Does it sound quaint or archaic to say “tea loaf” or “tea cake” in this day and age when hardly anyone takes time out of the day to sit down to a proper cup of tea, and a slice of something? I guess by now you’ve figured out that “tea cake” here means a cake to slice up and have with tea, in the late afternoon, rather than a cake that contains tea.
Before the manic brand of motherhood that has become second nature (think mum, writer, blogger, tutor, cook, housekeeper, finance manager, referee and errand runner – no, I do not have a live-in or part time maid) I used to brew and savour a pot with my own mum. It was a sacred ritual for us and a relished respite from our daily humdrum.
Well, take a step back and get your teapot off that dusty shelf. There’s a reason for the phrase “tea and sympathy”, as everything that ever seemed insurmountable to me, always somehow felt more achieveable after a cup of comforting, perfectly brewed tea. And to go with that perfect cuppa, this perfectly simple and delectable moist and tangy loaf. I felt guilty that it took this little effort to wreck my diet. Bah!! Life is short dammit! And a friend wisely informed me that cake doesn’t count, cake is medicine. Well, another slice then please!
Prep 15 mins Cook 40 mins Serves 4 – 6
100 g (1 cup) plain or all purpose flour (lightly packed and levelled)
60 g (1/2 cup) finely ground almonds (lightly packed)
75 g (1/2 cup) icing (powdered or confectioner's) sugar
1tsp baking soda (sieve it if lumpy – mine always is)
60 g (1/2 cup) chopped candied orange or citrus peel
140 ml (2/3 cup) cool melted butter or vegetable oil (melted butter recommended)
70 ml (1/3 cup) water or milk (milk recommended)
2 small eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
Heat oven at 175 C (340 F) and line a 8 cm by 20 cm (3 in by 8 in) loaf pan with baking parchment.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a big mixing bowl and stir with a whisk until the orange peel is no longer in clumps.
Add in all the wet ingredients and stir until there are no lumps and sugar is more or less dissolved. Be gentle and don’t overwork the batter.
Scrape batter into tin and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes or until cake starts to pull back from the tin and a thin pointy knife stuck into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.
Turn cake out onto a cooling rack and leave till cold before slicing. Slice and serve with tea.
How. Easy. Was. That?