Bakers Journal

Bakers Formula: May 2017

April 24, 2017
By Kristin Atwood

Honey and Tea Cakes

This recipe comes to Bakers Journal from Kristin Atwood, a student in Durham College’s advanced baking and pastry arts program (see feature story in Bakers Journal, April 2017).

Atwood writes, “With spring here and sweet floral flavours at the forefront of our minds, these light and fluffy mini cakes are a perfect teatime treat.  Made with a black tea infused sponge and a silky French buttercream flavoured with golden honey, these bright little cakes are sure to lift anyone out of their winter blues.”

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 4 quality English breakfast tea bags (preferably with whole leaves)
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Honey Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup of good quality honey
  • 2 cups of butter, room temperature

Cake Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line the bottom of an 18-inch by 13-inch sheet pan with parchment, spray the bottom and sides of the pan with nonstick cooking spray, lightly coat with flour and set aside.
  2. Heat the cubed butter in a small pot over medium heat until just melted.  Remove from the heat and let two tea bags infuse into the butter for 5 minutes then remove the tea bags and discard.  The butter should smell of tea and be lightly tinted brown.
  3. Heat another small pot with the milk over medium heat just until steam begins to rise from the top.  Remove the milk from the heat and let two tea bags infuse for five minutes then remove the bags and discard. The milk should be caramel colour and smell of tea.
  4. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, pour in your butter, sugar and vanilla and whip on high for 10 minutes.  The bowl should feel cool to the touch and the mixture will appear light yellow in color and fluffy.
  5. On low speed, add in your eggs one at a time until incorporated then turn your mixer up to high for 5 minutes until the batter is very light and fluffy and all sugar grains should be dissolved.
  6. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt.
  7. On low speed, add in the flour mixture gently, in one addition and mix until just combined.
  8. Stream in the milk slowly ensuring that it is combined and does not split the mixture.  Immediately stop mixing once combined.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan and use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly.
  10. Bake for 15-17 minutes, the sponge should be a very light brown and springy to the touch.  Insert a tooth pick or cake tester and ensure that it comes out clean to be sure.  Set the cake aside to cool.

Honey Buttercream Preparation:

  1. In a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to whip up the six egg yolks on medium speed.  
  2. While the yolks are whisking, place your honey in a small pot on the stove over medium-high heat until the honey begins to bubble up aggressively and has reached 240F.  
  3. Turn the mixer down to low and stream in the hot honey slowly ensuring it incorporates well into the yolks.  Once all of the honey has been added turn your mixer up to high for 10 minutes or until the bowl is cool to the touch and the mix has become fluffy and light in colour.
  4. Leave the mixer on high and slowly add in chunks of butter piece by piece allowing it to become incorporated.  The goal is to create a fluffy emulsion.  If the buttercream looks like it is separated or lumpy, don’t worry, keep mixing and it will come together.  When finished, the buttercream will look light, creamy and pale yellow.

Using small or medium sized circular cookie cutters, cut out circles of cooled cake and place on a separate pan lined with parchment.  Use the honey buttercream to ice as desired. Serve as is or garnish with fresh edible flowers or a slice of honey comb.

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