I’ve seen a lot of recipes during the last few months for tea-infused cookies and cakes. Whether it’s chai snickerdoodle cookies or green tea matcha cake, it seems like everyone is finding inventive ways to use leftover tea.
Initially, the idea of mixing tea and baked goods seemed a little strange to me. I’ve always looked at tea as an accompaniment to cake, or the perfect place to dip a cookie. I thought the new combinations were inventive, but would the tea flavor actually come through in the finished product? Was its real place in a cup, not a pan?
Then I tried this recipe for earl grey cardamom pound cake, and I was instantly proven wrong. Earl grey tea has a very distinct aroma–it’s citrusy, tart, and strong enough to wake you up in the morning. Add nutty, slightly spicy cardamom and creme fraiche, and you’ll have a moist, flavorful loaf worthy of sharing…or keeping all to yourself.
Earl Grey Cardamom Pound Cake (Adapted from Bon Appetit, The Sweet Art)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup whole milk*
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 bags of Earl Grey tea or 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Use 1/3 cup milk to steep in the Earl Grey in case some of it gets evaporated in the boiling process–only 1/4 cup milk is needed for the recipe.
Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Line a 9x5x3″ loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the baking powder, cardamom, salt, and flour. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup milk till it comes to a rolling boil.
Add in the Earl Grey and turn off the heat–leave a lid on it for about 30 minutes.
Strain the tea leaves and measure out 1/4 cup milk into a bowl and whisk in the creme fraiche to the milk.
Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Then, add the vanilla extract.
Reduce the speed to low and begin adding roughly 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/2 of the creme fraiche mixture, alternating until everything is fully incorporated. Beat until combined.
Scrape the batter into your loaf pan, smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for about 60 minutes, or until you can poke the center of the cake with a toothpick and have it come out clean.
Let the cake cool completely before slicing and serving.
If you refrigerate it before slicing, the cuts of cake will be a lot cleaner.
Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Serve at room temperature or warm.