Tea cake is classic. It’s light enough to enjoy with a cup of tea of coffee during your afternoon break and special enough to cut a slice and pop it in your loved one’s lunchbox and send them off to work.
The trick is soaking the sultanas in boiling hot tea. They soak up all that beautiful flavour and become all plump and juicy and delightfully delish.
I’ve decided to bake mine in a loaf tin because occasionally when nobody is looking, I like to cut a thick slice and smear it will naughty butter and eat it in secret. However you, being the more normal of the two of us, will probably like to bake it in a round springform pan or something like that.
Here is the recipe. It’s all over the place and measurements are very approximate. I was never good with measurements.
1 cup sultanas
8 oz of unsalted butter, room temperature (this works out to about 3/4 of the block you buy the unsalted butter in)
1 cup caster sugar or other fine sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2-3 eggs. You decide.
2 1/2 cups S.R flour
2 black tea or Earl Grey teabags
Pinch of salt. Not sure why, just do it.
1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. In a heatproof bowl, pour in one cup of boiling water. Add two teabags, soak for three minutes and stir.
2. Add sultanas to tea and allow to soak for about an hour if time permits. It not, ten minutes will do. Remove them from the tea, drain and allow them to dry on a flat surface.
3. In a large bowl, use your special power blender thingy to cream the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla essence, then the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between each egg.
4. Add the flour and salt to the sultanas. Toss them around so the sultanas are coated well. This will stop them from sinking straight to the bottom of the mixture.
5. Mix flour mix with butter and egg mix. Stir until well combined.
6. Pour your batter into a greased loaf pan lined with baking paper. Make sure the baking paper extends over the edges- this will help you lift out the cake later. (I separated my batter between two loaf pans because I felt they were overly full).
7. Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on your oven. The cake is ready when it is a lovely golden colour and when you poke a skewer through the middle, it comes out clean.
8. Leave it to cool in its tin before lifting it out. Don’t even attempt to move it or slice while still hot, it is extremely delicate.
This cake will store well in an airtight container for a few days after baking.