knew what he was doing because that would not make a very long book.

“Do you like green eggs and ham?”
”Of course I don’t, Sam.”
What about cheesecake??”
”… well duh”

Matcha Cheesecake

Makes one 9-inch cheesecake

2 cups gingersnap crumbs*
1/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups (3 packages) full-fat brick cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Matcha powder
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup heavy cream
Fresh raspberries, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350ºF and lightly grease the inside of a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Wrap the outside of the pan with a large piece of aluminum foil so that the bottom, seam, and sides of the pan are covered and place into a large roasting pan.

In a small bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, sugar, salt, and melted butter.  Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of your prepared springform pan and bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until set and just slightly darker.  Remove the pan from the oven and allow the crust to cool.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat one cup of the cream cheese, ½ cup of sugar, the cornstarch, and Matcha powder together on medium-low until creamy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the remaining cream cheese and sugar, mixing on medium-low and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and beat in the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla.  With the mixer running, add in the cream and beat just until completely blended.

Meanwhile, set the kettle to boil.

Gently pour the filling onto the cooled crust, place the cheesecake and roasting pan into the oven and carefully pour boiling water into the base of the roasting pan just so that it comes about 1-inch up the side of the springform pan. This allows the custardy filling of the cheesecake to bake gently and helps reduce the chance of cracks forming on top of your lovely cake.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 ¼ hours or until the edges of the cheesecake pull slightly away from the sides of the pan and the centre of the cake is just set. Cool the cake to room temperature then place it in the fridge to chill for at least 5 hours before serving.

When ready to serve, pop open the springform pan, garnish with fresh raspberries, and slice with a warm knife. 

*Graham cracker crumbs will also taste wonderful

Puppies and Kitties and Cupcakes! Oh my!

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

If you had of asked me a month ago if there was a way to make cupcakes even sweeter and more perfectly wonderful than they already are, I would have scoffed, shaken my head, and said attempted to utter the word “naaaahhh” through a giant mouthful of fluffy cake and rich, silky buttercream.

But boy, oh boy, was I ever wrong!  This year, I am so honoured to have been asked by the Ontario SPCA to be their champion for National Cupcake Day™!  Now in its sixth year, the nation-wide annual campaign runs throughout January and February, culminating on Monday, February 26 – the sweetest day of the year! 

In 2017, animal lovers across Canada raised over $600,000 in support of their local animal welfare societies and, this year, I’m hoping to help them surpass that number and add to the outstanding $2.45 million raised to date!

To get involved and “bake a difference,” visit www.nationalcupcakeday.ca to register to host a Cupcake Day Party on a date that’s convenient for you.  Plan your National Cupcake Day™ Party for home, work, school or anywhere you think people would enjoy eating cupcakes (so, literally anywhere!).

Invite your guests to donate through www.nationalcupcakeday.ca to help raise critically-needed funds for animals that are abused, abandoned, neglected or no longer wanted.  Proceeds from National Cupcake Day™ help the Ontario SPCA support our furry friends, big and small, who have been abused, abandoned, or are in need of help.

If you're in need of a little cupcake-y inspiration, give these little babies a try!  They are super chocolatey, rich, crazy simple, and oh-so perfect for any and all cupcake and kitty/puppy lovers!

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 24 large cupcakes (or 36 regular)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups good quality cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 350F and line two or three 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Give it a bit of a stir to combine and set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the sugar and oil together for 1 minute.  Add the eggs in one at time, beating well after each addition and continuing to beat for 2 minutes or until the mixture looks a little lighter in colour.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the vanilla extract and espresso powder.  Add that to the buttermilk and set aside.

When the oil and sugar mixture is nicely creamed, add approximately a third of the dry ingredients and beat together until almost combined.  Add in half of the buttermilk mixture and, again, beat just until almost combined.  Continue with this wet/dry method, ending with the last third of the dry ingredients.  Be careful not to over mix after the last addition!  Over mixing will lead to peaked and potentially cracked cupcakes!

