You should know one thing about the Turks: We are crazy for tea, or what we call “çay”! Turkey’s Black Sea region has one of the high tea production capacities in the world and we are in the top list of the nations which consume most tea per capita.
We love coffee, and enjoy Turkish coffee most every day but tea… the brown-reddish color drink in tiny glasses that warms up our souls, clears our throats, and quenches the thirst. Even on the hot summer days, tea kettle is put on the stove for breakfast, again in the afternoon, and then after dinner. When you walk into a mom-and-pops type of store, you are always offered tea even if you are there for a minute to get your shopping done:”Please have a glass of our tea!”
This is another classic from the “ladies get-togethers” of my mom and my grandma. Since tea was always steeping in our house, maybe this was a way to use up the last dark, bitter portion of tea left in the kettle. You know, old generations hate to waste anything. Or maybe, someone just could not get enough of tea, it had to be in their cake as well!
We use regular loose leaf black tea from the Black Sea region of Turkey, and add a pinch of Earl Grey tea to give the bergamot taste and steep it in the stacked kettles. But with an Earl Grey teabag, this cake became much easier. One good thing about this cake… It is not the typical tooth dropping sweet,fluffy, frosted cake. It is dense, smells like bergamot orange and has caffeine integrated in its DNA already. Add dark cocoa, and you get a deep chocolate flavor as well. It is kind of a “manly” cake if I may say so. We also made it with just cinnamon and walnut minus the dark cocoa. With that option, the cake has a great light brown hue.
To intensify the orange flavor, also zest from one orange can be added to the batter. Especially if you do not have Early Grey at hand and want to make the cake with regular black tea.
Please have a glass of our tea…and a slice of our cake!
Early Grey Black Tea
- 1 teabag of Earl Grey black tea
- 1 cup of hot water
- 3 large eggs
- 1-1/2 cups of sugar
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2-1/4 cups of cake flour (I use King Arthur brand)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup Hersey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 cups of chopped hazelnuts
- Zest from one orange (optional)
1. Steep the teabag in 1 cup of hot water for 15-20 minutes.
2. Beat eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl until all blend well.
3. Discard the teabag. Add cooled black tea and butter, continue beating until everything is well combined.
4. Add cake flour, baking powder and cocoa. Stir until all well blended.
5. Stir the chopped hazelnuts. Pour the batter in a bundt pan or 9-inch cake pan.
6. Bake at 350-degrees for 45 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes clean. (Do not preheat the oven.)