In every country, when you visit someone’s house you will likely be treated to some forms of refreshment. Whether tea, coffee or water; to paraphrase Sheldon Cooper ‘The social protocol dictates that when you have visitors you must offer them a hot beverage.’ Crazy he may be, but he’s dead on – you’ve got to do it!
If you visit someone in Azerbaijan, and they follow this protocol, you would most likely be offered black tea (the national drink)often with fruit preserves. I really wanted to try to utilise the flavour of tea in the cake, and decided to try and infuse a simple sponge recipe with tea. I then topped this with a tea infused buttercream and decorated it with sugar flowers.
Black Tea Cake
- 3 black tea bags (I used Earl Grey)
- 2 tbsp freshly boiled water
- 8oz butter
- 8oz caster sugar
- 8oz plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs
Buttercream (recipe taken from the trusted Hunningbird Bakery):
- 250g icing sugar
- 80g unsalted butter
- 25ml whole milk
- The three tea bags (used earlier in the recipe)
- Royal icing
- Icing sugar (used for dusting)
- A few drops of yellow food colouring
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 5, and grease and line an 8in springform tin.
Steep the teabags in the boiled water and leave for 30 minutes, in order to extract as much flavour as possible. Make a standard sponge mixture by creaming together the butter and sugar, before adding the eggs in one by one. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix to a smooth consistency. Remove the tea bags from the tea and set aside – you will be using them again later. Add the tea to the cake mix and fold in until completely combined. Pour the mixture into the pre-prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove and allow to cool.
To make the frosting, place the tea bags into the milk, and allow to steep for about 10 minutes. Cream together the icing sugar and butter until light and fluffy – this will take about 5 minutes so make your life a bit easier by using an electric whisk! Remove the tea bags, squeezing to release as much of the remaining flavour as you can, and mix the milk into the frosting, beating for another 2-3 minutes to ensure a really light fluffy frosting.
To construct the cake use a long serrated knife to cut the cake into two layers, and to ensure that the cakes are completely flat – this will make filling and decorating much easier! Place the bottom layer on a plate and spread with a layer of the buttercream. Place the second cake on the top, and cover the cake with the remainder of the buttercream, using a palate knife to ensure a smooth finish. Use the edge of the palate knife to give a decorative layered look to your cake if you wish, or just leave it as a smooth finish. Decorate with sugar flowers of your choice – I have used simple blossom flowers, but you can be as creative as you wish!
Serve with a refreshing beverage of your choice.