This is a tale of procrastination, an unfortunately reoccurring theme of this blog and my life, apparently. I’ll talk about this cake, which is the supposed focus of this small chasm of the internet that I occupy. Here’s the rundown: this is a ricotta and olive oil cake infused with earl grey tea. Hence it is a literal tea cake. There is a mascarpone icing with orange, as I thought that orange would work well with the citrus-y character of earl grey (I was right). It was a tasty cake and I worked hard to make it somewhat aesthetically pleasing. I’ll try to describe the flavors and textures to you, but these may be somewhat inaccurate. You see, I made this cake almost a year ago.
The saga of this cake spans longer than a year, however. The conception of this recipe came probably two or three years ago, for no other reason than that I was browsing Instagram rather than studying, felt inspired, and decided that I wanted to make a pretty cake with floral tones and other hipster stuff. I finally went and baked it a year ago during finals week, because I did not want to prepare for my finals and baking felt falsely productive. I took quite a few photos and was pleased, though I have gone back multiple times over the months and re-edited them with my continuously changing editing style, yet never posting anything. Never once did I really sit down to actually, well, write the recipe, or the extraneous words I tend to attach to said recipes. This actualized procrastination baking recipe has been sitting in procrastination writing development hell.
I’ve always tried to be candid in my writing here, and clearly I am somewhat out of ***** to give, as I am now fully indulging in that overly personal writing that I so often loathe on other “recipe” posts.
I’ve taken to journaling recently. Or rather, owning a journal in which I can write as a crutch during personal ~crises~. You know, rather than actually dealing with stuff.
It’s a strangely profound tool, being able to make your garbled thought loops into something concrete. I almost feel like I’m cheating when I do so. Cheating and procrastinating through life. Can you tell I’m currently in the middle of the semester?
Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize that the only way I will be prolific in anything is if I am doing that something as a way of avoiding some other responsibility or emotion I don’t feel like confronting.
So here we are. A cake that starts, ends, and will live posthumously as a physical manifestation of my own laziness. And now, I can justify these completely unnecessary words as a form of journaling, letting these thoughts escape my brain a little.
To keep this at least a little food-focused, I’ll say that this cake is moist if you don’t over-bake it (which I seem to recall that I did). The mascarpone icing is probably the best part – I may or may not have spooned a good chunk of it directly into my mouth. Please do not spend your money on edible flowers. I used them purely for aesthetic. They do not taste good. Flowers do not taste good.
Early Grey Tea Cake
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup ricotta
½ cup milk
½ cup olive oil
3 bags of earl grey tea, divided
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Orange Mascarpone Icing (recipe below)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer. Take off the heat, add in one tea bag, and let sit for 5 minutes. Take out the tea bag and put the milk in the fridge to cool for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brewed milk, ricotta, olive oil, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add in the ground tea leaves and give it a quick stir. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, adding about a third of the dry in at a time and whisking until incorporated. Make sure to whisk just until most of the lumps are gone.
Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch springform cake pan. Tap the pan a few times onto the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. (at 48 minutes, mine was a little too dry)
Let the cake cool for half an hour before icing. Spread an even layer of orange mascarpone icing over the cake.
Orange Mascarpone Icing
1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoons milk
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon orange zest
Juice of half an orange
2 teaspoons orange liquor
Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowls, and whisk together until light and fluffy.