A rich, moist tea loaf, packed with dried fruit and flavoured with citrus and earl grey. The perfect treat for Mum on Mother’s Day.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day here in England. Have you got anything special planned for your Mum? Last week Debenhams got in touch to ask what my Mum taught me; straight away I thought of the kitchen.
I’ve talked before about how my love of baking began in the kitchen with my Mum.
Using the same bowls and electric beaters I still use today, I stood at my Mum’s side and helped make fairy cakes, biscuits, sausage rolls. With Mum I learnt to crack eggs. She wordlessly suffered through many egg shelly batters before I got the hang of it. I learnt how to roll out pastry and biscuit dough, turing the dough and the rolling pin, creating an even layer. She taught me how to make sponge cakes, adding the eggs and the flour a little at a time to prevent the mixture separating. It is this sponge cake recipe that I still use today in a huge amount of my recipes, changing the flavours, adjusting the fillings and frostings, but still using the same ratios, the same method. My hands have measured, creamed, beaten and folded so many times they could probably make the cakes all by themselves.
The basics of baking so entrenched I feel like I’ve never learnt it, its always been a part of me. For this, I will always be grateful.
Mother’s Day is, of course, a day to treat Mum. To make her feel special, remind her that, even though we might not say it enough, even if she is the person that bares the brunt of our bad moods, and emotional outbursts, we love her and we appreciate everything she does for us.
Being a persistent early riser, we never really managed to bring my Mum breakfast in bed when we were small. A hot drink in bed was about as much as we managed. I remember cups of tea carried up the stairs, hot liquid sloshed out all over the carpet, a dribble of tea staining every step. Lumpy, wonky art projects, learnt from Blue Peter, presented with the tea cup. Carefully made, loudly and obnoxiously heeding the warning to send your Mum out of the room while they showed you how to make it, just to make sure Mum didn’t see. I remember one year constructing a miniature umbrella made from pipe cleaners. To this day I have no idea why any mother would want this gift, or what on earth they were supposed to do with it!
These days my Mother’s Day offerings have changed a little, but I still like to make a little something for my Mum. This year I’m making her this Earl Grey Tea Loaf. A little memory of those cups of tea, lovingly spilt all over the stairs. Its just the sort of thing I know she’d love to tuck into on Sunday morning. I’ll serve it toasted, with lots of butter and jam, and a hot cup of tea on the side. Earl Grey is my Mum’s current tea of choice, and the subtle flavours work beautifully in this loaf.
Its would also be lovely as part of a brunch, or served up alongside little sandwiches and mini cakes for an afternoon tea. If you’re feeding a crowd, a four slice toaster, like this one from Morphy Richards at Debenhams, is perfect for getting lots of slices warm to the table, ready to be covered in deliciously melting butter. There’s just something so wonderfully homely and comforting about pools of gleaming yellow melting butter. The perfect thing to go with a big hug from Mum.
Its packed full of dried fruit, steeped in the tea to make it extra juicy, and the loaf especially moist. I’ve added in some walnuts for crunch. With only 60g of sugar in the loaf its sweet, but not overly so. The zest of an orange lifts the flavours, bringing out the citrus notes of the Earl Grey. Its delicious eaten freshly sliced from the loaf, but I love it lightly toasted and warm too.
If you’re still not sure what to get your Mum for Mother’s Day, the Debenhams Mother’s Day page is full of ideas from flowers to gift experiences, jewellery to chocolate. Its not too late to order for delivery tomorrow if you’re quick! Personally I love the treat your mum at home collection. Lots of lovely treats to spoil your Mum with a homemade afternoon tea, spa day, or breakfast in bed.
– recipe adapted (slightly) from Ruby Tandoh.
– if you don’t have earl grey tea to hand, or you don’t fancy it, just use any black tea.
*Debenhams sent me the toaster and kettle from their Morphy Richards range. All opinions are my own.
- 275g mixed dried fruit
- 300ml strong black tea, preferably Earl Grey
- 60g soft light brown sugar
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 large eggs
- 275g plain flour
- 2½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
- Brew 300ml of strong early grey tea. I steeped two earl grey tea bags for about 10 minutes in boiling water.
- Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 170C / 150C fan/ 335F.
- Put the dried fruit and strong tea into a pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer for one minute. Take off the heat and stir in the sugar. Leave for about 10 minutes to cool, then add the eggs and orange zest.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir through the chopped walnuts.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.
- Pour into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until well risen, golden brown on top, and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.