As mentioned in my previous post, I had gone on a vacation to Ooty. Ooty is mainly known for two things- it’s cold climate and it’s tea! Not to forget the yummy homemade chocolates. 😉 Because we went by car, we could thoroughly enjoy the weather and the scenic drive. It was indeed beautiful- the misty mountains, green tea estates and tall splendid trees!
And how can I not praise the tea? The priced possession of Ooty. They sell a variety of flavours including masala, chocolate, green…. and so on. The tea there is fantastic. There are many shops that sell tea and we stopped by one to taste and also to have a tour of the eucalyptus oil manufacturing unit. I had a sip of the chocolate tea and oh my god! It was delicious. I couldn’t help but grab a packet and head to the billing counter. 😀
Now getting back to the cake, I wanted to pay a tribute to Ooty for producing lovely tea and thus arrived at this cake. Since mother’s day is also around the corner, I thought of surprising my mom with an advance mother’s day cake. A few little tweaks to my tried and tested sponge cake recipe and here we have it! A chocolate and tea flavoured sponge with a swirl cream frosting. 🙂
Ingredients: (Yields 10-12 pieces)
- Dried tea leaves – 3 big teaspoons (I used chocolate tea for more flavour, you can use regular tea. But don’t use masala tea.)
- Hot water- 3/4 cup or 180 ml + 1 tablespoon sugar
- Soft unsalted butter- 120g
- Caster sugar- 1 cup or 220 grams
- Olive oil or sunflower oil- 2 teaspoons
- Eggs- 3
- Plain/ All purpose flour- 1 ½ cup or 188 grams; Sifted
- Chopped dark chocolate- 50- 60 grams
- Baking powder- 1 tablespoon
- Vanilla extract- 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt- a pinch
For Swirl Frosting–
- Whipping cream- 120 ml
- Dried tea leaves- 1 teaspoon
- Hot water- 1/2 cup or 120 ml
- Chopped Dark chocolate- 1/2 cup or 50 grams
- Sugar- 1 teaspoon
Preheat oven 180°C/ 350 F. Grease a 22 cm cake tin with butter and line the base with a disk of parchment paper. Take hot water in a glass and to it, add the dried tea. Stir this mixture and let it sit for 8-10 minutes. After about 10 minutes, strain the mixture keeping the liquid and discarding the solid. At this point, you can add a tablespoon of sugar to it.
(A little information– The purpose of using this method to flavour the cake is to maintain the subtle flavour of the tea. If you just grind the dried tea leaves and add it into the batter, upon baking, there will be a very bad aftertaste and will ruin the flavour of the cake. It is something which needs to be avoided at any point of time.)
Beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Pour in the oil and mix well. Beat in one egg at a time making sure each egg gets completely incorporated before adding the next. Add the strained tea mixture to it and gently fold.
To this, add the sifted flour little by little and fold the mixture gently. Mix in the chopped chocolate. Sift the baking powder with a pinch of salt. Finally add the vanilla extract and mix gently. Pour the cake batter into the lined cake tin and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, turn down the temperature to 160°C and bake for 14-16 minutes or until a skewer/toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake. Make sure you check in 2-3 places to ensure that it is fully cooked.
[Note– The temperature and baking time is for a fan- forced convection oven. The time may vary with climate and also from oven to oven.]
Let the cake cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes. Gently flip the cake onto a wire rack and allow it to cool for a further 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, peel off the parchment paper and let it cool completely. Trim the crispy edges, if present. Meanwhile, make the frosting.
For Swirl Frosting–
Similar to the sponge, pour the hot water into a glass, add the dried tea and allow it to sit for 6-8 minutes. In the meantime, whip your whipping cream till you reach peaks between soft and stiff. Cover with cling film and allow it to chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Strain the tea keeping the liquid. Heat the tea in a small, heavy bottom pan. Once it starts bubbling, add the chopped chocolate and sugar. Keep stirring constantly till the chocolate mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Stir it occasionally. After 15-20 minutes, you will observe that the chocolate mixture would have become nice and thick.
Flip the sponge and invert it onto the serving dish or cake stand (The side touching the base of the tin should now be on top). Remove the cream from the fridge, beat it slightly and smear it evenly on the top of the cake.
Drizzle the thick tea- chocolate mixture in a random circular motion. Using a fork, make swirls. Don’t over do the swirling as it may all get merged.
Serve. For storing, cut into slices, keep in airtight containers in the fridge up to a week. Make sure you remove the cakes in advance and allow it to come to room temperature before eating. Butter based cakes tend to get hard when kept in the fridge hence it needs to cool down completely to come back to it’s spongy texture.