Blueberry and orange cake… with Earl Grey

NPG D34953; Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey by Samuel Cousins, published by and after  Sir Thomas LawrenceAs part of my Year of the Earl, I’m also looking to bake with Earl Grey in various different ways. So when I found a blueberry and orange cake with Earl Grey syrup in Annabel Crabbe’s Special Delivery, I was pretty excited.

The cake itself is blueberries and ricotta and orange zest, and it’s pretty straightforward. You make the batter, layer half of it in a springform pan, put most of the blueberries in the middle, and then cover with the rest of the batter and scatter a few berries on top.

While it’s cooking, you make a syrup. The original recipe called for Lady Grey, but I decided to make a change – WHAT A NOT-SURPRISE – because I don’t actually have a lot of Lady Grey (waaaat?!). I do, however, have a great deal of French Earl Grey and I figured that the flavours in that would complement the berries and orange well enough.

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So the syrup is three teabags’ worth of tea, steeped for about 5 minutes, then boiled with orange juice and sugar for a little bit. And the syrup itself was very nice, but… not really very Earl Grey-y. I’m honestly not convinced it made much of a difference; and I can’t see that making it with Lady Grey would have been any different. Maybe the tea needs to steep for longer, to get more tannins or something? I don’t know. Maybe a bit less orange, since that was the dominant flavour for me.

Anyway. It was a very nice cake and I’m happy to have made it (although I think I over-mixed it as it wasn’t quite as light and fluffy as I expected).

 

The Tea Centre: French Earl Grey

NPG D34953; Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey by Samuel Cousins, published by and after  Sir Thomas LawrenceMy friends, bless their cotton socks, started to get into the act. This one, The Tea Centre’s French Earl Grey, came from Alison, she of the Anglo-Indian interview. I have had their tea before, but not this one…

3 min steeping.

No sugar

Light colour.

Quite a floral scent, although certainly not overpowering.

9398765430127Taste: interestingly, it fell more on the savoury side than I was expecting. The flowers are there but they’re not huge and they don’t make it especially sweet. When I added 1/2tsp sugar I felt that it brought out the flowers a bit more. It’s not an especially citrus-y tea. This isn’t too surprising when the ingredients list apricot, mango, rose and cornflower among the ingredients. Bergamot is going to get a bit overwhelmed.

Very nice, but probably not as nice as the Art of Tea version, for me.

 

Art of Tea: French Earl Grey

NPG D34953; Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey by Samuel Cousins, published by and after  Sir Thomas LawrenceThe Art of Tea is a Tasmanian business; I had the joy of interviewing Sam for the podcast a good few months ago. They have a great range of Earl Greys and one of my favourites is their French Earl Grey. Definitely not for the anti-flowers in their tea brigade!

3 min steeping.

No sugar

French-Earl-Grey2-300x300Normal colour. Very floral scent, when dry; very noticeable perfume when steeping.

Taste: also very floral. I like it a lot, although it’s not especially orange-y or even citrus-y. The box says it’s got hibiscus, sunflower and rose in it. Curious, I added 1/2 tsp sugar. It did not turn it into an overpoweringly sweet beverage, as I feared; in fact, it reduced a slight bitterness (which may have resulted from over-steeping?).

I reaaallly like this one!