01 October 2012

Cooking with Tea

Now I will be the first to admit that I'm not altogether behind the idea of cooking with tea. Oh, I find it all fascinating and get very excited every time I stumble across a recipe, but I've really never had much success with it all. I would love to tea smoke a fish or tea poach a chicken, but the flavours never seem to come out properly.

Baking, on the other hand, is a hobby I spend far too much time indulging in. Tea and sweets seem made to go together. I've had varying degrees of success when trying to incorporate tea right into my baking, and I will share some of these with you at a later date. However, I thought today I would share with you a little something is a little easier, a lot more foolproof, and tastes enough like tea that you won't mind it's really tea free!

Chai Cupcakes

1 cup self-raising flour
2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
125g butter (at room temperature)
2/3 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 180. Prepare some muffin tins by lining with pattipans (or if you are very lucky, someone will have given you a delightful set of tea cupcake moulds).
Beat the butter and brown sugar until pale and creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, while beating.
Add the spices and 1/2 a cup of flour. Mix this all together, then add 1/3 cup of buttermilk and mix again. Add the rest of the flour, mix, and then the rest of the buttermilk to finish the batter off.
Fill the muffin tins with the batter, about 3/4 full.
Bake in the pre-heated oven until a skewer comes out clean. This should take between 15-18 minutes, depending on your oven. Don't forget to rotate the tins half way through!

Eat them while still warm, or if you can resist the temptation, let them cool and dust with cinnamon. I like to ice them with a light honey buttercream, but they are especially decadent topped with a chocolate ganache.

Side note: For those simply desperate to incorporate tea into this recipe, may I suggest infusing the buttermilk with an Assam. I would say 3-4 teaspoons for this recipe, in about 3/4 a cup of buttermilk to yield the correct amount. Heat gently and infuse for around 5 minutes.