You may have noticed I have a penchant for tea. In fact, I have never had a cup of coffee and enjoy a nice, strong cup of tea with milk every morning. But it's the idea of the afternoon tea snack that really strikes me. One is supposed to take a few minutes in the late afternoon to pause. Perhaps reflect on the day and ready oneself for the evening. To sip a dainty cup of tea, a pick-me-up sized cup, if you will. Enjoy a bit of cake. GENIUS!
This cake can really be made for anything from lunches to parties. In fact, I made two loaves and had planned to freeze one when my sis in law called with her back out and I dropped one at her house. Both were gobbled up that day.
A good tea loaf is sturdy but soft: something you can carry around while letting the dog out the back door. Or, you can plate it, pile on some whipped cream and put your feet up while watching, say, The Good Wife on DVR. If you're feeling really fancy, slice it on the diagonal, top with coffee ice cream and a good caramel sauce and finish with a raspberry or pinch of good sea salt. Guests will sing your praises, if they can get the words out!
Chocolate Tea Cake
1/2 C butter, at room temp
1-1/2 C sugar
3/4 t salt
2 t vanilla
1 t baking powder
1 t espresso powder (optional)
2/3 C best-quality unsweetened cocoa
3 large eggs, at room temp
1-1/4 C flour (fine ground for pastry is good if you have it)
3/4 C whole milk
2/3 C best-quality chocolate chips, divided
1. Preheat your oven to 350 and butter a loaf pan.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until light, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the salt, vanilla, baking powder, espresso powder and cocoa and blend. If it looks clumpy and like cookie dough, don't worry. Go to step 4.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, blending thoroughly with each addition.
5. Add half the flour and mix.
6. Add the milk and mix.
7. Add the rest of the flour and blend until smooth.
8. Stir in 1/3 C of the chocolate chips.
9. Pour the batter into a pan and top with the rest of the chocolate chips.
10. Bake 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool, unmold, slice, eat.