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Earl Grey Honey Cake with Passion Fruit Curd and Toasted Italian Meringue



These mini Earl Grey Honey Cake with Passion Fruit Curd and Toasted Italian Meringue are perfect for an afternoon party to feed  your guests! They are bursting with fruity freshness with a subtle citrus tone, not to mention the cake’s melt-in-your-mouth soft texture.



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The background story of this creation can be traced to the madeira cake I made at school at the beginning of this term. Medeira cake is a simple citrus cake served with tea or sweet wine; it has a golden brown surface and light yellow interior, and is characterised by its close crumb structure because of its specific making method. I loved this cake when I first tried it because it got the texture that I liked and it’s so simple yet delicious. Yet, this time for my own creation, I, of course, changed things up a bit with some additional elements to make the cake interesting.

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To pair with the sweet, citrus taste from the earl grey honey cake, I decided to use passion fruit curd and some toasted meringue. I have eaten passion fruit desserts before outside but It’s actually my first time to buy passion fruit in my life (I know right..). And I realised I’d been missing out such a great fruit! The moment I cut it open, the fragrance coming out from it was just heavenly and I could instantly well imagine how good it would taste with some greek yogurt and honey for breakfast.

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Also, I also grasped today’s free time to practise tempering chocolate. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but tempering chocolate gives me a headache most of the time and sometimes it gets really frustrating. Luckily, today I did manage to temper chocolate and make some simple decoration successfully. I will need to temper chocolate again the coming week and I hope today’s experience is gonna give me more confidence. Anyway, I hope that you all like this recipe and have a fruitful week ahead of you! (pun intended)


Ingredients (makes around 15 mini cakes) :

Earl Grey Honey Cake

  • 180g cake flour
  • 100g corn flour
  • 80g almond meal
  • 4 earl grey tea bags, loose leaves of
  • 5g baking powder
  • Salt, pinch of
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g honey
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of
  • 3 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 50g sour cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod

Passion fruit curd 

Italian Meringue

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 60ml water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2  tsp vanilla

Instructions:

Earl Grey Honey Cake 

  1. Boil milk, 2 bags of earl grey loose leaves, and vanilla beans in a pot. Let it infused until ready to use.  
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest in the last minute of mixing.
  3. Add eggs SLOWLY until all incorporated (only add more eggs until they are fully incorporated or you’d risk curdling the mixture; also, mind that the eggs should be at room temperature/slightly warm to achieve the best result)
  4. While the eggs are mixing, prepare and sift your dry ingredients (i.e. cake flour, almond meal, 2 bags of earl grey loose leaves, baking powder, and salt). Gently fold in dry ingredients into the butter mix until just incorporated (don’t over mix)
  5. Slowly add earl grey-infused milk, lemon juice and sour cream. Mix until just incorporated.
  6. Put the batter into a piping bag and pipe evenly into silicon mould. Tap the mould to release air bubbles. Bake at 180C for 25-30 mins until golden brown. Let cool. 

Passion fruit curd 

  1. Dissolve gelatin in hot water and add to the passion fruit curd while it’s still warm.
  2. Mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until they start to set*

*They set pretty fast so please be ready to pipe when they reach the ideal consistency.

Italian Meringue

  1. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and do NOT stir. Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed.
  2. When the sugar reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites (pour the hot syrup on the side of the mixing bowl to avoid cooking the egg whites). Turn the mixer to high speed and continue beating for about 5-7 mins, until the meringue is cooled down to 50C and glossy stiff peaks have formed.

P.S When you assemble the cakes, you should first pipe the meringue AND toast them, before you pipe the passion fruit curd to avoid melting the curd.

 Yum




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Earl Grey Honey Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake decorated with fresh figs

Confession: I have a long love affair with earl grey-infused desserts. This cake is the result of my attempt to give into this love, while also going against the grain by NOT creating one of the obvious fall season treats that are already flooding the food world at the moment (let’s see when I will fail) :p. As with anything tea based, the key to making the flavour work is a reverence for the brewing process. Your focus should be on drawing out the full-bodied flavour that lies within. And being a British tea, this choice of flavour can make for the perfect afternoon drink, as well as the ideal naughty snack.

Earl Grey Honey Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake decorated with fresh figs

As for the cake itself – with its own inherent citrus undertones, the Earl Grey in this cake is ideally accentuated with the addition of fresh lemon juice and zest. On the other hand, throwing in cream cheese is a new idea, as the taste of the first version of this cake was lacking vibrancy, something which I reckon a great cheesecake should possess. When this is then mixed with mascarpone cheese, you get a superbly rounded flavour packing creamy sweetness and multiple layers of sourness. But that’s not all. Did I forget to mention the finishing touch of fresh figs and drizzles of extra honey on top? All this together, well, it’s a rich, vibrant kick of elegant floral flavour in every bite.

Fresh figs atop an Earl Grey Honey Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake

In terms of process, just like other cheesecakes, this cake requires a water bath while baking to prevent the cake’s surface from cracking from the heat. Also, it has to be baked at a lower temperature to allow for even heat distribution. This is not a short bake and, I know, I hate to wait just as much as every baker does. But again, patience is the key to everything. How about watching your favourite show on Netflix as you wait? Hope you will enjoy this recipe :)!

A fresh baked Earl Grey Honey Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 500g mascarpone cheese
  • 125g cream cheese
  • 120g good quality honey
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest of
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 450ml whole milk
  • 5 earl grey bag loose leaves
  • 4tbsp cake flour (sifted)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the base:

  • 220g graham biscuit
  • 80g melted butter

Toppings:

  • 2-3 medium sized figs
  • honey

Instructions:

For the base:

  1. Line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Ground the graham biscuit into a semi-fine texture with some crunch left using a food processor or blender. Add the melted butter and mix well.
  3. Evenly distribute the mixture across the bottom of the pan, before pressing it with a spoon until a firm and even based is formed.

For the filling:

  1. Preheat the oven at 320F (160C)
  2. Add milk and earl grey tea leaves into a saucepan, bring the mixture to boil and mix well. Turn off the heat and let the flavours develop as it cools and then set aside.
  3. Add mascarpone cheese, cream cheese and honey to a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix the ingredients on a medium speed until evenly blended and smooth.
  4. One at a time, add eggs to the cheese mixture, mixing at a medium speed until all five are well incorporated.
  5. Add salt, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, and the cooled earl grey milk to the mixture and incorporate gently using a spatula.
  6. Finally, sift in cake flour and mix well. Take care not to over mix – the texture should be smooth.
  7. Pour the completed batter over the base in the pre-prepared cake tin.
  8. Bake the cake in a water bath (e.g. a larger pan with hot water inside) at 320F (160C) for 20 mins. Then lower the temperature to 240F (120C) and bake for 90 mins more. When time is up, open the door slightly to let the cake gradually cool down in the oven.
  9. Once cooled, refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  10. Lastly, decorate the cake with fresh figs and honey. Enjoy!
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