Earl Grey Cake

Earl Grey Cake with Orange

This Earl Grey Cake with Orange is easy to make and combines the citrus notes of Earl Grey tea with zesty orange. The tea adds a subtle fragrance to what would otherwise be a basic orange loaf cake. I have added an orange drizzle, using orange juice and icing sugar, to make the cake extra moist and flavoursome. It is topped with a tangy orange-flavoured cream cheese icing which has a mouth-filling richness to complement the fresh tasting cake.

Earl Grey tea is flavoured with the oil of bergamot, a citrus fruit which is thought to be a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. It is likely that the Earl Grey blend is named after the 2nd Lord Grey who was British Prime Minister in the 1830s and who reputedly received a gift of tea flavoured with bergamot oil.

Last year, we went on a family holiday to Northumberland and visited the Grey family’s beautiful ancestral home, Howick Hall. The Grey family’s story is that Earl Grey tea was specially blended to suit the water at Howick Hall as the use of bergamot offset the taste of the local water which is very alkaline. If you visit the Howick Hall gardens, you can have a cup of Earl Grey tea in the lovely Earl Grey teahouse!

I sometimes make this cake using the less well-known Lady Grey tea, rather than Early Grey tea. Lady Grey tea is a modern invention, created by Twinings in the early 1990s to appeal to those who found Earl Grey tea too strong in flavour. Lady Grey differs from Earl Grey in that it has a stronger citrus taste as it contains additional lemon and orange peel as well as bergamot oil.

This Earl Grey Cake is one of many loaf cake recipes that I cook regularly. They are so quick and easy to make and you can get really creative with the flavours! On other pages of this blog you can find recipes for
Salted Caramel Latte Cake, Lemon Drizzle, Blood Orange, Lime and Coconut, Rum and Banana and Ginger and Pear.

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Earl Grey Cake with Orange

Earl Grey Cake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 loaf cake 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This easy loaf cake combines the citrus notes of Earl Grey or Lady Grey tea with orange.


Scale

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 50 ml boiling water
  • 1 Earl Grey or Lady Grey teabag
  • 125 g butter
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • Juice of 1 orange

For the icing:

 

  • 150 g butter
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 200 g cream cheese
  • Zest of half an orange

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Put the boiling water into a small jug or cup and add the Earl Grey or Lady Grey teabag.  Allow the teabag to steep in the water for 5 minutes and then remove it.  The tea will be stronger than you would like to drink!
  3. Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  4. Cream the butter with the sugar.  (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
  5. Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture.  If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
  6. Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
  7. Add the Earl Grey or Lady tea and half the grated zest of your orange.
  8. Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
  9. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  10. While the cake is baking, combine the juice from your orange with 100 g of icing sugar to form a thick syrup.
  11. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the top.
  12. Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely before removing.   If you try and take it out while it is still warm it may fall apart as it will be very moist due to the syrup.
  13. Make the icing by creaming together the butter and icing sugar.  Then mix in the cream cheese and the other half of your orange zest and stir until smooth and combined.    You can keep a little of the orange zest back to decorate the cake.
  14. When the cake is completely cool, spread the icing on top of it and, if you wish, decorate it with the retained grated orange zest.

Keywords: cake, loaf cake, Earl Grey, Lady Grey, orange, cream cheese icing

This recipe is linked to Cook Blog Share hosted by Everyday Healthy Recipes.

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Spinach Tart

Spinach Tart with Peas, Feta and Pine Nuts

This Spinach Tart is an easy, vegetarian lunch or supper dish. The filling consists of fresh spinach combined with peas which add a note of sweetness plus nuggets of salty feta cheese. The tart is topped with toasted pine nuts which add a crunchy texture as well as their delicious, nutty flavour.

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Nutmeg

Pretty much all of my recipes use some kind of herb or spice. I love the way that they transform simple ingredients. If you choose flavourings that really work with your ingredients, adding herbs and spices is a way to make your recipes extra-special with very little additional effort.

