It’s a mouthful to say, but these are the ingredients.
It’s a pound cake with grapefruit zest and brown butter infused with earl grey tea leaves. It doesn’t need any icing, none of that please. (There’s quite a bit of sugar in the cake anyway.) I wanted to call it a Russian Earl Grey Pound Cake, because Russian Earl Grey teas will usually have citrus peels alongside bergamot, but I didn’t want to confuse anyone. So, Grapefruit and Earl Grey-Infused Brown Butter Pound Cake it is.
Brown butter gives the cake a nutty flavour, but the earl grey is almost imperceptible after baking (it is there if you strain your palette hard enough, think of it as finely layered addition), while the grapefruit zest brightens up the cake quite a bit. Depending on how sweet you like your treats to be, unsweetened tea or coffee is the way to go.
If you’re not sure how to infuse tea into butter, read all about it here. Do note that because you’re browning the butter, it’s safest to add your tea leaves towards the end of the process. Additionally, the tea will tint your butter, so don’t panic when your butter gets considerably darker.
Brown Butter Pound Cake
slighty adapted from Poire et Chocolat.
200g unsalted butter if infused with tea / 185g unsalted butter if plain
200g caster sugar
pinch of fine sea salt
3 eggs, cold from the fridge
200g plain flour
1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder
165ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
2 tbsp loose leaf earl grey tea
Zest of 1 grapefruit
Place the butter into a big pan and set over medium heat. Keep heating as the butter crackles and foams. Stir occasionally until the butter starts to darken. Be careful not to heat it for too long, burnt butter will have a bitter taste. Pull the pan off the heat once the butter achieves a desirable tan colour. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool – it needs to be room temperature.
If you’re infusing the butter with earl grey or any other teas, you will always need more butter than what the original recipe calls for. In this case, I added 15g extra. I opted to add my tea leaves about 1 minute before pulling the pan off the heat and let it infuse for 5 minutes before straining it into a bowl. The brown butter will be quite fragrant.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Either line a loaf tin (around 9″/23cm long) or carefully grease a round/decorated tin. Scrape the cooled butter into a stand mixer bowl and add the sugar and salt. Beat together until creamy, then add the eggs one by one, beating in between. If it curdles, don’t worry – that’s normal. Beat on medium-high for 5 minutes until pale and thick.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together. Tip a third into the mix and stir together on low. Slowly add half of the milk and briefly beat. Add the rest of the flour and milk, combining in between. Add the vanilla and beat together one last time. Scoop into the tin and spread out.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is a deep brown. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack.
For more Earl Grey goodness: