What is Operation Jam Jar?

Operation Jam Jar is all about getting back to basics in the kitchen.

Check out my efforts at cooking from scratch - cakes, soups, biscuits

Learn how to make things that you would normally buy at the supermarket - wraps, ice cream, pizza bases

Try to live a more 'country' lifestyle in the city - making your own jams or relish

Get the skills to enjoy cooking in a thrifty way, and have a bit of fun while you do it

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Earl Grey Teacakes with Lemon and Lavender Icing

Tea and cake.  They go so well together don’t they?  So imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled across a recipe that combined the two together.  Tea has such a delicate flavour, it gives the cake a very subtle taste that is quite different (in a good way) to most cakes. 

Using Early Grey gives you that citrus hint that goes so well with the icing.  Don’t worry, you don’t even notice the tea-leaves in the finished product, they seem to melt into the cake quite nicely.

You can see from my picture that I had a little issue with the icing.  When I pulled the icing sugar from my cupboard it had formed itself into a jar full of hard little pebbles instead of light and airy icing sugar.  I actually had to grate the little pebbles through a hand held sifter to get things moving.  Needless to say I had had enough after about 30 seconds so my icing is a little sparse.  Still tasted great though. 

Lavender leaves are an optional extra if, like me, you can pinch some from the neighbour’s garden. Use only the tips of the lavender as the flowers are light and tasty.  They add another layer of super delicate flavour that is just gorgeous.

This cake is lovely and moist with a really different flavour to regular cupcakes.  Kids and sweet tooths may find that they are not sweet enough but I think they are a fabulous addition to any afternoon tea.  Serve with Early Grey tea, of course.

Ingredients for the cake (makes 12)
2 Early Grey tea bags
1/4 cup boiling water
1/3 cup milk
100g soft butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
Oil spray for greasing the tray

For the icing:
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
Juice and zest of half a lemon
Lavender flowers (optional) to decorate 

Remove the tea-leaves from the bags and place in the boiling water for 5 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 12-capacity muffin tray with oil spray.

Add the hot water and all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.  Mix on low with an electric mixer until just combined, and then increase the speed to bring it all together.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin trays and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer placed in the centre comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack before icing.

To make the icing, place the icing sugar and zest into a bowl.  I like the zest quite chunky but if you prefer you can chop it more finely.  Add enough lemon juice until you have the right consistency.  Use a spatula to spread the icing on the cooled cakes.  Decorate with lavender leaves if you have some.

Store in an airtight container.  These stay lovely and moist for several days, if they last that long.

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