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London Fog Tea Cake

yield: 1 (9-inch) square cake
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Ingredients

For the London Fog Tea Cake

  • 3 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 5 large eggs, divided into 5 egg yolks and 5 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided into 2 tablespoons and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons portions
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

For the Vanilla Whipped Cream Topping

    (makes enough to top a 9-inch cake)

    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
    • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • orange zest, to taste

    Instructions

    For the London Fog Tea Cake

    • Preheat the oven to 325 (F). Prepare a 9-inch square pan by spraying with cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper; spray the parchment paper with cooking spray as well.
    • Steep 2 Earl Grey tea bags in 3/4 cup boiling water. Allow to cool to room temperature completely. Remove the bags, squeezing out as much liquid as possible before discarding.
    • In a large bowl, whisk together 5 large egg yolks and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until thick and pale. Slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup vegetable oil and continue to whisk until completely incorporated. Pour in the cooled tea (from the 2nd step), tea leaves from the remaining bag of Earl Grey tea, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Sprinkle 1 1/3 cup cake flour and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder over the mixture, before using a rubber spatula to fold in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERMIX — at this point, it's okay to have one or two flour streaks left in the mixture. Set aside.
    • In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the remaining 5 egg whites on medium-high speed until the eggs begin to foam, before thickening and stiffening. Once the egg whites have started to stiffen, add the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar slowly, one teaspoon at a time, while still beating at medium-high speed. Continue beating until stiff, glossy and shiny peaks form — at this point, the mixture should have tripled in size. In this step, you're basically making a stiff meringue.
    • Once you've made a perfectly stiff meringue (see baker's notes for troubleshooting), turn off the mixer. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the flour mixture (from the 3rd step) in thirds. Pour the batter into the pan and lightly tap it on your counter top one or two times to remove any errant air bubbles.
    • Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until the top of the cake bounces back when gently poked and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and allow to cool completely in its pan.

    For the Vanilla Whipped Cream

    • In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, before transferring to the top of the cake and sprinkling with orange zest.

    Notes

    Adapted very, very, very slightly from Easy Gourmet