If there ever was to be a tale about this cake it would involve a countryside cottage where you’d be locked inside, escaping a storm. Winds would blow, trees would block roads, candles would bring the only light. Of course, there’d be a wood-fired oven. And cake would be made. A simple loaf cake. Light and deeply perfumed with citrus. And with a generous amount of crème fraîche to keep it moist for days.
In France, we simply call loaf cakes ‘cake’, or ‘kek’. Whenever cream is added to the batter it becomes a ‘weekend cake’, with the underlying meaning being that it’ll last over the weekend, making it the perfect getaway food. Sometimes I’ve even found it labelled in shops as ‘cake de voyages’. Who knew a loaf cake could be so poetic?
Makes: One loaf cake
- 1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 200g plain flour
- 1 orange, zested, (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 150g creme fraîche (or double cream)
- 50g butter, melted
- softened butter, extra for piping
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and flour a one-litre loaf tin.
Finely blend the loose Earl Grey tea leaves with around 50g of the caster sugar until powdery. Place in a bowl along with the eggs and the remaining caster sugar and whisk for around 4 minutes, until light in colour. Mix the flour and baking powder in another bowl.
Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, then pour a little of this into the crème fraîche (or cream, if using) and melted butter in a separate bowl and mix well. Transfer back to the main batter mix and fold in gently using a spatula. Pour into the prepared tin.
Put the extra softened butter into a piping bag and cut a very small hole, around 4mm wide, then pipe a line of the butter across the cake. Bake for five minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 170°C for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature again to 160°C and bake for a further 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 10–20 minutes, then turn out and set aside. If you’re not planning to eat it right away, wrap tightly in cling wrap and store in the fridge for up to four days.
Serve slices of the cake topped with a dollop of crème fraîche or cream.
Recipe taken from Paris Pastry Club by Fanny Zanotti
In Paris Pastry Club Fanny Zanotti shares her favourite sweet (and a few savoury) recipes – a combination of family classics as well as her own creations, perfected in between blogging and working as a successful pastry chef. Indulge in Fanny’s wonderful food memories from her childhood in France by recreating her grandma’s Spicy almond nougatine, her mama’s melt-in-the-mouth orange and yoghurt cake, and Friday-night crêpes straight from her papa’s crêperie. Fanny’s own recipes feature a range of sweets, like the Earl Grey tea weekend loaf – essential for rainy Saturdays, to a comforting one-bowl tiramisu, and the almost-instant chocolate fondant cake, ready in a flash. For more extravagant celebrations, there’s an impressive pistachio and cherry cake, a decadent salted caramel and milk chocolate flan pâtissier, and a delightfully pink and fruity peach melba Charlotte. Throughout the book, Fanny offers cheat’s tips on how to make the perfect sugar syrup, prove dough, use a piping bag, whisk egg whites like a pro, and more. Whimsical and charming, with beautiful photography throughout, Paris Pastry Club will give you the confidence to release your inner pastry chef, and is a must for anyone who loves to bake.
You can purchase Paris Pastry Club at cooked.com.
Published by Hardie Grant Books.