In this Spinach Tart recipe, I have used nutmeg as the main flavouring as I think it goes particularly well with spinach. If you have only used ready-powdered nutmeg, I really recommend that you buy a jar of whole nutmegs, which can be found in every supermarket. When you have done this, use an ordinary kitchen grater to grate a little piece off one of the nutmegs. Hold the shavings in your hand and inhale. That is the real scent of nutmeg! You can shave a little nutmeg into your dishes whenever you need it and it will have that wonderful, spicy aroma and taste.

Although nutmeg is often associated with sweet dishes and desserts, such as Bread and Butter Pudding or Baked Custard, I think it works very well in savoury dishes. I think it is particularly good in savoury dishes with a hint of sweetness such as Caramelised Onion Tart which uses slow-cooked onions.

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Other savoury tarts and quiches

Savoury tarts and quiches are a fantastic, cook-ahead simple supper or lunch. They are easy to make and are great either hot or at room temperature. They can also be easily divided into portions if you are feeding a large number of people. Easily transportable, they also make a good addition to lunch-boxes or basis for a picnic. Some of my favourites are listed below.

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Recipe for Spinach Tart with Peas, Feta and Pinenuts

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Spinach Tart with Nutmeg

Spinach Tart

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 1 tart 1x
  • Category: Savoury tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Spinach Tart combines fresh, green spinach with the sweetness of peas, salty feta and crunchy pine nuts.  It is perfect for a vegetarian light lunch or supper.


Scale

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 275 g plain flour
  • 125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
  • Salt
  • A little water

For the filling:

  • 1 onion
  • 300 g fresh spinach
  • 100 g frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 125 g ricotta
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • Grated nutmeg to taste
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 50 g feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl.  Add the fat and combine –  either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough. 
  3. Roll out your pastry and use it to line your quiche or flan dish.   Bake for 10  minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”.  This will stop the filling making it soggy.  
  4. Peel and chop the onion.  Heat the butter and oil in your frying pan.   It helps if the pan is good quality with a thick bottom as this will disseminate the heat evenly and prevent burning.  Add the onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper,  and cook at a very low heat for about 10 minutes until soft.
  5. Place the spinach in a saucepan with a little water and cook gently, with the lid on, for about 5 minutes until the leaves are wilted.  Remove the spinach leaves from the pan and, as soon as they are cool enough, squeeze to remove excess moisture and then roughly chop them.
  6. Put the softened onion, chopped spinach and defrosted peas into a large mixing bowl.  Mix in the ricotta, cream and eggs.   Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.   
  7. Spread the mixture in the pastry case.   
  8. Crumble the feta cheese and sprinkle on top of the mixture.
  9. Place your quiche or flan dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.  After it has been cooking for 15 minutes, sprinkle the pine nuts on top and return it to the oven.

Keywords: spinach, tart, quiche, feta, pine nuts, peas, vegetarian

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Ginger and Pear Cake

Sticky Ginger and Pear Cake

This Ginger and Pear Cake brings together two flavours that are the best of friends. The spicy heat of ginger is the perfect counterpoint to the luscious sweetness of the pear. The syrup from the jar of stem ginger adds an additional hit of sugar which brings the flavours together and ensures that the cake is moist.

Another aspect of this cake which I really like is that it includes a secret pear! A whole fresh pear is added to the cake mix just before baking and ends up embedded in the cake. You don’t know about it until you cut into the cake. There is something really appealing to me, both in terms of flavour and texture, and also as it is a nice surprise, in including the pear in this way.

I was won over to stem ginger relatively recently. I have childhood memories of my parents being given jars of it at Christmas which sat in the cupboard until well past their use by date as no one really knew what to do with it! Years later, I saw a jar in the supermarket and made an impulse buy and decided to try and use it in a cake. The result was fantastic, with the stem ginger giving a complex gingery flavour unlike that provided by ground ginger. A few bakes later, I decided to add pear into the mix and this recipe is the result.

