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.

The Sauce Fiend Chronicles: Spaghetti al Limone

Spaghetti al Limone

Spaghetti al Limone

The first time I made Spaghetti al Limone was during my undergrad.  I was living with four other girls and, being me, went into cooking and cleaning fits whenever the stresses of academia were mounting. 

I like to think of it as productive procrastination…

My roommates, each of whom were much more involved in sports and such than I have ever been, would often come home to three dozen cookies, a cake or two, litres of tomato sauce cooling on the counter, and a chicken roasting away in the oven.  Their first instinct was always glee at not having to slog through the kitchen after a big practice whipping up their own meal.  Their second was to make sure I was ok…  I mean, not everyone deals with seemingly insurmountable deadlines by doing chores…

During one such time, I was going through a bit of a lemon phase.  The dreary long nights at the end of the Fall semester had me craving sunshine so lemons were everywhere.  Seriously.  I put those bad boys in chicken, tall pitchers of lemonade, squeezed and zested into teatime treats, and literally anything else I could think of that needed a little kick of summer.

That is what led me to discover the wonder that is Spaghetti al Limone. 

It’s so easy and delicious and, in my mind, you can never make it lemony enough!  Now, upon taste testing my first go at this classic Italian dish, one of my roommates did scrunch up her face and promptly put her fork down.

“It tastes like Skittles…”

Well, you can’t win them all.  And yes, I might have added a *tinge* too much lemon for some palates but, come on!  Lemon!  It’s the best!

Since then, I’ve toned down the lemony kick and balanced it with the perfect amount of smoky extra virgin olive oil, nutty Parmesan cheese, fresh leafy parsley, and salty little capers.  It has become a staple in my “oh-man-we-have-nothing-to-eat-what-should-I-make-for-dinner” repertoire and I hope it will become that for you too!

Spaghetti al Limone

Serves 2 (with some leftovers, if you’re not too hungry at dinner)

250g dry spaghetti
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 2 lemons
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon dry chilli flakes
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until al dente.

Meanwhile, whip up the sauce by combining the lemon zest, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, chilli flakes, capers, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper in a small bowl.

When the spaghetti is cooked to al dente, scoop out and reserve about a half-cup of the cooking liquid and drain well.  Pour the pasta back into the pot and stir the sauce through, making sure that each noodle is well coated.  If needed, add a splash or two of the reserved cooking liquid to loosen the sauce up a bit.

Now, crown with a sprinkling of some fresh pepper and freshly grated Parmesan and dig into summer!