Imagine you bought a box of what you thought were chai tea bags and it turned out to be loose leaf tea. Maybe this wouldn't matter, if you’re the kind of person who has time to sit at the kitchen table, lining up your teapot, cup, saucer, tea strainer, marmalade on toast and enlightened conversation of a morning. But if you’re the type whose toast doesn't make it to a plate, or indeed the toaster, during breakfast, tea bags are very much the order of the day.
Never fear, there are a million ways to use up unwanted loose leaf tea. The main one is to bake it into a cake. Ok, so it’s January and everyone is dieting and no one wants a cake recipe. But this is a long old month, and we’re only half way through. And this cake smells of Christmas. Remember Christmas? Those were the days!
Cook it. Even if you give the resulting cake away, the baking section will fill your house with amazing festive smells, and cheer you right up.
For the cake
190g (1 cup) caster sugar
190g (¾ cup) butter
190g (1½ cups) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
40g (⅓ cup) ground almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
65ml (¼ cup) chai tea
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
For the glaze
50g caster sugar
100ml (½ cup) chai tea
1. Preheat your oven to 170°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and flour a loaf tin. Or, for the height of laziness, buy some non-stick loaf tin liners. They will change your life.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until fluffy. Do it by hand, it’s a great upper body workout.
3. Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time, until well combined.
4. Add the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, ground cinnamon and mixed spice. Mix together to form a thick, sticky dough.
5. Pour in the tea a little at a time, until you have a sloppy looking cake mix. Remember to strain the tea through a strainer first, unless you were smart enough to buy tea bags. In which case, why are you here?
6. Tip the mixture into your loaf tin and bake for 50-60 minutes, until firm and a skewer comes out clean.
7. During the last 10 minutes of cake cooking, make the glaze. Put the tea and sugar in a small pan, stir well, bring to the boil, and continue to heat until it starts to reduce and thicken.
8. Once the cake is ready to remove from the oven, stab it a few times with a skewer or fork, and pour the hot glaze over the top. It will make nice sizzling noises and taste delicious.
Image by Kate Diamond for BitchBuzz.com