A few months ago I began reading TeaChef.com, a site sponsored by Adagio Teas to promote the appreciation of tea. I was drawn to the site because it talks about cooking with tea, not just drinking it. They even have a monthly feature where they ship free samples of tea to chefs around the world, and each chef is supposed to develop a new recipe using the tea. A different tea is selected each month, and a record of all recipes submitted (both sweet and savory) is available on the site. I love cooking with tea and signed up for this month’s selection, Green Pekoe Blues.
Green Pekoe Blues is a popular “every day” tea in China, and has a subtle, earthy flavor. It is also called “Orange Pekoe,” which got me thinking about citrus flavors that might work well with it. When cooking with tea I try not to use too many strong flavors that will overwhelm the dessert and distract from the tea. I also like to use the actual tea leaves, not just brewed tea, in my recipes and mix it in directly with ingredients that will absorb the flavor. Butter and chocolate, especially white chocolate, are great examples of ingredients that work well with tea. With all of this in mind, I decided to use a white chocolate butter cake recipe as a base for my experiment. By adding a touch of tea and orange zest, and topping it off with an orange-tea glaze, my Orange Pekoe Tea Cake came to life.
The best thing about this recipe is that no one would know there is white chocolate in it. It’s simply a moist, easy to make cake that works well alongside tea or after a meal. Different varieties of teas can be used to create different flavors, so if you don’t have Green Pekoe Blues on hand, feel free to try it with one of your own favorites.
**If you like this recipe let the Tea Chef community know by voting for it between March 25-28, 2006 at TeaChef.com
Orange Pekoe Tea Cake
Servings: 10-12 (depending on size of pan)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
6 oz unsalted butter, cut into one-inch cubes
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 oz white chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon Green Pekoe Blues tea, for brewing
1 tablespoon finely chopped Green Pekoe Blues tea, loose
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
Orange Pekoe Icing
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
2 tablespoons brewed Green Pekoe Blues Tea
1 teaspoon finely chopped Green Pekoe Blues Tea
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
To make the cake:
1) Preheat the oven to 325F.
2) Grease a mini-cake or muffin pan, set aside.
2) Place the butter, milk, sugar and white chocolate into a medium saucepan.
3) Place the Green Pekoe Blues tea (for brewing) in a tea bag or strainer and add to the saucepan. Make sure the bag or strainer is closed so the tea leaves do not escape into the chocolate mixture during heating.
4) Bring the chocolate mixture to a simmer over low heat, stirring constantly.
5) Once simmering, remove saucepan from heat, and remove the tea bag or strainer from the chocolate mixture.
5) Place the finely chopped Green Pekoe Blues Tea, flour, baking powder, vanilla, orange zest and eggs into a large bowl.
6) Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
7) Fill each mini-cake or muffin tin half full. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
To make the icing:
1) Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a bowl.
2) Add 2 tablespoons brewed Green Pekoe Blues tea and stir to combine. (If you prefer a thinner icing, add more brewed tea 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.)
3) Stir in the finely chopped Green Pekoe Blues tea and grated orange rind.
4) Spoon onto Orange Pekoe Tea Cakes immediately and enjoy.
Recipe also available on TeaChef.com