It’s January so the celebration for National Hot Tea Month is in full swing. Although, if you ask me, we should have a hot tea season that would span several months. I love drinking hot tea, especially when it keeps me warm.
What goes well with a cup of hot tea? Tea bread, of course. And the perfect tea bread contains an infusion of tea to permeate the baked good.
To come up with a complementary treat for my cuppa, I found a recipe for a tea cake with Earl Grey tea in it. The classic Earl Grey is black tea flavored with orange-scented bergamot. A new twist has the addition of lavender buds which rounds out the tea nicely, so I knew I wanted to include the floral profile.
I first altered the recipe by including the lavender flowers. Next, I changed it from gluten free to using all purpose flour because that’s what I had on hand. Feel free to use a gluten free flour blend instead.
Then I reduced the recipe so it would make four small loaves that would bake better at high altitude. For altitude I also switched it up to include a combination of baking soda and baking powder. There was no need for vegan changes because the recipe was already vegan.
The resulting mini breads were moist and extremely flavorful, reminiscent of honey cakes. With a hint of lavender when warmed and depth from the maple syrup, they are fantastic alongside a robust tea as well as an herbal blend. I froze a few loaves so I can savor them this month, and also enjoy them on a future tea drinking day.
Lavender Earl Grey Tea Bread adapted from Earl Grey Tea Cake
1.5 cups boiling water
3.5 teaspoons Earl Grey loose leaf tea
1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender flowers
1/3 cup dried currants
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Grease the sections of a mini bread tin (mine makes four breads measuring 5 x 2.5” each) and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine the water, Earl Grey tea, and lavender in a heat-proof container. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain and discard the leaves. Add 1/2 cup of tea back to the container, saving the other 1 cup of tea for later. Place dried currants in the 1/2 cup of tea, cover, and set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil and maple syrup to a medium bowl and whisk together. Add the vanilla and 1 cup of tea to the oil-syrup mixture. Whisk until combined, then stir in the tea with the currants.
Add the liquid mixture to the ingredients in the dry bowl and stir until combined and no longer lumpy. Distribute the batter evenly into the sections of the tin. Bake for 34-38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a bread comes away clean or with a few small crumbs.
Let the breads fully cool in the tin placed on a wire rack. Run a knife along the outside edges of each bread to loosen, then tip the loaves out.
Until next time, happy baking!