This cake is based on a foolproof recipe for a glazed lemon cake I have been baking for years, from the You Asked for It feature in the late, great Gourmet Magazine (as Lemon Bread Billie Holliday's Lantern Glow). I wanted to also try to replicate a wonderful, simple nut cake my great aunt used to make; she was our surrogate grandmother and was the matriarch of the extended family. I was unfortunately too young to know to ask for that treasured recipe, so I turned to the lemon bread poundcake recipe for the basic recipe, adding dates, dried apricots and coconut, citrus zest and an Earl-Grey tea-infused glaze. —creamtea
one loaf cake, 4-1/2 x 8-1/2inches
fresh Meyer lemon juice
Earl (or Lady) Grey tea from the pot you have brewed (see below)
strips of zest from a Clementine
For the cake
Earl Grey (or Lady Grey) teabag
Medjool dates, chopped
dried California apricots, chopped
coconut oil spread
large eggs, at room temperature
unbleached all-purpose flour (sifted before measuring), plus 2 tablespoons flour to coat the walnuts
double-acting baking powder
each grated clementine and Meyer lemon zest
Brew tea; then combine 1/4 cup tea with all ingredients for glaze in a small, nonreactive saucepan. Stir to combine, then place over a medium-low flame and bring just to a simmer. Turn heat to low and simmer briefly until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Pour remaining tea over apricots and dates; steep 15 minutes, drain. Blot with paper towel.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Chop Walnuts coarsely. Toss walnuts with 2 tablespoons of flour. Place in a mesh strainer to shake out excess flour and set aside while you prepare cake batter.
Combine the 1-1/2 cup flour with the baking powder and salt, and sift onto a piece of wax paper.
In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand-mixer beat the coconut oil spread with the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Alternately add the flour and the coconut milk in three additions to the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour and beating until just combined. Periodically scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber or silicone scraper.
Stir in the grated zests and vanilla by hand until incorporated, then stir in the nuts, dried fruit and coconut. Scrape into greased and floured 4-1/2 x 8-1/2 inch loaf pan, jiggle pan or rap it lightly on the counter to eliminate air pockets. Run a small sharp blade lengthwise down the middle to create a seam.
Place pan in center of oven, and bake 40 minutes or until tester comes out with a few moist crumbs adhering. Remove to a cooling rack and quickly pierce all over top with a bamboo skewer or toothpick. Swirl the cooled glaze to recombine, and pour or spoon it all over the top of the hot cake. Allow cake to cool on the rack in the pan for 10 minutes.
Run a thin sharp blade all around the cake to separate from the pan, then carefully invert on the rack. Quickly flip it right-side up to cool completely.
Serve in thin slices with hot or iced tea. It is even better the next day, when the flavors will have mellowed.