I’m a recreational tea-drinker. If it’s a cold day and I’m in the right mood I’ll make a cup, but on the whole I’m definitely a coffee person. Tea just doesn’t have the caffeine I need to get going, so it’s more of an occasional treat than an everyday beverage (not counting the year I lived in England, where I had at least two coffees and one Earl Grey with milk every single day. I was very alert. And probably very dehydrated.) But if I’m at a coffee shop and for some reason I decide I don’t need another shot of espresso (it does happen), I’ll order a London Fog – steamed milk infused with vanilla and Earl Grey tea. It’s such a treat on a chilly day.
I got it into my head that I wanted to make a London Fog bundt cake, and it didn’t really go according to plan for a couple of reasons:
- I don’t own a proper bundt pan
- You can’t just dump a bundt’s worth of cake batter into a non-bundt pan and bake the living hell out of it
So I have a lot of cake scraps in the freezer now, no big deal.
I changed plans a bit and decided this cake would come to life as a loaf; it’s just as well, because it’s so dense and buttery that it should really be cut into 1-inch slices and not into ginormous wedges. A modest slab of this pound cake with a cup of tea is just perfect… so take that, bundt pans.
This cake is moist, dense, aromatic, and has crispy caramelized edges thanks to a little bit of brown sugar and a long time in the oven. It’s perfectly delicious on its own – I’ve eaten enough cake scraps in the last week to know – but a simple drizzling of vanilla bean icing makes it look and taste ridiculously luscious.
I mean… Wowza.
I think I’ve found my perfect tea time treat… and yeah, tea time = after dinner, mid-morning, lunchtime, before bed. Accompanying mug of tea optional.
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons coarsely ground Earl Grey tea
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup icing sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from 1 vanilla pod
- Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C; grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment.
- Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda into a bowl. After sifting, stir in the ground Earl Grey tea; set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and with the mixer on medium-low speed add the eggs one at a time, letting each one become incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla and mix well.
- Alternately add the buttermilk and flour mixture to the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the buttermilk. Scrape down the sides one last time and mix the batter just enough to ensure there are no dry lumps.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely.
- Gently remove the cake from its pan and peel away the parchment paper; place the cake on a wire rack. Make the icing by whisking the icing sugar, milk, and vanilla together in a small bowl, then drizzle over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let the icing set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.