While Darjeeling is a strong black tea, in this cake its flavor is muted so that it enhances the deep chocolate flavor. Sift the cake flour after measuring, not before, to achieve moist, tender results.
2/3 cup boiling water
6 tablespoons loose Darjeeling tea
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 large egg whites
1 large egg
1/2 cup boiling water
5 tablespoons loose Darjeeling tea
2/3 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350º.
To prepare cake, coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; set aside.
Pour 2/3 cup boiling water over 6 tablespoons tea leaves in a bowl; steep 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl; cool to room temperature.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Combine 2/3 cup cocoa and 2/3 cup boiling water, stirring with a whisk. Cool in freezer 10 minutes, and stir in brewed tea, yogurt, and vanilla.
Place granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg whites and egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and brewed tea mixture alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared cake pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Carefully remove and discard wax paper. Cool completely on wire rack.
To prepare icing, pour 1/2 cup boiling water over 5 tablespoons tea leaves in a bowl; steep 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl; cool to room temperature. Place cream cheese in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy (about 1 minute). Sift together powdered sugar and 1/2 cup cocoa. Gradually add cocoa mixture and 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons brewed tea to cream cheese. Beat just until smooth. (Do not overbeat or icing will be too thin.) Discard any remaining tea.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup icing. Top with another cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with hazelnuts. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.
I made this for my son's 11th bday in August. My entire family proclaimed it to be the best chocolate cake I'd ever made. My daughter has now requested it for her birthday tomorrow. This will always be my go-to cake; I have now stocked up on Darjeeling, which can be hit-and-miss in the grocery stores. Yum!
This was a very tasty chocolate cake, however I did not get any hint of tea flavor. For the amount of time and work this cake required I would have liked to taste the tea more. I may or may not make it again.
I've been meaning to make this cake since I first received it in the 2003 issue. My only regret is that I didn't manage to make it sooner. There are a few extra steps involved with making the cake, but -- if you know how to make a cup of tea -- you'll find the extra steps aren't asking too much of you. I only made three substitutions in this recipe: 1) I couldn't find loose darjeeling, so I used bagged tea instead and just assumed that there was about 1Tbsp per bag. Leaving the tea in the bag did eliminate the straining through a sieve step, so that was nice. Just be sure to squeeze all the water out of the tea bags so you get all the tea flavor. 2) I only had Dutch process cocoa, so I had to use that in place of normal cocoa. 3) I used egg beaters and a whole egg instead of the recommended 2 egg whites and a whole egg. I agree with another reviewer that you should definitely NOT skip the hazelnuts. They add far more flavor than you might think. Overall, the cake had excellent texture, the frosting was super-decadent and plentiful, and you could even taste the tea if you ate your slice slowly enough.
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