It’s an amazingly gorgeous, blue-skied day in San Francisco today, so beautiful I could forget it’s February. But just a few days ago, it was cold and rainy, and I needed a bit of sunshine. What is sunnier in the winter than citrus? I adore the zesty, bright flavor of all citrus– oranges, tangerines, limes and pink grapefruit– but I am particularly fond of their quirkier, less available cousins, including Meyer lemons and Cara Cara oranges. Look how beautiful these are:
Another citrus flavor I adore is bergamot, though I have not seen the actual fruit. Earl Grey tea, whose characteristic flavor is the essence of the bergamot orange’s peel, is my morning beverage of choice. In this cake, I’ve combined the flavors of these two favorite upstart members of the citrus family along with a few drops of orange blossom water, to evoke a sunnier clime. I’ve adapted this recipe from the orange cake in Italy’s The Silver Spoon for Children cookbook. It’s delightfully simple to prepare, made sophisticated with the more exotic flavors of Cara Cara oranges, orange blossom water and Earl Grey tea (and slightly caffeinated) enough for tea time for grownups.
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Cara Cara Orange-Earl Grey Tea Cake
Makes 1 8″ round cake
For the cake:
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup demerara sugar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled; plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 Earl Grey teabags (best quality), or 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea, ground fine in a spice grinder
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed juice from one Cara Cara orange (may substitute Navel orange or tangerine juice); save an additional 1 Tbsp juice for the glaze
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
6 tablespoons Cara Cara orange-Earl Grey tea glaze (recipe follows)
1. Whisk together sugars and eggs in a mixing bowl until creamy and light.
2. Add cooled, melted butter and combine well.
3. Sift together flour and baking powder and add to the batter.
4. Cut open tea bags and pour the leaves into a small bowl. (If your tea leaves are larger than a powder or you are using tea leaves, grind into a powder using a spice grinder).
5. Pour tea powder into the batter and stir well.
6. Stir in Cara Cara orange juice and orange blossom water.
7. Pour batter into a greased, 8 inch round cake pan lined with a round of parchment paper.
8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely and invert onto a plate before applying glaze (see accompanying recipe).
Cara Cara Orange-Earl Grey Tea Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea, brewed strong
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Cara Cara or other orange juice
1. Whisk together confectioners’ sugar with brewed tea and orange juice until slightly thickened. Set aside until cake is ready to glaze.
2. Using a toothpick or skewer, poke holes into the top of the cooled cake, and apply glaze evenly over the top, allowing glaze to drip over the edges. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.
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I couldn’t resist adding this clip for a soundtrack, shared by Anastasia at For the Knit of It. Thank you! Enjoy!