Sunday, June 19, 2011

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

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I'm alliiiiveee! Well sort of. It's been a very icky, snotty, exhausting week in bed. I managed to catch myself one nasty b*tch of a bug, one that was so bad that even A (who proudly boasts that he only gets sick once every 5 years) caught it too. So that meant that when I finally started feeling a bit better I forced myself out of bed to make him honey lemon drinks and huge pots of chicken soup. Other than that most of last week was spent in bed, watching Buffy and eating lots of comfort food. I may or may not have eaten an entire tray of Sara Lee chocolate cake (I know who to blame for my rekindled love of their frozen cakey goodness).
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But finally, after many Sudafed-induced sleeps I was better enough to get back into the kitchen to bake something. It's always a very obvious sign that I'm very sick if I don't even have the energy to bake, usually when I'm feeling a little under the weather I still manage to whip up some scones. So today I kept things pretty simple, I don't quite have the energy for one of my crazy baking experiments just yet. I just wanted a lovely sweet tea cake to nibble on.
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I love tea so effing much. Every kind of tea. Chinese teas, Japanese green tea, a milky English Breakfast, give it to me by the bucketload. But other than matcha flavoured desserts I haven't tried too many tea-flavoured desserts. Earl Grey seemed like the obvious choice to try out, with its distinctive bergamot aroma and flavour. I had a bunch of rhubarb waiting to stewed and I always love the combination of rhubarb with any kind of citrusy flavour, so I decided to try an Earl Grey Tea Cake with a Rhubarb & Cream Cheese Icing. At first I was imagining swirls of lusciously thick cream cheese icing, but as I started making it I realised that a glaze would work much better. The icing was quite sweet so I didn't want too much of it on the cake, plus I had to use quite a high ratio of rhubarb puree so that it wouldn't be overpowered by the flavour of the cream cheese. I love the light pink colour that the rhubarb gave the glaze, it just looks so inviting and fresh drizzled over the cake.
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The exterior look and feel of the cake itself is quite deceptive. It looks appears slightly dense and heavy, but when you cut yourself a slice you find a beautiful fluffy centre with just the right amount of flavour from the Earl Grey. It's not too strong but you can definitely notice its presence. I actually quite like the mottled banana-bread-like appearance that the loose tea leaves give the cake. The first thing you taste is the sweet rhubarb mixed up with smooth cream cheese and just a hint of lemon zest, then you're left with the light aftertaste of the bergamot. It's one of those lovely girly cakes that you just want to sit down and share with your girlfriends over a cup of tea.
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Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze
(Adapted from this Earl Grey Tea Cakes recipe from Good Taste)
2 Earl Grey tea bags (about 3 tsp leaves)
60ml (1/4 cup) boiling water
80ml (1/3 cup) milk
100g butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
160g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
190g (1 1/4 cups) self-raising flour

For the glaze: (this made quite a lot of glaze for me, you could halve it if you like)
150g rhubarb, diced
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp caster sugar and 1 tbsp water
125g cream cheese, softened
1 cup (150g) icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin. Empty the tea leaves from the tea bags into a cup and add the boiling water. Set aside for 3 minutes then add milk to cup.

Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. With the mixer on low, gradually add flour and tea mixture, alternating between wet and dry ingredients. Beat until just combined.
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Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 2-3 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is baking and cooling, place rhubarb in a small saucepan on low heat with lemon zest, sugar and water. Stirring occasionally, simmer rhubarb until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Puree mixture in a food processor or blender. Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add sifted icing sugar and rhubarb puree and beat until smooth. Pour over the top of cooled cake and serve immediately. Can be refrigerated overnight.
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53 comments:

  1. This is just gorgeous. what a great incorporation of rhubarb. Love it.

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  2. OMG! i love this cake!!! you can't believe that, but in this day i was searching for a recipe with earl grey!!!
    :D

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  3. It's good to here you are felling better! Also I love that you spent the week watching Buffy. This cake looks lovely and that rhubarb glaze, I think I'd happily sit down with the jug of it and a spoon.

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  4. Glad you are feeling better. Great cake and I love the photos

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  5. Such a lovely colour and the cake has a nice crumb. Yum

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  6. Yay you're back! Love earl grey in desserts even though I don't drink the tea itself. And double yay for girly pink icing slathered over a cake, just the way I like it hehe.

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  7. I adore tea flavours too - and the pink icing is so, so pretty. Love it!

