Did anyone else have a “posh” tea section in their tea and coffee cupboard when they were younger? You know, the kind of tea that was only drank when special guests came over, or when your mum needed to impress somebody.
We did, and more often than not this came in the form of something from Whittard. Maybe it was the packaging, or maybe it was the fact I wasn’t allowed to drink it, but I was always drawn to those posh teas, and yes mum, if you’re reading this I most definitely sneaked myself a few on the sly without you knowing.
Today, I can’t walk past a Whittard store without thinking about that memory. It’s a memory that evokes such nostalgia of my childhood, so it’s not surprising that my tea and coffee cupboard now houses it’s very own posh tea section.
But sometimes tea isn’t just for drinking, sometimes it’s perfect for eating. Using loose leaf tea is a great way to incorporate tea into food, and there are a few ways you can do it.
Steeped in Milk
If your recipe includes milk (like this one) then steeping the tea with the milk first is a great way to get the flavour into the bake.
Infusing with butter
If your recipe doesn’t include milk, chances are it does include butter. You’ll need to melt the butter down first and let the tea leaves steep in the liquid. You can then add the infused melted butter to your other ingredients and voila, however, if you need solid or soft butter then you’ll need to allow time for the butter to solidify again before using. It’s a good idea to do this the night before you need to bake if you follow this method.
Blitzed and blended with dry ingredients.
The simple and straight forward method is to just add the leaves directly to the mixture, however, people aren’t too fond of finding bits of leaf in their cake so if you’re following this process it’s best to blitz the leaves into a fine powder first, then mix it in with the dry ingredients. I find this method works best with biscuits, as it’s nice to have the little specks of tea leaf through the dough.
I popped into Whittard recently to visit their new Covent Garden Store, and I was recommended their Blueberry & Vanilla Rooibos blend. They nickname it the Blueberry Muffin Blend because it literally smells and tastes like a blueberry muffin. It’s such a delicious tea, and it has fast become one my favourites to drink mid-afternoon. But afternoon tea is lonely without a sweet treat so I put my experimental hat on and decided to take the term tea and cake quite literally.
The result is delicious!!
Blueberry & Vanilla Rooibos Tea Loaf Cake
Bursting with the taste of Blueberries and subtle taste of Vanilla
- 230 ml milk
- 3 tsp Whittard Blueberry & Vanilla Loose Leaf Tea
- 200 g caster sugar
- 115 g unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 250 g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 200 g fresh blueberries
Begin by mixing the milk and loose-leaf tea into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil.
Reduce the mixture to a simmer for 5 minutes then remove from the heat and let the tea steep for 30 minutes while it cools.
Preheat oven to 180C and line a 9lbs loaf tin with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs, vanilla and infused milk.
Add the flour and baking powder and fold together until fully incorporated. Then coat the blueberries in a little flour and add them to the batter.
*Coating them in flour before-hand stops them all sinking to the bottom.
Fold the blueberries into the mixture using a large spoon being careful not to crush them.
Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean, then leave it in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning it out and leaving to cool for 30 minutes.
This loaf is best served a little warm with a pot of Whittard's Blueberry & Vanilla Rooibos Tea but if you're feeling indulgent you could add a splash of cream, a lashing of warm custard, or a scoop of ice-cream.
Another great way to serve this loaf is lightly toasted with jam or butter.
The loaf will keep for around 5-7 days if kept well wrapped but if you wish to keep longer, you can cut it into individual slices and freeze for up to 6 months. Leave slices out to thaw for 12 hours before eating.