I’ve had my eye on this tea bread ever since I bought Paul A Young’s book Adventures with Chocolate last year. I’m not quite sure why it’s taken me so long to actually make it, but with tea being this month’s special ingredient for We Should Cocoa, I was spurred into action. Assam tea was Paul’s tea of choice, but as I didn’t have any of that I used Earl Grey instead. Earl Grey is a black tea but has the addition of Bergamot which gives it a lovely scent and flavour. Bergamot is also meant to be uplifting and helps relieve anxiety, so combined with the antioxidants in the tea and chocolate as well as the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger and detoxifying cardamom, this loaf is positively loaded with health giving goodies.
This is what I did:
- Made 200ml of very strong Earl Grey tea using 4 tsp of leaves.
- Poured this over 100g raisins and 250g crystallised ginger.
- Ground the seeds from 20 cardamom pods and added this to the tea together with 2 heaped tsp powdered orange zest.
- Stirred in 1 large duck egg.
- Sifted in 200g flour (100g wholemeal spelt, 80g white, 20g quinoa) and 2 level tsp baking powder.
- Finally stirred in 100g chopped 70% dark chocolate.
- Spooned mixture into a lined 2lb (1kg) loaf tin and baked at 160C for 1 hr and 20 mins, reducing the temperature to 150C after first 45 mins.
- Cooled in tin for 30 mins then turned onto a rack to cool completely.
The house smelt absolutely wonderful throughout the process of making this cake. First a wonderful scent arose from grinding the cardamom seeds, then soaking the fruit in tea and orange was highly fragrant and finally the long baking released a heady mix of all of the above with the addition of ginger.
CityHippyFarmGirl reported that she was disappointed with this when she made it last year, but I was really pleased with it. True, this is not for the faint hearted: it has strong robust flavours and tasted quite strongly of tea; in my youth, I would not have liked this loaf. The smell and taste were quite similar to chai and the butter smothered on top helped to reinforce that impression. The loaf was moist, not too sweet and cut really well. It also lasted well over a week (only because we were away for a few days). CT thought it was good restorative provender following a few hours slogging away outdoors; he pronounced that a little went a long way and one slice was enough. I can, however, vouch for the fact that he did actually enjoy it and managed to have one slice on quite a few occasions.
Summer finally arrived a couple of weeks ago and cooking, especially cakes, suddenly didn’t seem quite so appealing. I had, however, a Transition meeting to attend that Monday evening where we were all meant to bring along some food to share. So despite the heat on Sunday, I made a cake – a prune cake from Unwrapped – it sounded rather yummy and smelled wonderful.
- Melted 125g unsalted butter together with, 100g Maya Gold, 2 tbsp treacle and 3oz muscovado sugar in a pan.
- Sifted 175g flour (half wholemeal, half white), 1 tsp bicarb of soda, 2 tsp ground ginger & 1 tsp cinnamon into a bowl.
- Snipped 125g pitted prunes into pieces and tossed in flour.
- Made a well in the centre, poured in chocolate mixture and stirred.
- Beat in 1 duck egg.
- Stirred in 100g Greek yogurt and 50g water (recipe stated 150g buttermilk).
- Poured into a 2lb loaf thingie and baked at 160C for 50 mins.
A celebratory cake was needed for the 1st anniversary of CT’s blog Radix. So, it’s chocolate and chestnuts again! This time with the added bonus of chilli – our own dried and crushed “fatalli”, a particularly vicious yellow variety. I used the already tried and tested Nigella recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess. As I had half a tin of chestnut puree left over from the biscuits, I made only half the quantity, which made quite a nice sized cake for two.
- Melted 100g 85% dark chocolate and left to cool slightly.
- Creamed 75g unsalted butter with 25g dark brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Mixed in 200g (or thereabouts) of sweetened chestnut puree.
- Added 3 egg yolks, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp brandy and the chocolate and stirred until combined.
- Whisked 3 eggs whites until stiff, then added 25g caster sugar and whisked again.
- Folded egg whites into the cake mix 1/3 at a time.
- Poured into a 2lb silicone loaf thingy and baked at 180C for 30 mins.
- Left to cool for 20 mins, then turned out and dusted with cocoa powder.
Friends for tea and a pile of bananas that needed using up, so time to try this one from Green & Black’s.
- Melted 4oz unsalted butter with 100g bar white chocolate.
- Mashed up 3 medium bananas with 5oz unrefined granulated sugar.
- Sieved 6oz wholemeal spelt, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt into a bowl and made a well in the middle.
- Poured in chocolate mixture and stirred in, followed by 2 duck eggs.
- Mixed in 2oz roughly chopped walnuts, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp grated orange rind.
- Spooned this into a 2lb loaf tin and baked at 180°C (gas 4) for 50 mins.
- Left in tin to cool before turning out onto a serving plate.
Having said I’m not a great fan of chocolate chip cakes, I’ve just gone and made another one! The sun has been shining today and given that we haven’t had much in the way of blue skies recently, I didn’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen. Humm – what to make where speed is of the essence? I very quickly decided to have a go at the Stem Ginger and Chocolate Chunk Cake recipe from Linda Collister’s Divine. Being a big fan of ginger, it was this ingredient that sold it to me. Of course I didn’t have any stem ginger, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.