Secret Recipe Club time again! I had a lot of fun this month visiting the blog of Claire at Claire K Creations. There are many hints and travels to let you know that she live far south from me… as in Australia. And although I’ve never been, it is at the top of my short list (ok, really long list) for places I really want to go some day.
What I really loved about Claire’s blog, besides the freshness and fun, was the plethora of tea cake recipes and an entire section devoted to Afternoon Tea recipes. All I can say, is it must be the extreme amounts of my European ancestry (very prevalent on the English/German/Swiss side) that makes the idea of Afternoon Tea so intensely appealing to me.
I could spend a week just on all the tea cakes. In fact, I still have several bookmarked to make at my first opportunity. And if they are anything like this one I adapted a bit then I know they are going to be a hit!
Borrowed in homage to the other recipes I bookmarked, here is a little collage of Claire’s creations on my favorites list – (Left Column: Lemon Tea Cake (recipe this is adapted from), No-Bake Coconut Macadamia Biscuits, Berry Cute Melting Moments; Center Column: Condensed Milk Chocolate Chip Biscuits, Lemon Ginger Shortbread; Right Column: Berry Mango Roll-Ups, Harvest Pumpkin Bread, Paleo Chocolate Almond Truffles.
Back to the recipe I chose. I worked from the Lemon Tea Cake pictured above. When I think of tea cake though I think of little bite size morsels or basically everything. So that was where I started here. I have a 24-cup mini muffin pan so I decided that would be the perfect size (the original cake is baked in an approx. 8-inch round tin). The amount of batter ended up being perfect. The added bonus of baking these as mini tea cakes was the speed in which they were baked with being so tiny (the time was cut by about 1/3!).
I found some blood oranges last week and couldn’t resist. I also can’t ever resist adding a bit of vanilla to almost everything. These little cakes were originally one big lemon cake (see it in the collage). I just didn’t have any lemons on hand but really wanted to make this recipe.
In addition to switching out the lemon for some blood oranges (which incidentally were tagged as having been grown in Australia!), I added some vanilla bean paste to the cake. I also didn’t have any caster sugar (fine baker’s sugar which helps with the texture of baked goods) so I made my own fine (not quite powdered) sugar in the blender from some raw sugar. The rest of the ingredients stayed pretty much the same, but since the directions are miniaturized here I shared my version below. Should you decide you want to make one cake to slice as Claire did then you’ll want to go to the original recipe on her blog.
My first impression when I bit into one of these cakes that it was the most tender, flavorful and heavenly little cake I’ve had in a long time.
My second was that they were trouble – easy to make, fast to bake and infinitely edible. As in I could eat them all by myself! I didn’t… but it was a very close call. And I woke up the next day seriously sad that I was all out of citrus to make these again immediately.
Thanks Claire! This one is a real keeper!
Blood Orange Tea Cakes
Adapted from Claire K Creations Lemon Tea Cake
Cake Batter Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Zest from 1 blood orange (or small regular orange) (approximately 2 teaspoons) (NOTE: reserve the orange to add to the juice for the simple syrup below – prepare the syrup while the cakes are baking)
- 1/2 cup fine/caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
Blood Orange Simple Syrup Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup fresh blood orange or regular orange juice
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- Place the juice and sugar in a small saucepan.
- Bring it to a gentle boil and then allow it to simmer on low heat until the mixture is a thicker, syrup consistency and not watery (the bubbling surface will start to look a bit more opaque than glossy – don’t rush the process or turn the heat up and burn the syrup).
- It takes about 10 minutes to make the syrup. Remove it from the heat and set aside until the cakes are baked.
Tea Cake Directions:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin generously with baking spray with flour (alternately, butter and flour each cup or use paper liners). Set aside.
- In a small bowl with a hand mixer beat together the butter, orange zest, sugar, vanilla paste or extract and egg.
- On low speed add half of the self-rising flour, then all of the milk, then the remaining self-rising flour until just combined.
- Use a small scoop to distribute the batter evenly between the cups, about barely 2/3 full each or about 2 teaspoons of batter per cup.
- Bake the tea cakes for 10-12 minutes until puffed and just lightly golden. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack and allow the cakes to cool.
- Once the simple syrup (above) is ready, prick each cake (still in the pan) gently twice with a fork or a few times with a toothpick.
- Use a brush to brush a small amount of syrup on each cake, or use a small spoon to pour a small amount of syrup on each cake (only around a generous 1/4 teaspoon per cake)
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pan completely before removing to a platter and sprinkling generously with powdered sugar before serving.