Pai Mu Tan & Lemon Loaf Cake

We went road-tripping in California, hiked in the Faroe Islands, swam in Barcelona, and feasted in Paris. August kept us awake at night, got his first teeth, and took his first steps. I overcame my fear of nursing in public, my body healed, and I’m back into my favourite jeans. A year has passed since we got to hold our little monkey for the first time; we travelled, overcame our fears, returned home, and landed on our feet.

In the process my perception of ‘home’ has developed. It has extended beyond the four walls of our apartment as I feel at home whenever and wherever the three of us are together. Whether it’s in a car on the Pacific Highway, on the top of a rain-and-haze covered fell in the North Atlantic Ocean, or in a narrow alley in the Marais. And over the coming months we’ll take it to the streets of Vienna, Marrakesh, and Amsterdam. The World is our home.


But for a while home is here in Copenhagen, Denmark. So much has happened the past year I need to stand still for a moment to process the collage of feelings and impressions, in order to fully appreciate it all.

And for that purpose I came up with this cake.

‘Cause nothing says home quite like a good old loaf cake. Needless to say, though, I tweaked it a bit; Add a bit of luscious Pai Mu Tan tea, a pinch of cardamom, and a slice of lemon zest, and you have a dessert that looks like mundane loaf cake but taste like a whole lot more than just that. The beauty is in the detail; an unexpected symphony of spices that opens up even more if you dare to open your eyes and enjoy the beauty of the present moment.

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Notes: When baking store the ingredients at room temperature one hour prior to baking to ensure the batter doesn’t separate. Pai Mu Tan is a Chinese white tea with a delicate flowery taste. If you can’t find Pai Mu Tan at your local tea-pusher, look for it online or substitute with another white tea.

Pai Mu Tan & Lemon Loaf Cake

110 grams whole milk
3 teaspoons loose Pai Mu Tan tea leafs (or other white tea)
150 grams cane sugar
2 eggs
75 grams salted butter
150 grams all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Zest of half a lemon

75 grams powdered sugar
1 tablespoon + a few drops lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F.
  2. Place milk and loose tea leaves in a small pot, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let it steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain the the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Using the back of tablespoon press out the last liquid from the tea leaves. Set aside to cool until lukewarm.
  4. Grease a 1 litre loaf pan with butter.
  5. Beat cane sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl until white and foamy.
  6. Add in butter and beat until well incorporated (about 5 minutes). It’s important that the batter doesn’t separate at this point.
  7. In another bowl mix the dry ingredients; the flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest.
  8. Add the dry ingredients and the lukewarm liquid to the egg mixture.
  9. Mix just until flour and milk are incorporated.
  10. Transfer the batter into the loaf pan and let it bake at 175 C / 350 F for 30-35 minutes.
  11. While the cake is cooling make the glaze; mix powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add another few drops of lemon juice if the glaze is too thick. Spread all over the top of the cake and let it sit for one hour.
  12. Enjoy with a cuppa!

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