For me, one of the best aspects of baking is experimenting with different flavour combinations. If you like this Ginger and Pear Cake, you might also like Rum and Banana Bread and Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut.

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Ginger and Pear Cake

Ginger and Pear Cake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 loaf cake 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: British

Description

This sticky Ginger and Pear Cake brings together two flavours that are best friends!  Using stem ginger brings a complexity of flavour and luscious moistness to this easy cake recipe.


Scale

Ingredients

For cake:  

  • 125 g butter
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 3 pieces of stem ginger
  • 4 tablespoons syrup from a jar of stem ginger
  • 1 large, ripe pear

For topping:

  • 1 piece of stem ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of syrup from a jar of stem ginger


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  3. Cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl.  (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
  4. Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture.  If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
  5. Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
  6. Finely chop your pieces of stem ginger and add them to the cake mixture along with the syrup from the jar of stem ginger.
  7. Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
  8. Take the skin off your pear.  I find the easiest way to do this is with a vegetable peeler.   Cut the pear in half lengthwise and, using a small knife, remove the core and any pips.   Place the two halves of the pear on top of the cake mixture.
  9. Put the tin in the oven and bake the cake for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. 
  11. When the cake is cool, remove it from the tin.   
  12. To decorate the cake, using a pastry brush, paint the top  with the ginger syrup.  Cut up the piece of stem ginger and scatter the pieces over the top of the cake.

Ginger and Pear Cake


Keywords: cake, ginger, pear

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Carrot Tart

Carrots, Orange and Ricotta

I came up with the idea for this Carrot Tart with Orange and Ricotta on a particularly grey and rainy February day. I felt that I needed to make something that would bring a burst of colour and flavour into my life – and that is exactly what this Tart does. It uses ingredients found in the winter – carrots, orange, coriander – to liven up both your taste-buds and your table!

I love the natural sweetness of carrots, which is enhanced by sharp, citrus flavours. In this recipe I use the zest and juice of orange to bring out the sweet, earthy flavour of the carrots. The carrots are set on a pillow of creamy ricotta, flavoured with orange zest and coriander which adds a mouth-filling creaminess as a counterpoint to the sweet and sharp topping. Lemon is also a great flavour-enhancer for carrots as in Spiced Carrots with Honey and Lemon. If you like the flavour combinations in this Carrot Tart, I strongly recommend it.

As I felt a need to banish the greyness of February when I was making this recipe, I chose “heritage carrots” from my local greengrocer. You can make this Carrot Tart with any type of carrots. However, I would recommend buying the ones with the green fronds still attached as you know they are fresh and they generally have a lot more flavour. Carrots in a range of colours are now quite widely available and combining red, yellow and purple with orange will make your tart look particularly beautiful.

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Carrot Tart with Orange

Carrot Tart

  • Author: Tastebotanical

Description

This Carrot Tart will bring zest to your taste-buds and your table.  Beautiful, sweet, earthy carrots, flavoured with orange and coriander, set in creamy ricotta on a crisp pastry base will brighten up those grey winter days!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 320 g frozen puff pastry
  • 1 egg
  • 150 g carrots
  • Salt and pepper
  • 125 g ricotta
  • 50 g feta cheese
  • 1 orange
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6.
  2. Roll the frozen pasty into square or rectangle.  Using a sharp knife, cut it into four evenly sized squares or rectangles.    Cut a 1 cm strip of pastry around the edge of each of the squares or rectangles.  
  3. Break and whisk the egg.  Using a pastry brush, paint the beaten egg around the edge of each square or rectangle.   Place the strips of pastry around the edge of each square or rectangle.  These will form the “walls” around each of your tarts.
  4. Put the pastry squares or rectangles onto a baking sheet.
  5. Prepare the carrots either by peeling them or scrubbing them to remove any dirt.  If they are large, cut each one in half lengthwise.   Place the prepared carrots in a saucepan of boiling salted water and simmer for around 10 minutes.  You want them to be slightly softened but not fully cooked.  Remove the carrots from the saucepan and run under cold water to cool them enough so they can be easily handled.
  6. While the carrots are cooking, mash together the ricotta and feta in a medium-sized bowl.  Add the grated zest of the orange and the finely chopped coriander.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Spread the cheese mixture onto each of your four pastry squares or rectangles.
  8. Arrange the carrots on top of the cheese mixture on each of the four pastry squares or rectangles.
  9. Put the tarts into the oven and cook for about 15 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
  10.  While the tarts are cooking, put the juice of your orange, sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small pan.   Cook gently uncovered until the liquid has reduced by half.   This will form a glaze for the tarts which will add flavour and also give them an attractive sheen!
  11. When the tarts are cooked, remove them from the oven and paint the glaze over the carrot topping.
  12.  The tarts can be eaten either hot or cold.  If you are planning to eat them cold, place on a baking rack to cool so that the pastry remains crisp.

