Featured Ingredient: Culinary Tea
This is the first time that my featured ingredient has not been something you can bite into. Tabi and I are big-time tea aficionados as we have nice collection of fine Chinese and Thailand teas that we enjoy with breakfast and throughout the day. And being total tea geeks, we’ve become enamored with the cookbook Culinary Tea. It’s filled with beautiful prose, stunning photographs, an abundance of tea education and so many amazing tea infused recipes you’ll want to run straight to your local tea house and load up.
Among the recipes I definitely have my eye on are match mayo, smoky black lentils, salmon in black tea coconut sauce and apple Ceylon tea cake. But when I first flipped through the book and spotted the Earl Grey chocolate cake, I knew that had to be the first recipe we tried out. In the book, the authors use a Bundt cake pan, but the recipe worked really well in muffin cups as well. It seemed that the tea flavor actually became more pronounced after a day or two.
If you like tea and you enjoy cooking, I highly recommend adding Culinary Tea to your cookbook collection. Tea time never tasted so good!
Earl Grey Chocolate Cakes
Adapted from Culinary Tea
1 1/3 cup boiling water
2 Earl Grey tea bags or 2 1/2 teaspoons loose leaf
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup palm sugar or other fine grain sugar of choice
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (see recipe note at bottom)
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup steeped Earl Grey tea
4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter
Steep tea bags or tea leaves in boiling water in a bowl for 5 minutes. Discard bags or leaves.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add 1 cup of the steeped tea, reserving the rest for the glaze. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture for about 4 minutes on medium, scraping down the sides if needed halfway. The batter will be thin. Pour the batter into 12 prepared muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool before unmolding.
To make the glaze, melt together the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Reheat the remaining 1/4 cup tea on the stovetop or in the microwave and then stir into chocolate butter mixture. Spoon the glaze over the cakes and let set for 1 hour.
Recipe note: If you don’t have buttermilk, try these alternatives.
In a 1-cup measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Top the lemon juice with milk, stir and let sit for two minutes. (This is better than the vinegar milk mixture commonly mentioned).
Mix 3/4 cup plain yogurt with 1/4 cup of milk.
Mix 1 cup milk with 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. To avoid the mixture getting lumpy, mix the cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons milk. Once mixed add the rest of milk.
In a 1-cup measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Top the vinegar with coconut milk, stir and let sit for two minutes.