Chocolate Cake with Tea-Infused Berry Frosting
A couple weeks ago was Chris’s birthday. We celebrated with friends in our lovely Oakland backyard. It was a simple, casual afternoon party, just good friends and good conversation.
We had a much larger party for Chris’s 30th birthday a couple years ago in this same backyard. That party had a Mario Brothers pinata, hand-made decorations and full menu of BBQ and mac and cheese. Oh and shots. Plenty of shots. Needless to say, that was a much larger affair than this year’s party.
Maybe we’re just getting older but this year we wanted to keep it simple. No more stressing that food isn’t warm or is getting eaten by bees. Damn you bees! This year, we kept it simple — chips and guac, spicy nuts and kettle corn.
Despite the slight compromise on the menu, one place I’m never willing to compromise for a birthday party is on the cake. It isn’t a party without a cake — or a pie I suppose if you’re a pie person. But for me at least, the party hasn't started until there’s a homemade cake on the kitchen counter.
This cake got rave reviews in the form of second helpings. The cake itself was moist, and the tea-infused berry frosting was a subtle but really interesting take on using berries in cake.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before the day of the party arrived, I need to decide what I was going to make. I knew there would need to be chocolate. And I knew there would need to be berries.
I found a great chocolate cake recipe and decided to keep that part simple.
The frosting is where things would get interesting. I knew from some research that you can infuse butter with tea, similar to how I infused cream with tea in my Plum Cream Popsicles. So, I decided that the frosting for this cake would use tea-infused butter to give it a more nuanced flavor and then I would decorate the cake with real berries as well since we’re deep into berry season.
I found the process of making tea-infused frosting really wasn’t that much more complicated than making traditional homemade frosting. You melt the butter in a saucepan and let the tea sit in the melted butter for about 10 minutes absorbing its flavor. Then you simply strain out the tea using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and let the butter cool in the fridge for a short period of time until it’s hardened. Once that process is complete, add your powdered sugar, vanilla and milk or cream and voila! Tea-infused frosting ready to be devoured.
One thing to note is that this recipe includes more butter than you would normally need. Some butter will get lost in the process of melting or will remain on your tea after it has been strained.
Tea-Infused Berry Frosting
This recipe will frost 1 cake not including the sides of the cake. If you plan to frost the sides of the cake as well, I would recommend adjusting the ingredients to make 1.5 portions (multiply all ingredients by 1.5).
This cake recipe is fairly straightforward. It is important to know that the batter will be thinner than most cake batters. You haven’t made a mistake. Keep going.
Also, do you hate that your cake layers never turn out flat? Do you always have to cut off half the cake or fill it in with frosting? Me too! Ugh. A couple years ago I found a great tip for fixing that issue. Just cut a towel into thin strips that can wrap around your cake pans, moisten the strips with water and secure them with safety pins before putting your cake in the oven. The moisture in the towels helps the cake on the edge of the pans bake more evenly which gives you a flatter top to your cake. Yippee! More details from A Cozy Kitchen if you want a step by step guide.
Recipe modified from My Baking Addiction.
Lovely little things
- I found one of these gorgeous watercolor-esque espresso mugs with gold on my recent trip to Seattle. I was happy to find out they’re actually made close to home by redraven studio who recently moved to Oakland.
- I really love the one pair of satin pajamas I own. Since Victoria’s Secret is having their semi-annual sale I snatched these Afterhours Satin Boxer PJs. Hopefully they’re just as wonderful.
- A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin