rosefox: A cheerful chef made out of ginger. (baking)
Rose Fox ([personal profile] rosefox) wrote2012-11-01 06:12 pm

"Shouldn't you be baking?"

We're on day 4 of working from home, which makes me all fidgety. Today that meant baking a cake, based on this vegan gluten-free Earl Grey tea cake recipe. I don't have Earl Grey, but I do have lapsang souchong, and I think smoky + maple is one of the more awesome flavor combinations in the world (I sweeten lapsang tea with maple syrup), so I gave it a shot. My version produced what my mother would call a "noble failure", but I think it can still be modified to make a great cake.

Here's what I did (which was not entirely successful, so see below for future adjustments):

3.25 C all-purpose flour (for GF flour types and quantities, see original recipe)
1.5 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp sea salt

.67 C canola oil
1.5 C lapsang souchong (boil 1.5 C water, let sit 3 minutes, steep with 1 level tsp loose tea leaves for 5 minutes--brewed to drinking strength, in other words)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 C maple syrup

Mix dry, mix wet, add wet to dry, mix until just combined. Bake in parchment-lined loaf pan at 375F to internal temp of 212F.

Results and modifications:

* The original recipe calls for an 8.5" loaf pan. I filled mine and it looked ready to overflow, so I transferred the batter into my 9.25" pan to be on the safe side.

* It needed to bake for 1.5 hours, way longer than I was expecting--especially given that I used a larger pan than the one called for--and the top and bottom scorched a bit. I blame the guesswork of converting between wheat and GF flours. The batter also seemed quite wet to me. Possible ways to try to get around this:

-- use only one cup of tea (brewed with the same amount of tea leaves)
-- bake it at 350F forever for 2 hours or until thermometer says it's done
-- divide the batter between two smaller loaf pans
-- use a square or round cake pan

For the next iteration I'll probably break out my lovely 9" round springform pan. The batter could even be divided into two square or round pans, baked, and then layered with an appropriate filling; I'd suggest orange marmalade for the original Earl Grey recipe, or if you want to be really daring, a sea salt and black pepper vegan buttercream for the lapsang souchong version. (Has anyone tried the buttercream recipes in Quick and Easy Vegan Bake Sale or VCTOTW? I'm skeptical of anything that calls for shortening but would love to find one that really works, especially since I cannot find salt-free vegan butter anywhere.)

* Regardless of modifications, USE THE THERMOMETER. Going by my nose, I would have taken the cake out of the oven nearly half an hour before it was actually baked through. Going by the thermometer, the outside is slightly scorched (bah), but the middle is perfect.

* The cake is quite dense, almost heavy. I suspect the lapsang isn't as acidic as the Earl Grey, so I might change to 1 tsp baking powder and .5 tsp baking soda, and/or add a splash of cider vinegar.

* Once I get the burnt crust out of the way and dig into the middle of the cake, I can really taste both the maple and the lapsang! Delicious. I don't think it needs to be smokier, but you could go up to 1.5 tsp tea leaves (or one heaping teaspoon) if you want more intense flavor. It is quite sweet, but not cloying.

Time to buy more maple syrup and see if I can make a version that works!

[identity profile] avivasedai.livejournal.com 2012-11-01 11:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Hooray for baking!

Thank you for sharing your baking adventure. I am not nearly as daring with baking as I am with cooking, so I enjoy reading through your trial and error process, for both successes and learning experiences. *grin*

I hope your neighborhood is continuing to get better. I'm looking at all the pictures online and my heart hurts for the lengthy recovery process.

[identity profile] a4yroldfaerie.livejournal.com 2012-11-01 11:30 pm (UTC)(link)
I've used VCTOTW recipe and found it to be okay but not amazing. I actually use half shortening in my regular buttercream, so am not the best person to judge to based on that, but I find it to be a bit on the sweet and soft side, so it is good on cupcakes where a messy and smaller dollop works and worse on decorated cakes where there is more and I am pickier about consistency. I do find it to eb a good base for making a flavored vegan frosting though.