The aroma we get from Earl Grey tea is primarily bergamot, a fragrant citrus fruit. These delicate little tea cakes have the colour of a cup of Earl Grey tea with milk, but then they are topped with a Meyer lemon frosting, another aromatic citrus fruit that complements the cake.
Makes 10 tea cakes.
Cook's Note:If you can’t locate Meyer lemon, use the zest and juice from an equal combination of lemon and tangerine.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a muffin tin with 10 paper liners.
Heat the milk with the tea on medium heat (do not boil) and then reduce the heat to medium-low and let the tea steep for about 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, squeezing them out well (or strain out the loose tea, if using) and add the chocolate to the pot, whisking over low heat until melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest by hand, using electric beaters or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, on medium-high speed until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition (don’t be concerned if the mixture does not appear smooth – it will smooth out once the flour and milk is added).
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half of the flour to the batter and beat in until combined and then add the tea milk and beat in. Add the remaining flour and continue to beat until smooth – the batter will be somewhat soft but silky. Divide this between the muffin cups and bake for about 18 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of a cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes completely in their tin on a cooling rack.
For the frosting, beat the butter and 1 cup (130 g) of the icing sugar using electric beaters or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Zest in 2 tsp (10 mL) of the Meyer lemon, then juice the lemon and add 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of the juice to the bowl as well as the vanilla and beat well. Add the remaining 1 cup (130 g) of icing sugar and beat on low to start, and increase to medium-high, beating for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Pipe or dollop the frosting onto each cake and finish with a sprinkling of decorator’s sugar and a little lemon jelly candy.
The tea cakes will keep, well-wrapped and at room temperature for up to 3 days.