This is a nice simple teacake that you can make with spiced black tea. That’s right: it has spiced black tea in it. The recipe originates with the Bigelow tea people who make Constant Comment, a black tea blend with citrus and spices, but you can use your favorite chai instead, if you aren’t in the mood for Constant Comment. I have only used it with Constant Comment, Constant Comment decaf (more on this in a minute), and my favorite chai which is Stash tea’s black chai blend. (Stash has a boggling array chai blends; I can’t vouch for any except the Black Tea Chai, not having tried the others.)
I got the recipe for this teacake from the inside of the Constant Comment box many years ago. You can get it online on the Constant Comment site. The version on the website varies slightly from the way I make it. For one thing, I use margarine instead of butter.
Also, there’s a difference in technique: it says to submerge the teabags in the milk in a saucepan and heat it up to almost boiling. In my smallest saucepan, the teabags aren’t submerged and I’m not sure how easy it would be to get 5 teabags submerged in any saucepan with so little liquid.
What I’ve done in the past is to heat the milk, then pour it into a glass measuring cup, which is tapered so that the bottom is narrower than the top and I then steep the teabags in the already heated milk until it is cool, then wring them out as directed.
Aside from the problem with the teabags not being submerged, the other thing you need to watch out for if you put the teabags in the sauce pan is keeping the paper tags off the burner where it might catch fire, or at least singe. (I have an electric stove.) Since it takes just a moment or two for the small amount of milk to heat up, you can just hold onto the tags above the pot. When mixing the batter, I don’t use a whisk: I just briefly increase the speed of the mixer. Whether on not this works for you depends on your mixer.
I test for doneness using a toothpick in the center, rather than the spring-to-touch test. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s done. It takes slightly longer to cook in my oven than the time stated in the recipe.
The only other note I have is that when I made this with Constant Comment Decaf, the flavor seemed milder to me, so when using the decaf, I use 7 teabags instead of 5. (And good luck with submerging that many!)
This is one of those recipes I can make any time because I usually have the ingredients on hand. (If not Constant Comment, then some chai…I always have some type of spiced black tea on hand.) It needs to be started well in advance of when you want to serve it, however. The eggs need to be room temperature. The heated milk needs to cool before being added to the mixer and it’s recommended that the teacake cool completely before serving, also. It may take slightly longer to bake, depending on your oven. (40 minutes in mine.)
So, my order of doing things goes something like this: take eggs out of the fridge; when the eggs are at room temp, turn on oven, then get out teabags, heat milk and add teabags to milk. When the milk is hot decant the whole thing into a narrow deep cup to cool. While it’s cooling: get out all the other ingredients, grease and flour the pan, cream the sugar and margarine. Etc.
This is a perfect teacake. Serve with a strong plain black tea. (There’s enough spice in the cake.)