Tea And Cake? Perfect

So the word is out. I like tea.

It shouldn’t really have come as a surprise, then, that I was contacted by the Campbell’s tea people, alerting me to the fact that they had recently won some Great Taste Awards and wondering if, perchance, I would like to give what they boldly title their “Perfect Tea” a whirl.

Alrighty, says I, you’re on.

Campbell's perfect tea

Campbell's perfect tea

I must admit that I was not familiar with Campbell’s, though I’m told that it’s been blended here in Ireland since 1797. It’s a loose leaf tea, which is very much a niche product in this, the era of the tea bag, and it brings with it a whole different approach to making a cuppa. There is an element of ritual to it. It demands that you slow down, allow the tea the proper time to brew, that you use cups and saucers, maybe even that you have cake. In fact, if you’ve gone to all that trouble, you should definitely have cake.

A spot of afternoon tea and cake

A spot of afternoon tea

So, I’ve been making some pots of leafy tea for myself over the past week and (when I manage to get the brewing formula right) it tastes like tea should taste. A nice old-fashioned cup of tea. It reminds me of my childhood and of visiting my Grandma as a kid on a Sunday after mass. I’ll still have my stash of Lyons or Barry’s tea bags within reach, but when I want to take some time over a nice afternoon cup of tea, I’ll make a cake like Nigella’s rosemary loaf cake, kick back and enjoy the Campbell’s.

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Nigella’s Rosemary Loaf Cake

I have been meaning to make this cake for about a year. So glad I finally got around to it, because it was just the thing to have with a nice cup of tea. The recipe is more or less as it appears in Nigella’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess book. She uses a mixture of self-raising and plain flour, but I’ve just specified plain flour plus baking powder here. And I’ve added a pinch of salt. I’ve learned that from Jenni. Nigella also specifies golden caster sugar, but you could use other brown sugar, white caster sugar or even regular sugar.

Rosemary Loaf Cake

You’ll need:
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary needles
  • approx 4 tblsp milk
  • 1-2 tblsp rosemary sugar or caster sugar for sprinkling on top
You’ll also need:
  • A loaf tin – 23 x 13 x 7cm – greased and lined
The Steps:
  • Preheat your oven to 170C, grease your tin and line with greaseproof paper.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • Cream the butter until very soft, then add the sugar and continuing creaming until pale and smooth.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, folding in a spoonful of the flour mixture after each addition, then add the vanilla.
  • Fold in the rest of the flour and then add the chopped rosemary.
  • Thin the batter with milk until you have a soft dropping consistency.
  • Pour into the tin and sprinkle with the additional rosemary sugar or caster sugar.
  • Cook for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Mine actually took more like 1 hour 20 minutes to cook.
  • Leave to cool in the tin, sitting on a wire rack, then remove from the tin and have a slice (or two) with a nice cup of tea. You could also follow Nigella’s suggestion and serve it along with some stewed apple.
The Variations:
  • I might add some lemon zest next time around. I felt like doing that this time, but thought I should get to know the original first.
  • Next time, I might use Jenni’s latest baking suggestion and replace the milk with some softly whipped cream for a more melty cake.
The Results:
  • One cake, which you may or may not feel like sharing with others.
Comments
  • Hooray for tea and cake! Do try the cream sub–it is amazing. Oh, and here’s my latest on salt: just over 1/4 teaspoon for cup of flour. Just in case you were wondering:)

    My secret code words for the day: “has hiatuses” Maybe that means I have a vacation coming up!

  • Is this the same Campbell’s that does all thr soups? Or is it a completely different company all together? Either way, tea and cake do go really well together. The cake looks deliciously moist. Mmmm…How could anyone not just one slice?

  • Oh this sounds so wonderful, tea and cake!! and rosemary! beautiful!

  • A spot of tea and a slice of Rosemary cake would make me a very happy girl! I love the Rosemary cake – how unique and delicious!

  • i love tea too! in fact, i have a little dream to open a tea shop at some point :) and when we have tea, we’ll have cake! this cake looks lovely. Nigella never lets us down.

  • I love tea too, Bewley’s is my favourite with Barry’s a close second. That rosemary cake is utterly fabulous isn’t it.

    Tea and cake has to be the most fabulous treat going.

  • Ah, one of my favourite subjects. I have what can only be described as a tea “fetish”. But it tends to center around the extensive list of varieties I pick up in Fortnum & Masons when I’m in London. I love their Earl Grey and the FTGFOP Darjeeling is amazing.

    However, I’m still waiting to find my perfect cup of “builders tea”, the dark malty stuff. I might give Campbells a crack. Do you know which shops stock the stuff?

  • I don’t like tea much but I love special teas like Twinings: English breakfast tea & herb teas.