Scoop about ¼ cup of batter into each little cupcake liner and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 20–25 minutes.  While cooling, whip up a batch of chocolate buttercream and get ready to decorate to your heart's content!


Chocolate Buttercream

1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup good quality cocoa powder
5 cups icing sugar
½–¾ cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon espresso powder
½­­–1 teaspoon kosher salt

Beat together the butter and cocoa powder and gradually add in the icing sugar.  The mixture will be a little crumbly but that’s where the whipping cream comes in!  With the mixer running, slowly stream in the whipping cream, starting with ½ cup then increasing to ¾ cup if necessary.

In a small bowl, combine the vanilla extract with the espresso powder and add it to the buttercream mixture.  Beat in the salt and use immediately.

Elvis approved: Fool's Gold Cupcakes

Fool's Gold Cupcakes

Fool's Gold Cupcakes

There are some things in life that just shouldn’t go together.  Shellfish and chocolate cake.  Balloons and porcupines.  Perfect hair and a windy day.  Brussels sprouts and ice cream.  Cell phones and swimming pools.    

I have a friend who insists that a gin martini she once had while in Rome which combined musty vanilla bean with the briny funkiness of an anchovy is the best drink she’s ever had.  I’m not convinced but I’m definitely curious and slightly intrigued by this strange elixir…

And isn’t that the case for so many amazing things?!  Sometimes, in those very rare and strange instances, things that seem oh-so-wrong can be just about the best thing you never imagined.

It’s a classic trope in so many things from film to food and, for me, it just never seems to get old.  So, when I was contacted by the lovely people over at Reel Canada to develop a recipe for National Canadian Film Day this year, I knew I needed to somehow make my favourite Canadian romcom, The F Word, fit into this amazing “food in film” initiative!

The F Word tells the tale of Wallace (played by Daniel Radcliffe… and if you know anything about me at all, you’ll know I’m obsessed with all things Harry Potter), a lovelorn and burnt out 20-something who becomes fast friends with a girl named Chantry pretty much over a discussion of Elvis’ favourite sandwich.

My future may not lie in writing movie synopses but it is in this sandwich, also known as Fool’s Gold, that I found inspiration for my recipe.

Without further ado, here she is: Fool’s Gold Cupcakes.  If the shouldn’t-go-together part of your brain cannot be pushed aside, I’d suggest leaving out the grape jelly or the bacon.  But, believe me, it somehow works!  My hubs can’t get enough of the salty sweetness of these strange little guys.

You can find more recipes inspired by great Canadian films by clicking here!

Fool’s Gold Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 ½ cups All-Purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
2 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup creamy peanut butter*
½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp – ¼ cup whipping cream

¾ cup prepared grape jelly
6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and finely chopped

For the cupcakes, preheat your oven to 350F and line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine.  This is the dry mixture for your cupcakes.

In a glass measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk and stir in the vanilla.

Add approximately a third of the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture and beat together with the hand mixer until almost combined.  Blend in half of the buttermilk mixture, followed by another third of the dry, the buttermilk, then the rest of the dry, mixing after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling each cup about 2/3rds full, and bake for 17-20 minutes or until golden and set.

Set the cupcakes aside to cool and prepare the frosting.

For the frosting, beat the butter, peanut butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together in a large bowl with a hand mixer.  Slowly add the icing sugar and salt, being careful not to mix too fast or else you’ll have quite a mess on your hands.

Finally, beat between 2 tablespoons and ¼ cup of cream into the frosting to make it light and fluffy.

To decorate, use a teaspoon to scoop a little well out of the centre of each cupcake.  Fill that with about 1 ½ teaspoons of grape jelly and cover the top of each cupcake with a good helping of the peanut butter frosting.  To finish the cupcakes, sprinkle the chopped bacon over the top and dig in to probably one of the most weirdly delicious desserts you’ve ever had!


Note: Be sure to use traditional peanut butter as the all-natural variety will make for a thin frosting.