A light soft crumb where the flavours of tangy citrus and tart cranberries balance out the sweetness of the bake. These top tea cakes with fresh cranberries are pure comfort food, especially when slathered with butter.
Sweet pastries and breads is the challenge for Teatime Treats which is set by Karen of Lavender and Lovage this month. I thought I had a sweet tooth, but you should see what Karen gets for tea.
I was going to enter these cinnamon and chocolate buns which I made for an al fresco tea party back in the summer. But then I picked up my copy of Short & Sweet and there was no looking back. Dan’s top tea cakes were just crying to be made. Why? Well not only did they use loads of peel (and I had quite a lot of my candied lemon and orange peel to use up), but they also had chocolate in them. Chocolate? Really?
Top Tea Cakes with Fresh Cranberries
Well, you could of course use beef dripping, but if you’re a vegetarian like me, you can, according to Dan, substitute this with a good quality white chocolate as the cocoa butter gives a softer consistency to the crumb than would butter. It all sounded rather intriguing and I was keen to try it out.
I sort of followed Dan’s recipe, which you can see here. But as regular readers know, I tend to go my own way. So I used half plain bread flour and half wholemeal. I also only used 50g currants and I added 150g fresh cranberries cut in half. Strange as it may seem, I didn’t use lard. Instead, I went with white chocolate and my own mixed peel, which I cut into pieces with a pair of scissors.
I found this rather a lengthy and faffy process and I wasn’t at all enthused by the stickiness of the dough which I found quite hard to work with. And I was also rather upset that my teacake tops got burnt. I’ve lowered the temperature a little in the recipe so that the same thing doesn’t happen to you.
But despite the mishaps, I have to say these were the BEST tea cakes I’ve ever eaten. They were also huge. I divided the dough into ten pieces rather than the nine that Dan had stated and they were still massive. This of course was by no means a bad thing, but twelve or a baker’s dozen would produce a more reasonable size.
So what made them so good? The combination of tangy citrus peel and the tartness of cranberries balances the sweetness of the teacake itself. The crumb is deliciously soft, just as Dan had promised. CT hates mixed peel, but he loved these tea cakes slathered in butter. He reckoned they were possibly the ultimate comfort food.
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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you try this recipe for tea cakes, with or without the fresh cranberries, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
Fresh Cranberry Tea Cakes. PIN IT.
Tea Cakes with Fresh Cranberries – The Recipe
Tea Cakes with Fresh Cranberries
- 3 tsp dried yeast
- 125 ml warm water
- 300 g wholemeal flour
- 300 g strong white flour
- 150 ml milk
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 25 g caster sugar
- 50 g white chocolate - roughly chopped
- 150 g fresh cranberries - halved (or substitute for 100g dried)
- 50 g currants
- 100 g chopped mixed peel (I used homemade peel)
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp level tsp sea salt
- 3 medium eggs
- milk for glazing
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with 3 tbsp of the wholemeal flour. Stir well, then leave for 15 minutes to ferment. Meanwhile, heat the milk until near boiling. Add the golden syrup, caster sugar, white chocolate, currants, peel, spices and salt. Give it a good stir, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Break the the eggs into the milk and beat to combine. Place the flour into a large bowl. Add the yeast and milk mixtures along with the cranberries and stir well until everything is combined. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel or plastic bag and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- Oil your hands and knead the dough lightly on an oiled surface. Leave for a few minutes then knead again. Repeat once more so that the dough has had three light kneads over 30 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for a further 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into twelve equal portions and shape into balls. Roll or pat the balls out to form rounds of about 2 cm high. Place them on two greased baking trays about 3-4 cm apart. Cover with a clean tea towel or place inside plastic bags and leave in a warm place for 1½ hours or until doubled in height.
- Set the oven to 200℃ (400℉, Gas 6). Brush the tops with milk and bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Be careful not to over bake as the tea cakes should be soft inside.
- Eat with butter whilst still warm or allow to cool on a wire rack. Best eaten on the day of baking or freeze.
This was one of the first #shortandtweet challenges, which I now wish I’d done along with everyone else. I shamelessly called for help when I was having problems folding the very sticky dough.
I’m also entering this into Ren’s commendable Simple and in Season blog event, which is something I thoroughly approve of.