September 12, 2012

Earl Grey Vanilla Tea Cake

Earl Grey Vanilla Tea Cake

On Monday I got hit with a cold at full force ... I don't want to complain too much because I know a cold is to be expected around this germy time of back-to-school, but normally I get a few days of warning signs first.  You know that little tickle in your throat that tells you a cold is on its way and you'd better start taking vitamins like crazy to try to lessen its blow?  This one came with no warning signs, just the whole works right from the start - sore throat, runny nose, sinus congestion, fluctuating body temperature, I'm sure you all know the drill!

It doesn't help that I have a crazy amount of work to get done this week, which is hard when I'm so tired because my stuffy nose just does not want me to get any sleep!  So, in my efforts to rid myself of this cold as quickly as it came on, I have been taking lots of vitamins, eating lots of fruits and veggies, and drinking a TON of tea!

Earl Grey Vanilla Tea Cake

And what goes better with a cup of tea than a delightful tea cake!  

This healthy-ish and not-too-sweet loaf contains the actual contents of three bags of earl grey tea, steeped in a bit of milk, along with some warm spices and vanilla so the smell and taste of the end product really remind you of earl grey tea.  I've been snacking on this with every cup of tea (which is probably not a good thing considering how much tea I've been drinking), and it's especially good warmed up or toasted.  You could probably even change up the tea and spices to any flavour you like - a chai bread would be really nice too!

Even if all my tea drinking doesn't chase away this cold, at least it's given me an excuse to eat lots of tea cake :)

Earl Grey Vanilla Tea Cake

Earl Grey Vanilla Tea Loaf

Makes one 8x4 inch loaf

Note: This loaf has a light and delicate crumb, much more like a cake than more dense and moist banana bread-like loaves.  If you want to add to the subtle citrus notes of the Earl Grey tea, you can add a splash of lemon juice to the loaf.


3 bags earl grey vanilla tea
1/4 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line the bottom of an 8-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. 

Add the milk to a small saucepan and empty the contents of the tea bags (snip off the tops first) into the pan.  Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk is warm and tea begins to steep.  Turn off heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  In a medium bowl, combine the oil, sugar, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla.  Stir the milk and tea mixture into the wet ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and fold together with a flexible spatula until just combined (do not overmix). 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean (mine was just slightly overdone at 45 minutes so you might want to check on it at 40 minutes first, though the exact time will depend on your oven).  Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.


  1. I love all the tiny black specks of tea in this loaf, it gives the top such a pretty looking effect! This really did remind me of tea - both its smell and taste! Perfect idea for fall :)

  2. Hi Natalie. This cake looks wonderful and one I am sure to try. I'm wondering about the kosher salt. How is it different from regular salt (I use sea salt)?

  3. Hi Claire - sea salt would be just fine in this! I think it's mostly a matter of personal preference .. Kosher salt doesn't have any additives and I find that it doesn't taste as "salty" as other varieties of salt. Because of this, a lot of people prefer to use it in cooking, and some people use it in baking while others find the grain is too coarse to be evenly distributed in a baked good. In something like this where the salt is only there to enhance the flavour of the other ingredients and you won't taste it at all, I didn't think it really matters and I used kosher salt mostly because it was the first thing I grabbed from my cupboard, then I wrote it in the recipe so it accurately reflected what I used. But the original recipe just called for regular salt, and sea salt would be even better. Sorry for the confusion!

  4. I once made Earl Grey cupcakes and discovered how lovely and citrus-y the tea is. I love the soft brown color of this cake, too. Now I'm craving a piece with a cup of coffee!

  5. Cupcakes sound fantastic! I didn't realize Earl Grey was citrusy before this either .. You could add some lemon or orange juice to this loaf too to brighten the flavour more!

  6. This cake looks lovely, especially with all the spices. I have been wanting to make a baked treat of some sort with Earl Grey for a while now, so I think this cake would be a good one for me!

  7. Kiersten @ Oh My VeggiesSeptember 14, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I think I've been coming down with a cold too. Right now I'm in that early stage where your head feels all full and heavy--yuck! Earl Grey is my favorite kind of tea, so I love the idea of this cake!

  8. Awe, I'm sorry to hear you are sick too! Sounds like me - trying to recover with an abundance of tea! Wish I had some of this yummy tea cake! Sounds amazing. Love earl grey. What a fantastic idea to use the flavours in a cake. Especially with some vanilla. It's like a London Fog in dessert form!

  9. Amanda @ Once Upon a RecipeSeptember 19, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    This looks absolutely wonderful - I LOVE Earl Grey tea too, so it's right up my alley. Hope you're on the mend soon! PS. I love coming across other Canadian bloggers! :)

  10. Thanks, Amanda! Just looked through your blog and there are already so many recipes I want to bookmark .. it will take me a while to get through it all!


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