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

Cranberry Almond Biscotti: A cookie so nice, they baked it twice

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

When I was about 14 years old, I went through a serious biscotti craze.  While other girls my age were starting to get into normal early-teen things like makeup, hair straighteners, and school dances, I was elbow deep in biscotti dough, forming little loafs, baking, slicing, and baking again.  Biscotti are just a little bit more involved than a traditional drop cookie like chocolate chip or oatmeal but they are oh-so totally worth it.  

By twice-baking these delectable little Italian cookies, they become a little crunchy and crumbly making them perfect for dunking into a cup of coffee or tea.  Another bonus?  The double bake allows them to stay fresh in your cupboard for up to a month though I’ve never had a batch last that long!

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

Makes around 30 biscotti

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 ¼ cup All Purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup whole almonds, unsalted
1 cup white chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition followed by the vanilla and almond extracts. 

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt then fold in the dried cranberries and almonds.  Don’t worry about sifting your dry ingredients – these lovely little cookies have a great bite to them and are much more hearty than sifted things like cake.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just until combined.  Set the bowl in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350F and line one large or two small cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Once the dough has chilled, divide it in half and form each into approximately a 3x8” rectangle on your parchment lined sheet.  Be sure to leave at least 5 inches of space between your two biscotti loaves as they will rise and spread in the oven.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown and slightly set.

Remove your biscotti from the oven and allow it to cool slightly on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes.  Lower your oven to 325F and slice each biscotti loaf into around 15 cookies.  I like to do mine on a bit of an angle – it gives you longer biscotti and a nicer looking cookie.  Place the biscotti cut side down back onto your baking sheet and back for 15 minutes.  Flip the cookies over and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  This flip is not totally necessary but it does give your biscotti a more even colour and texture.

Remove your biscotti from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack while you melt your white chocolate in the microwave.  Once the biscotti are cool, dunk or drizzle each cookie with the white chocolate and allow it to set up on a piece of parchment before digging in!