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.
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
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
- Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F.
- 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.
- 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.
- Grease a 1 litre loaf pan with butter.
- Beat cane sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl until white and foamy.
- Add in butter and beat until well incorporated (about 5 minutes). It’s important that the batter doesn’t separate at this point.
- In another bowl mix the dry ingredients; the flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest.
- Add the dry ingredients and the lukewarm liquid to the egg mixture.
- Mix just until flour and milk are incorporated.
- Transfer the batter into the loaf pan and let it bake at 175 C / 350 F for 30-35 minutes.
- 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.
- Enjoy with a cuppa!