TROPICAL TEA INFUSED CAKE WITH PASSIONFRUIT SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
A sophisticated take on my signature tea infused cake. Layered with fresh mango and smothered in passionfruit frosting, it's perfect for summer and all occasions! This was a special request for a friend's girlfriend so I wanted it to have a finer finish. He picked the flavours and gave me creative license - my favourite kind of project.
I love working with textures and fresh elements, so I went with a selection of chocolate, macarons, babies breadth and dried flowers.
The new Lindt mango and cream was the perfect addition for flavour and visual appeal. Macaron's and I have a troubled relationship still. It just isn't worth the stress and effort to create them as a part-time baker. So I rely on the experts instead! I bought mine from Parisi Sydney.
To finish the look, I added a sprinkle of Original Artisan Gold Leaf Powder. This comes in a handy dispenser which is a time-saver when working with the delicate flakes. Hidden beneath the glamour was a T2 Black Rose tea infused cake, pieces of Mango and healthy layers of passionfruit Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
I am not a big tea drinker, but I LOVE tea infused cakes. The subtle flavours from the tea really elevates the cake and make experiments fun :D
I was looking for a tropical tea to pair with Passionfruit notes. I picked the T2 Black Rose tea purely on smell and ingredients (yes, sniffing your teas for the win!). It delivered in abundance on taste as well - so no going back from here!
Baking with Tea
When it comes to the process of tea infusion, you are spoilt for choice. I found this awesome guide from the Cupcake Project which introduced me to the concept of tea and butter - a winner in my kitchen! You have to prep this well in advance of baking day as the butter needs to be solidified again for use. The key is using slightly more butter than required by your recipe. I work on a ratio of at least 50g more butter than called for. Here's a rough guide of butter to tea ratios.
Tea Infused Butter
2 1/2 Tbsp loose leaf tea (this may vary depending on strength and flavour of tea. Feel free to add more if you feel like you need an extra boost).
Tea Infused Butter
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Add the tea leaves and let it sit for a minute before taking it off the heat. Leave to sit for an additional 5 minutes, or till the butter becomes slightly darker from the tea.
Set aside to cool and Strain the tea leaves and be sure to squeeze out as much butter as you can!
Refrigerate till needed. You can use this butter in any of your basic recipes to shake up the flavour.
Buttercream with Freeze Dried Fruit Powder
I prefer working with freeze dried fruit powders as they deliver in flavour and don't affect the consistency of your buttercream. As a Kiwi, I have grown up with the Fresh As New Zealand range which I swear by! They deliver worldwide. If you are in Australia - fear not, there are several stockists here too.
My recommendation - let your palette guide you on this one. If you haven't used the powder before, add it gradually to your icing mixture to figure out the right quantity for you. The Fresh As product range is packed with flavour in each spoonful so it's simply a matter of what taste you are looking to pair with your cake.
1-2 Tbsp freeze dried fruit powder.
Ingredients for your preferred frosting - I use the freeze dried powder in both American and Swiss Buttercream.
In a bowl, sift together the fruit powder and icing sugar before adding the icing sugar as required by your recipe.
Add more fruit powder to the buttercream to taste if desired.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB)
Make the SMB as per your recipe.
Once you have added the butter and achieved a smooth consistency, add the fruit powder gradually to the finished mix.
Taste and adjust as required.
T2 - Black Rose Tea
Freshas NZ - Freeze Dried Passionfruit Powder
Original Artisan Gold - 5mm Gold Leaf Powder