As 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.
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).
My 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.
Quite a floral scent, although certainly not overpowering.
Taste: 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.
The 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.
Normal 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!