Yes, I know. I have been totally useless at Blogging. Last year I had an excuse. This year I really don't. But maybe, just maybe I will get my act together and blog more regularly again.
Then what better subject to begin (again, again), than the fabulous Band of Bakers. This wonderful South East London baking club meets every couple of months to share cake and recipes and chat over a glass or 2 of wine.
But it's not just about the cake (okay, it is mostly about cake). It's about meeting lovely people, supporting local businesses and getting involved in the community. At Christmas we baked for 2 very good local causes and generally spread the baking love throughout South East London.
It is becoming the stuff of local legend, and it's a legend very much enjoy baking for.
So, a little bit of cake for you:
Tiny Earl Grey Cupcakes
For 'British Classics' Band of Bakers, March 2013
For the Earl Grey sponge:
8oz unsalted butter, softened
5 tea bags worth of Earl Grey tea
6 oz Caster sugar
6 oz Self raising flour
1tsp Baking powder
A splash of milk
Early Grey Butter cream*
Pre heat your oven, around 180 (adjust according to idiosyncrasies of your oven) and sort out your cupcake tray and cases.
The best way to get the tea taste, but avoid having bits of actual tea in your cakes, is to infuse your butter. Melt the butter over a low heat and stir in the tea. On a very low heat stir the tea and leave to infuse for a few minutes. Remove the heat. Strain the butter through a fine sieve, really press out as much as you can get - you should have around 6oz of butter (if you have any more, keep it for the icing later). Allow the butter to cool. You can use it liquid, or let it set a little.
Put all the rest of the cake ingredients in a bowl, add the cooled butter and mix with a wooden spoon or electric mixer till you get a nice smooth, thick batter.
If you are making tiny cakes, put a heaped teaspoon of batter into each case - they should be around two thirds full. Bake for around 10-12 minutes, keep an eye on them - when they are golden and springy to the touch they are done, whip them out, cool on a wire rack and repeat with remaining batter. This recipe gave me around 40 tiny cupcakes, so you can adjust ingredients for a smaller batch if you want less (as if you would you want less).
Once cooled, I used a half quantity of Dan Lepard's *Swiss Meringue butter-cream recipe from Short and Sweet, but used tea infused butter rather than plain unsalted. I sprinkled a tiny bit of gold edible glitter over them for a bit of lazy decoration. Et voila!
Looking forward to trying the tea infusion method with different teas. Rooibos? Lady Grey with extra orange perhaps? Not sure about husband's suggestion of Lapsang Suchong though...