    English, Irish with their love for tea & cake,…

  • I typically go for coffee, but I have to say I do enjoy a good cup of tea every now and then especially with a little milk in it. That cake recipe sounds wonderful. I love the use of what are considered more savory herbs with sweet treats.

  • I’m a coffee girl, but when cool days approach (as they already have – ugh!) I do have tea occasionally. Those on this side of the pond do really love their tea…some of my colleagues have a cup of tea on the hour. This rosemary cake intrigues…

  • I wouldn’t mind some at all…pass me some would you?

  • What a lovely post, Spud. I feel more relaxed for just having read it … and now I’m deeply in need of a cuppa myself. The rosemary loaf looks like the perfect compliment. Yum!

  • I always like to have something sweet with my tea and this cake is wonderful, I love the rosemary in it!

  • Jenni: or perhaps I am the one that has hiatuses coming up (and so I do – next week, in fact – tune in for the next episode and all will be revealed!)

    jenn: I don’t recall Andy Warhol having made any prints of campbell’s tea tins, I therefore conclude that there is no connection to campbell’s soups :) (actually, I’m pretty sure that this is the case)

    Jen: tea and cake were meant to be together

    [editor’s note: that’s quite a run of Jennifers I’ve got there…]

    Reeni: ever since I first came across the idea of rosemary in a cake, I’ve been intrigued by the idea and I loved the results

    diva: oh a tea and cake shop sounds like just the thing – I’ll be sure to visit!

    George: actually I remember reading your post from last year on making one of Nigella’s rosemary cakes – I knew I would have to make it sometime (just didn’t think it would take me quite so long to get there!)

    Toasted Special: apparently some of the larger Dunnes Stores stock it now, so you might find it there – or check in at their facebook page for info

    Sophie: oh yes, we love our tea and cake over here in this corner of Europe, that’s for sure

    Lori: the use of the rosemary now has me intrigued as to what other herbs might work in cakes…

    gastroanthropologist: I know all about having tea on the hour – I probably don’t drink quite that much myself, though some days it feels like I do!

    noble pig: sure thing :)

    Diva on a Diet: go on, break out some of your Barry’s tea and have a nice sit down and a cuppa!

    [editor’s note #2: several divas now too, hmm…]

    Natasha: it is lovely and especially so with a cup of tea

  • Yes, I noted the Jen Trifecta, myself! Do the Jens all get prizes now? ;)

  • My first cup of caffeine in the morning be best be coffee but after that I good cup of tea is the thing – not quite at the rate of one an hour but I hold up my end. I did not really appreciate the UK tea ritual until I worked in London and the team I managed had regular afternoon teas. I found it interesting that while there might be a bit of bickering about the project, everyone protective of his area, it was all set aside at tea, only to resume once the last drop was drained.

    This cake sounds delicious and the perfect compliment to a good tea. I’ll have to bring back some Campbell’s to have this afternoon tea in the way you envision it.

  • [Sigh]. I’ve had a hard enough time finding Barry’s but now you’ve gone and told us all about the ‘perfect tea’. What are my chances of finding this in Minnesota?

    At least the cake is do-able (but I can guarantee that I will not share! Oh, alright, maybe a slice for Mr. Noodle . . . )

  • Ooh how lovely to get to try “perfect” tea! I think this cake looks just gorgeous and would last one very quick afternoon tea around here if it always turns out this good – go Nigella :)

  • Jenni: I may just have to institute a triple-decker Jen prize – I will get back to you after due consideration of same…

    OysterCulture: I will freely admit to the fact that, more often than not, my first caffeine of the day is also coffee but, generally, after that, I’m tea all the way. We may have to do a tea exchange when you get here!

    Tangled Noodle: I hear that you can get Campbell’s tea in Texas but it is a frequently observed fact that Texas is not Minnesota. Maybe I should send you some?

    Lucy: Welcome & thanks for dropping in. Nigella does indeed score again with this cake – a definite winner :)

  • I have been traveling. So it’s nice to return home to some quite times with tea. “Perfect” would as they say hit the spot! So I’ll stop here and come back to your latest post when I am feel all put back together. GREG

  • Well Thumbs Up to Tea and cake! I love cake with choco cream…yummy…Its just one of the best combinations.

  • sippitysup: oh I hope you are feeling a bit more together now that your jaw has been released from its wires – I’ve also been travelling, so I’m due a major catch up on your posts too

    acai: welcome & thanks for popping in! tea and cake does indeed always get the thumbs up from me :)

  • […] Tea And Cake? Perfect […]

  • […] I discovered when I made Nigella’s rosemary loaf cake a while back, rosemary does not have to be confined to the savoury side of the house, so please […]

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