Cup of Tea Cake
This cup of tea cake, adapted from my grandmother, is a deliciously light, crumby cake. Flavored with brewed tea, dried fruit, and baking spices. Best served at tea time!
Remember my trip to Scotland and England this past fall? It seems like years ago. While visiting my parents in Glasgow, I also got the chance to head down to Cornwall, England to visit my grandmother in the tiny fishing village of St. Mawes. During my time there, I took the opportunity to raid her cookbooks and stockpile of personal recipes, many of which came from her days of running a successful bed and breakfast.
Tea time at my grandmother’s is not just about the tea. It is always accompanied with a ton of goodies, whether in the form of simple layer cakes, scones, jam & clotted cream, cookies, or traditional saffron cake. Regardless of whether or not my family and I are even hungry, she somehow always convinces us to grab some of everything…
While I was there, I took the time to copy down many of my grandmother’s recipes with the hope of trying several of them out at home and sharing them with you all. Apparently, I completely forgot about this plan and now, nearly 8 months later, I am just getting to it.
Unfortunately, this recipe of hers, aptly named, Cup of Tea Cake, was accompanied with very vague, if not, non-existent instructions, but with a little bit of common sense and experimentation, it came out exactly how I remember it. As is the case with many of my grandmother’s dishes, this cake involves quite a bit of butter.
My grandmother justifies her butter consumption by saying that it provides her with her daily calcium requirement. I’m not so sure about this logic—but in this case, I’ll turn a blind eye and go with it. You should too!
Though I used a combination of raisins (both golden & regular), dried apricots, and prunes, feel free to substitute these with your favorite dried fruit!
One of my favorite things to bake are quick breads. They are easy to put together, generally require few hard-to-find ingredients, and don’t require a lot of fuss. This tea cake represents just that, but yields a deliciously light, crumby cake. It has just the right amount of sweetness from the dried fruit and goes perfectly with a cup of tea!
Cup of Tea Cake
- 1 cup of brewed strong, black tea
- 1 cup (8 ounces) dried fruit mixture –apricots, raisins, & prunes
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon mixed baking spice (cinnamon, allspice, cloves)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (dissolved in 1 teaspoon of milk)
- Brew one cup of black tea and pour into a small saucepan. Cut dried fruit into small pieces (if necessary) and add to tea. Bring to low simmer and turn off heat. Allow to cool to room temperature (place in fridge to quicken process).
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease loaf pan with butter and lightly coat with flour. Set aside.
- In separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy using hand-held or stand mixer. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly.
- Add egg and mix until distributed evenly. Add room temperature fruit/tea mixture and mix until incorporated.
- In separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and spices. Slowly add to wet ingredients until just combined.
- In small bowl, dissolve baking soda with one teaspoon of milk. Add to batter and mix thoroughly. Pour batter into loaf pan and place on baking sheet.
- Bake for about 1 hour – 1 hour + 15 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in loaf pan, before turning out.
- Serve room temperature or slightly warm. Don’t forget a mug of hot cup of tea!
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