In retrospect, Nuwan and I were very unprepared for moving to America. We thought of all the big things like the accents and driving on the other side of the road. But, we totally forgot that we were moving to a country that has a coffee shop around every corner. Tea is something that the “kooky” Brits do. Often-times coffee shops don’t even carry a tea menu. They hand you a cup of hot (not boiling) water and point you in the direction of some sad looking tea-bags.
In San Francisco we were running late to catch the Alcatraz ferry. Hungry and in search of breakfast we headed into the Alcatraz Cafe (never again) and ordered 2 cups of English Breakfast tea and croissants. They handed me the requisite cup of tepid water and I asked for the all important tea bag. Sadly there was no English breakfast or anything resembling black tea. When I went back to the counter and pointed out this fact, the ever so helpful server said
” There’s a Chinese Black Tea still available…it’s almost the same thing.” AHHHH!
Needless to say I skipped my tea that morning and came to accept that as an avid tea-drinker we are in the minority here.
In those first few months of home-sickness there was nothing we missed more than Dilmah. So when we happened to be browsing the isles of our local supermarkets and came across packs of Dilmah, we were elated!
It was hideously expensive but we had to have it. Now, if we have guests coming to see us, the first and only thing we ask for (except for copious amounts of Hunter Valley Semillion) is the extra large packs of Dilmah.
When my girlfriends came round to lunch this week, I decided to serve them a tea-flavoured cake. Since they’re both intolerant of wheat, this cake is gluten-free. It will work just as well if you substitute the rice-flour for regular plain flour.
- Melted butter, to grease
- Plain flour, to dust
- 195g (1 1/2 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
- 75g (1/2 cup) white rice flour, sifted
- 155g (1 1/2 cups) almond meal
- 3 eggs, lightly whisked
- 190g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
- 4-5 teaspoons of good loose leaf black tea
- Icing sugar, to dust
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line a small 6inch cake tin.
In a small pan combine butter and tea and place on a low heat.
When the butter is melted remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes (I left mine over-night with no adverse effects). When the butter has taken on some of the colour of the tea, pour through a fine sieve and leave butter to cool. I then re-added a tsp. of tea. You can leave out this bit if you want a smooth batter.
Combine the sugar, flour and almond meal in a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Add egg and infused butter. Stir until well combined.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Invert onto a serving tray and dust with lots of icing sugar.
Serve with a cup of Ceylon tea and some whipped cream to cut through the rich, dense cake. I added 4 tbsp. of golden syrup (substitute honey of maple syrup if you’re not in Australia) to a cup of cream and whipped till light and fluffy. It was the perfect accompaniment.