Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Tea Loaf Cake

I don't often buy shop-bought cake whether it is a mass-produced branded one or supermarket own brand. I find them a bit dry, a bit sweet for my liking.  Hubbs (Mr Leaf) likes them though.  When they come individually wrapped in slices they are convenient for him to take to work and on special offer - well, I treat him :p  They do a light fruit cake one which has notes of mixed spice and is rather delicious if I may admit!  I tried creating my own...

Tea Loaf Cake

150ml boiling water
1 Earl Grey Tea Bag
250g mixed dried fruit
200g soft butter
75g caster sugar
75g soft light brown sugar
3 large free-range eggs
1 zest of an orange
40g ground almonds
210g self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
1.5 level teaspoon mixed spice

Put fruit into a small bowl, tuck in the tea bag and pour on the boiling water.  Leave the fruits to swell and soak up the liquid.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Grease and line 2 small loaf tins.  I used a rectangular aluminium foil container and a 2lb loaf tin.

Cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy.

Add an egg into the mix along with a spoonful of your measured flour, mix until the egg has been incorporated.  Repeat with the remaining eggs.

Tip the fruits along with any liquid into the cake mix, give the tea bag a good squeeze. I emptied the bag of it's leaves into the cake mix as I thought it might improve flavour.  Add the grated orange zest and the ground almonds and fold in.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spice into the bowl, fold to combine.

Spoon into the greased tins and bake.  My loaf tin took 45-55 minutes and the smaller aluminium container took 35-45 minutes.  If the cakes brown too much, lower the heat slightly.  When you are checking the cake, give the tin a shake.  If the mixture wobbles, cake is not ready and may need another 10 minutes before you check.  Use a skewer to test the cake in the centre any gooey wet mix indicates cake is not ready and may need a further 5-10 minutes.
Sprinkle a little caster sugar on top of the cake when done, or dust with icing sugar.  Leave cake in tin for 10 minutes before cooling on rack.

*** Verdict
Not the same as the mass produced one which is lighter in colour (I suspect the tea leaves in my cake give it a richer colour) and I think if I stuck with one flavour instead of Earl Grey Tea and orange with the mixed spice it might resemble the bought-cake.  Nevertheless, my mummy friends all enjoyed the cake and at least I am happy eating something I know I made (even if hubby eats the plastic wrapped version!) :)

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