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Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut

Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut – Easy home-baking recipe

Lime Drizzle Cake. Like Lemon Drizzle Cake but with with an added tropical coconut twist. This is a very easy cake to make. It uses a basic sponge recipe which is taken to the next level by the lime and coconut flavour combination. As with all Drizzle Cakes, the icing is a simple combination of zesty fruit juice and icing sugar, so no need for fancy icing techniques. You just mix it together and pour it onto the warm cake so it adds an additional sweet and zingy punch of flavour.

Lovely limes…

I love limes. They have all the sharp citrus notes of lemons but with a more complex spicy background flavour which combines brilliantly with the richness of coconut. As well as cakes, I often use it with seafood, such as my Crab and Prawn Tart with Chilli, Lime and Coriander. It is also adds a fantastic zip of sharpness to sweet tropical fruits, such as mango, as in Mango and Lime Ice Cream.

…and creamy coconut

I use a combination of Coconut Cream and Desiccated Coconut to flavour this cake. Coconut Cream is one of my favourite ingredients for both sweet and savoury recipes. It comes in a block from which you can break off as much as you need. Once opened, you can keep it in the fridge for several weeks and use whenever you want to add a coconut hit to one of your recipes. It has a rich, creamy flavour which is great in cakes and puddings but also in Thai-style curries. If you don’t have a tin of coconut milk handy, you can just add some coconut cream to water and use that instead.

I have recently been won over to Desiccated Coconut having been put off by childhood memories of it as a dry, flavourless coating on rather unappetising shop-bought cakes. However, if you soak it in water before using, it becomes soft and flavourful and is a great addition to recipes. I guess the clue is in the name – it has had its moisture removed so you need to add it back again!

If you are inspired to explore the wonderful world of Drizzle Cakes by this recipe, you might like our recipes for Lemon Drizzle Cake and Blood Orange Drizzle Cake.

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Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut

Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 loaf cake 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut is really easy and quick to make and provides a tropical twist on a traditional Lemon Drizzle Cake.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 25 g coconut cream (grated)
  • 50 g desiccated coconut
  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 125 g butter
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 2 limes
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • A little desiccated coconut or grated coconut cream to decorate.

Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut


Instructions

  • Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
  • Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  • In a small bowl, combine the grated coconut cream, desiccated coconut and boiling water.  Leave to cool slightly while you get on with the rest of the cake preparations.  The coconut cream will melt and the desiccated coconut will soften and expand in the hot water.
  • Cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl.  (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
  • Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture.  If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
  • Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
  • Add the contents of the small bowl – water, melted coconut cream and desiccated coconut – to the cake mixture together with the grated zest of your limes.
  • Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
  • Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  • While the cake is baking, combine the juice from your limes with 100 g of icing sugar to form a thick syrup.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the top.
  • Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely before removing.   If you try and take it out while it is still warm it may fall apart as it will be very moist due to the syrup.
  • You can decorate the top of the cake with a little desiccated coconut or grated coconut cream.

Keywords: Lime, Drizzle Cake, Lime Cake, Coconut Cake

 

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