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  8. ohh those bugs are nasty arent they! first i got a cold then when i was still recovering from that, i got the flu...im still spurting out coughs after 3 weeks :(

    but *squee*! that rhubarb glaze looks so freakin good (and pink)! and i want ur cute milk jug too

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  9. Eek, so pretty. And it even matches your Kitchen Aid Mixer !

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  10. Tea is my ultimate vice. Get well soon. I want a slice so bad. x

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  11. This looks absolutely gorgeous and I wish I could eat it. I too love using Earl Grey in cooking though I don't actually like it as tea. Have you tried it in ice cream? It's amazing. I would never have thought of pairing it with rhubarb though, and now I can't wait to try!

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  12. I am in love with your baking creations :) That glaze sounds incredible.

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  13. wow! this recipe sounds and looks deeelish!
    sorry to hear that you've been sick but am pleased to hear you're almost better.

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  14. This cake looks delicious, and love the color of the glaze. Great visual appeal to this dish.

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  15. This cake is just too pretty! Glad you are feeling better now; being sick sucks big time.

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  16. That really does look SO delicious.
    I'm an absolute sucker for tea, in fact just went to T2 today for new tea and a new tea cup and saucer... well, I couldn't NOT get a new hot pink leopard print style cup and saucer set..... !

    xox

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  17. I absolutely LOVE earl grey tea cakes. Fantastic idea you've had to pair it with this unique glaze! The color reminds me of something out of a 1950s cookbook - so classic.

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  18. PERFECT!!!I must try it..:)amazing pictures:)

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  19. SNAP! I made an Earl Grey cake on the weekend and blogged about it too. Love the rhubarb glaze!

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  20. Gorgeous as usual! Love your stuff :)

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  21. oh man i would love a hunk of this now! i love your posts!!!

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  22. Every time I come to your blog my mouth instantly starts watering! This cake looks so yummy...and I couldn't help but notice your fun purple kitchenAid, I've never seen that color before, It's gorgeous!

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  23. If ever a cake was ladylike, this is the one! Its so goddam PRETTY, and such a unique idea too. Must give this a shot some day, we are massive tea and rhubarb fans in this house too :)

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  24. Lora - Thanks so much! Will never get sick of baking with rhubarb!

    Rebecca - Heehee great minds think alike!

    chocolatesuze - Gotta go for the money shot!

    Butter Hearts Sugar - hahaha it's the only right way to spent a week off sick, am I right?

    Maris (in Good Taste) - Thanks!

    shaz - Thanks! I was happy with the end result

    Karen | Citrus and Candy - I'm back! Girly pink icing rules.

    leaf (the indolent cook) - thanks so much!

    sugarpuffi - oh noes I hope you're feeling better now! Milk jug is brand new :D

    Caylee - haha not sure if it matches but okay!

    KitchenTherapy - Same here, I tried to wean myself off it but it didn't last!

    Elly McCausland - I have to agree, I'm not a huge fan of the tea itself! I've seen tons of ice cream recipes for it, they sound lovely!

    muppy - Thanks so much!

    hollypop - Thank you! <3

    Elizabeth - Thanks! I thought so too :) Gotta love a shiny glaze

    bakerbynature - Thank you!

    Blithely Unaware - I totally approve of your teacup & sauce purchase :D

    yasmeen - Heehee I love classic cookbooks! I've stolen all of my Mum's :)

    Martina(Dulce de Leche) - Thanks!

    Di-licious - Hehe awesome! Earl grey cake with chocolate looks delicious

    La Roquette - Thank you :)

    sugarswings - thanks so much!

    Andrea @ Strawberry Chic - the colour is called boysenberry! I had to get a purple one :)

    The Procrastobaker - heehee it really is very ladylike isn't it? thanks!

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  25. I just discover your blog, and... I LOVE it so much.
    The pictures are so beautiful :-)
    I will come often here, to read you & see your pictures :-)

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  26. Hey I discovered your blog a while ago and I'm totally impressed by it ! All looks so amzingly yummy ! I really wanna try this recipe but I can't find rhubarb anywhere now , what other fruit can I use ?

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  27. Ahh, your pictures are gorgeous. I tried this out today and I absolutely love it! I didn't have any rhubarb around though so I made a blueberry glaze instead but it still turned out great. Thanks for sharing!

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  28. Bwuha' - Ritu just answered your question for me, blueberries would be a great substitute! Also strawberries or raspberries :)

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  29. Stephcookie -oh gosh thank you so much !! I didn't see it ...how blind am i? hahahah

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  30. Bwuha' - haha you wouldn't have seen it, she only commented today. sorry it took me so long to respond!

