Never have I baked a cake that is more perfect for tea-time! As its name suggests, this Earl Grey tea and lemon cake is infused with oil of bergamot and drizzled with a lemon icing.
You begin by steeping Earl Grey tea in hot milk. We used a lovely loose leaf tea from Fortnum & Mason however Earl Grey teabags will suffice.
The recipe I used was by ex-Bake Off contestant, Urvashi Roe and it was originally for mini loaf cakes. I don’t have any mini loaf tins (yet!), so I used a single 500g/1lb loaf tin and upped the cook time to an hour.
I know that ‘lemony’ cakes often top the charts when it comes to people’s favourites (Justin included), but personally I’m not the biggest fan of lemon flavour – however, a little drizzle of the icing I could handle! I suppose I could supplement the lemon juice and zest with a little of my home-made elderflower cordial.
Teaming this cake with a cup of Earl Grey or full-bodied Darjeeling or Assam is tea-time heaven!
- 125ml/4½fl oz milk
- 4 tsp loose Earl Grey tea (or 4 tea bags)
- 115g/4oz butter, softened
- 225g/8oz caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125g/4½oz self-raising flour
- 125g/4½oz plain flour
- ½ lemon, juice & zest
- 200g/7oz icing sugar
- Place the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and immerse the Earl Grey tea in the hot milk. Cover the pan and set aside for 40 minutes to allow the tea to steep
- Strain the liquid from the leaves (or squeeze the liquid out of the teabags) and set the liquid aside to cool some more
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/355ºF/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
- Cream together the butter and sugar using an electric whisk or free standing mixer with a paddle attachment. It takes a while - about 10 minutes and you'll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time
- Once the mixture is light & fluffy, add the eggs one by one and mix well. Add half the flour and half of the tea-infused milk and mix until combined. Add the rest of the flour and milk and mix until there are no traces of flour in the bowl
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin
- Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
- Allow to cool in its tin on a wire rack
- Mix the lemon juice, zest and icing sugar together into a smooth paste. It should be quite gloopy so it doesn't dribble too much down the sides (though a little dribble is okay)
- Pour over the loaf and leave the icing to set for about 30 minutes
Whenever I ask Justin what kind of cake he fancies, his reply always starts with the word ‘lemon’.
Lemon isn’t my own personal favourite, but I decided to grant his wish today.
I’ve made him lemon drizzle cake, lemon curd tarts, lemon marmalade bars, lemon & polenta berry squares, lemon refrigerator cookies…
So something new – lemon & poppy seed loaf.
It has the sharpness of citrus combined with a slightly earthy tone provided by the poppy seeds.
The cake batter is quick and easy to make.
I folded whisked egg whites into the batter so the texture wasn’t too dense and heavy.
The resulting loaf is substantial, but also light and open textured.
It’s topped with a lemon glaze and a zingy, crunchy sugar topping…
…another request from the lemon-meister!
It’s one of those perfect afternoon cakes to complement a nice cuppa… and his Lordship is very happy!
- 115g/4oz butter, softened
- 225g/8oz caster sugar
- 3 eggs, separated
- 185g/6⅔oz plain flour
- ½tsp baking powder
- ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch salt
- 1tbs poppy seeds
- 85g/3fl oz buttermilk
- juice of 1 lemon
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1½tbs icing sugar
- juice of half a lemon
- ½tbs granulated sugar
- pinch of lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
- Grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter & caster sugar until light & fluffy
- Mix in the egg yolks
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt
- Mix in the poppy seeds
- In a measuring jug, add the buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest (reserve a pinch of the zest for the glaze)
- Add the dry, flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture in two batches; interspersing it with adding the buttermilk & lemon mixture
- Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks before folding into the mixture
- Spoon the mixture into the greased loaf tin and bake on the lowest shelf for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean.. If the top of the loaf begins to get too brown, cover with tin foil
- Whilst the cake is cooking, make the glaze.
- Add the lemon juice & icing sugar to a small measuring jug and stir until any lumps have been removed. Set aside
- In a small bowl, add the granulated sugar & lemon zest and with your fingers using a crumbing motion. Set aside
- Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin
- Whilst still warm and using a pastry brush, spread the lemon juice & icing sugar glaze uniformly over the top
- Once completely cool, remove the cake from the tin a place on a cake plate
- Sprinkle the granulated sugar & lemon zest mixture over the top of the glazed cake
- It's now ready to serve!
It was Justin’s birthday last week and each year I take a birthday cake request from him. It’s usually something I don’t make often, if ever, because it’s something I don’t much like myself. There aren’t that many sweet things that I don’t like. But most things containing lemon or orange make it onto that list. Funnily enough, I don’t mind food with lime or grapefruit!
Last year, I pulled out & kept a page from a Stella Magazine containing a recipe I knew he’d like. It was for lemon marmalade bars by Sarah Leahey Benjamin. I promptly filed it away and forgot about it. On his birthday I asked, “So what cake do you want for your birthday?” He replied, “Lemon drizzle cake.” I think I made that last year (and more than likely the previous year too!), but it was his birthday, so who was I to say no? I flipped through my recipe folder and my eyes fell upon the pretty picture of the lemon marmalade bars. “What about these?”, I asked. “Yeah, OK.” he replied, a little indifferently.
It was delicious – even I had a piece or two. We took some with us for Granny Glittens to try when we went for a visit and she enjoyed it too. Success!