My darling buds Monisha and Max got hitched in an intimate and personal ceremony under the California sun. The best part of the day was the “it takes a village” spirit of family and friends building, decorating, cooking, and arranging to throw together a wedding picnic for the amazing couple. My job was to bring some cakes to serve with Max’s mom’s homemade fruit pies with gemlike berries culled from her own garden.
I needed an arrangement of cakes that were suitably festive, offered guests a variety of flavors, complemented the fresh fruit pies, and most importantly – could withstand that California sun for hours preceding serving. Phew! My brain calculated all the possibilities of a non-frosted but not-just-poundcake effort and came up with following: cakes that are festive by shape (Bundt) or topping (candied oranges), that are interesting with surprising flavor combinations, and that remained moist sitting outdoors. Shown together above, I think they were befitting of a casual, yet celebratory occasion. Part one: earl grey tea chocolate bundt cake.
Max (good man that he is) likes chocolate, so this one is for him. To me, the perfect chocolate cake has tons of gooey buttery frosting and that would not possibly withstand a day of sitting outdoors. So, instead I wanted to go in an unexpected direction with the routine chocolate cake and this recipe for Earl Grey tea/chocolate cake was a standout. The flavors are surprising but utterly smoothly melt together in your mouth. I found that adding semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate (about 1/2 cup) really helped bring out the chocolate flavor and added bursts of texture. A dusting of powdered sugar is all the prettying up it needs, although a drizzle of melted chocolate would be welcome, too.
This cake is spongy with the fragrant bittersweet notes of black tea complementing the light smooth flavor of chocolate, and yet it was not overly rich or sugary. You have here a chocolate cake light enough for afternoon tea but sweet enough for a formal dinner dessert.