Earl Grey Tea, Walnut and Carrot Cake
Have you ever had a cake flavoured with tea? I had only had tea with my cake before I made this one! This lovely luscious cake tastes like tea and cake in one and is so delicious I will make it over and over again!
I came up with the idea of baking a cake flavoured with Earl Grey tea when I had to write a recipe for something that called for tea as a main ingredient. I love the scent of Earl Grey so I decided right away that would be my choice of tea to use in the cake.
Earl Grey is black tea flavoured with the citrusy flavoured leaves of the bergamot orange. Most tea-flavoured recipes call for using only the liquid from steeping the tea leaves in boiling water or using teabags. I wanted quite strong Earl Grey flavour and scent so decided to experiment with adding the soaked leaves as well. I was worried this may make the cake bitter but to my surprise it didn’t at all and I even got black speckles in the cake that looked really lovely.
Use the best loose Earl Grey tea you can find so you can really smell the tea in the cake and grind the leaves only if they are too big. Tea from teabags is fine enough.
I usually add vegetables such as carrots, courgettes, squash or beets to cakes for more fibre, flavour and moisture. Carrots worked really well in this one and made it really soft and moist. For more texture and flavour I also replaced some of the flour with finely ground walnuts which also worked very nicely instead of using bits like in regular carrot cakes.
This is one of those cakes that get better after a couple of days. Using olive oil instead of butter makes it very moist and helps the tea flavour to come through beautifully. Decorate your cake with a little icing sugar instead of icing if you want to cut calories. If you prefer to ice the cake I recommend butter cream flavoured with real vanilla seeds or vanilla paste if that’s available. The flavour of vanilla icing nicely complements the flavour of this cake.
- 2 tbsp Earl Gray Tea
- 5 tbsp boiling water
- 300g caster sugar
- 250ml olive oil
- 4 medium eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 180g flour
- 100g walnuts, finely ground
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 300g carrots, grated
- Icing sugar to decorate
- Walnut halves to decorate
Paper doily for decoration
- Preheat oven to 190C/375F and line the bottom of a 23 cm (9 inch) cake tin with baking paper. Use a little oil or butter to grease the sides of the tin.
- Grind the tea leaves with a mortar and pestle to make a coarse powder (not too fine like tea from teabags). Put in a small cup and add the boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse.
- Mix the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
- Beat the sugar and oil on medium speed for two minutes or until sugar is dissolved, then add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition so each egg is well incorporated into the mix. Add the soaked tea (with liquid) and the vanilla extract and mix well.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mix to the egg mixture and stir to dissolve, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the flour mixture in two batches and beat for 1 minutes after each addition.
- Fold the grated carrots in the batter and stir well.
- Pour the batter in the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin for ten minutes. Release the cake from the tin onto a cooling rack, peel off the baking paper and let cool completely.
- To decorate the cake put a paper doily on top of the cake and sift a little icing sugar on it. Gently lift the doily to reveal the pattern and decorate with walnut halves. Enjoy with tea or coffee.