I recently met up with a friend, and our conversation quickly turned to our love of spreads such as jam and Nutella. This got me thinking about things to ‘accompany’ these marvellous flavours. Toast, brioche, crackers…. all of these work, but what about when you want something really hearty? Whilst having these thoughts, I stumbled across Ruby Tandoh’s Guardian Series Ruby bakes, and found her recipe for a Tea Loaf. Well, it felt like the jigsaw had finally been pieced together! Not only is a tea loaf delicious, it would also work well with sweet spreads and has a long association with the motherland (where you ask? Why Yorkshire of course!)
Ruby’s original recipe is very simple, preferring Early Grey to provide the cake with a deep woody flavour. I made a few amendments; soaking the dried fruit in the tea overnight, adding a bit more sugar, as well as glace cherries and flaked almonds for a little crunch. The original recipe can be found here; for my slight twist see below!
225g mixed dried fruit
300ml Earl Grey Tea (cold, two teabags)
50g glace cherries chopped
100g soft dark brown sugar
Zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs
275g plain flour
50g flaked almonds
2½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
Boil 300ml of water and add to a bowl with the two tea bags. Leave to brew for around 10 minutes, then remove the teabags and leave to cool. Add the mixed dried fruit and chopped cherries, cover with clingfilm and leave to soak overnight, or at least 8 hours. As I often bake in the evening, I left it to soak during the day.
Pre-heat the oven to 170C and grease and line a loaf tin. Put the dried fruit and tea mixture into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for a few minutes then remove from the heat, mix in the sugar and allow to cool. Once cooled, mix in the orange zest and eggs.
Mix together the flour, flaked almonds, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl. Pour the dried fruit mixture into the bowl and mix together lightly until fully combined. Spoon into the tin and bake for 50 – 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
Following on from our conversation, I have eaten slices of this cake with apricot jam, salted butter and Nutella, and I can confirm that all combinations taste lovely. However, as I added a bit more sugar than the original recipe, it is also sweet enough to have on its own. I sliced the cake up and took it into work which went down very well with the colleagues!
This is also my entry in the March Love Cake challenge by JibberJabberUK. This month’s theme is Giving Up; as it is now Lent, the challenge is looking for bakes without one of the main four cake ingredients (flour, sugar, butter or eggs). Due to the lack of butter in this recipe, I thought that it would be the perfect entry – enjoy 🙂