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springtime chamomile tea cake with strawberry icing

 Good grief, Easter is in the rear view mirror and we are deep into this new year.  And once again it's tea time at my house.  This chamomile tea cake is a beautiful sweet addition to any tea ritual, especially my favorite, chamomile tea, which I rediscovered in my hotel room in Carmel earlier this fast moving year.  I highly recommend a slice of chamomile tea cake with strawberry 🍓 icing with a cup of chamomile tea to just take a moment and slow this year down.  Baking with tea is both creative and fun.  Earlier this year I made Earl Gray sugar cookies which are made using the same method of infusing the butter with loose tea.  For my tea cake I also rubbed the lemon zest into the sugar -another way to lend a pop of citrus to your baking.

The strawberry icing is made using freeze dried strawberries, I pulverize them in my spice mill and then they are pressed through a fine sieve into the confectioner's sugar.  In addition to using lemon zest rubbed into the sugar for the cake, the juice of the lemon is whisked into the icing.  Lots of flavors going on here, plus it's pretty in pink.

Ingredients and Recipe for Chamomile Tea Cake with Strawberry Icing
Makes one 9-inch Loaf

Tea Cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 chamomile tea bags, I used Celestial Herbal Tea
1 cup whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 large lemon, zested and juiced, I used a Meyer lemon, set aside juice for the icing
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1&1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries, blended in spice mill, will be sieved over confectioner's sugar in a bowl for icing.
Lemon juice as needed

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, stir in half the chamomile, pour into a large mixing bowl-let mixture steep and cool for at least 30 minutes.  Heat the milk in the same small saucepan and add the remaining half of the chamomile-let steep and cool for at least 30 minutes.  Place the granulated sugar into a bowl and rub in the lemon zest.

Preheat the oven to 350F
Spray a 9-inch non stick loaf pan with baking spray.

Add the sugar with the zest and the sea salt to the butter, whisk until thick and smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine.
Whisk in the baking powder and the vanilla.  Stir in the flour with a rubber spatula.
Whisk in the milk with the chamomile until combined and no streaks of flour remain.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until cake is browned and cake tester comes away clean.
Cool in the pan on a metal rack for about 5-10 minutes, then turn out cake onto rack, continue cooling.
Make the icing:  Place the confectioner's sugar into a bowl and whisk in the sieved strawberries.  Whisk in the lemon juice, starting with about 2 tablespoons, adding additional if needed to make icing spreadable.
Place the slightly warm cake on a plate and spread the icing over the top, it will drip down the sides.
Let the icing set before serving.


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