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  31. tried baking this today and i must say... IT'S AWESOME! to be honest, i was initially taken aback by the idea of rhubarb + cream cheese. but the result was so satisfying. i must say, you are such a genius in creating such unique recipes. the icing turned out to be so pretty & not-too-sweet (which is a good thing). the earl grey cake was so tasty that pictures of it alone w/o the icing don't do it enough justice. love this cake so much that my friend and i ended up baking more than two cakes hahaha

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  32. jun - Fantastic!!! So glad you and your friend liked it so much :D I totally agree that the look of the cake on its own doesn't do justice to how great it tastes!

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  33. This came out delicious! I like it because it's not overally sweet. However, I made it with regular flour and added baking powder (2tsp). I was a very wet batter. Is that normal? And it didn't rise too much. But a made a dense delicious cake! I subbed raspberries for rhubarb, but would so without icing, because of the delicate flavors. Thanks!

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  34. Deborah - Glad you liked it! It is meant to be quite a wet batter, but it sounds like you needed a touch more baking powder, like another 1/2 tsp. Hope that helps! Raspberry icing sounds delicious!

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  35. Just made this cake this morning - was an absolute hit at a girls morning tea, gave them all your site and recipe, expect more readers!

    Just now have to wait for my husband to get home, to tell him the bad news.... none left!

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  36. Love this cake - I made it for my Mum due to her love of Earl Grey and Rhubarb, and it looks absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the great recipe x

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  37. Love this series of cake pics, and i'm trying out this recipe tomorrow!
    P/S: may i know where can i get this rose dotty milk jug? So in love with it!!!

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    1. Hope you like the recipe! I got the jug from a local homewares store, it's from Robert Gordon Australia but by the looks of the online store I'm not sure if that range is still for sale, sorry!

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  38. I made this cake today and agreed with you that it turned out a little dense and heavy. The batter smelt deliciously of earl grey, but all that aroma disappeared after the cake was cooked... Do u think i can retain the aroma by just sifting and adding the tea leaves into the batter without adding boiling water? I really want a stronger tea aroma...and i even used 3 teabags!!

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    1. Oh that's a pity you found it heavy, in my post I said it looked dense but actually turned out to be quite light in the middle. Perhaps you might want to try this earl grey muffin recipe instead: www.raspberricupcakes.com/2012/02/earl-grey-poppy-seed-muffins.html

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    2. As for getting a stronger tea aroma, it might depend on the tea you are using. It should be stronger the longer you steep the tea leaves in the hot liquid for. If you think the water made it too light, you could try replacing the water with more milk and just steeping the tea leaves in hot milk.

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    3. Thanks for the tip of steeping the leaves in hot milk! Great idea!
      Oh i forgot to mention: the glaze was PERFECT! I actually substitute with strawberry and it's a hit with everybody! ^^ And you are right... i ended up with one rice bowl of glaze to use when in actual fact only needed about a quarter bowl for the cake (so i ended up with lots of strawberry creme jam to last the week) :P But i'm not complaining! LOL

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  39. Made this today with Lady Grey tea bags. Such a simple cake to make and absolutely delicious, I'd probably skip the icing next time though

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  40. I made this today but with Chai Tea instead of Earl Grey (or using any tea bag infused in the hot water with lots of cinnamon, cloves and cardamon) and they turned out to be delicious!

    I topped with a simple cinnamon buttercream icing (I was too lazy to make a glaze as lovely as yours!) x

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    1. Um, YUM that sounds amazing! Love the idea of using Chai instead!

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  41. Could you use any other fruit other than rhubarb? Something a little more common?

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    1. Of course, any fruit you like. Berries would make a great substitute, if you look up in the comments another reader used blueberries.

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  42. Hi Steph,
    Do you include the loose tea leaves into the batter or strain them away? I'm worried the leaves might make the cake uncomfortable to chew. Btw I came to this page after making those earl grey muffins with marmalade glaze:)

    DT

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    1. DT - for this particular recipe I didn't strain the leaves away. I was using tea bags so the leaves were already quite fine so there wasn't any issue with the texture. But if you are using loose leaf tea I would probably suggest straining it out before you add it to the batter.

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  43. Just made this the other day, it is delicious. I found I was more successful throwing everything in the food processor for the glaze--cream cheese and all--and it came out perfectly.

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  44. What a glorious summery cake! I love the idea of using Earl Grey tea in the cake, and that rhubarb glaze is just gorgeous.

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