beverages

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze #bundtbakers

The first time I ever tried Earl Grey tea I was pretty sure it was one of the most disgusting things I’d ever tasted.

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was waiting tables at a high end restaurant in Ithaca, NY, and the owners took coffee and tea very seriously. They also owned a coffee shop in College Town, so their passion for quality teas translated into their restaurants. We had some fancy imported loose leaf teas that we would bag up and steep to order, and one day I decided to forego my usual latte to see what all the fuss was about.

Earl Grey is very floral, almost perfume-y, and my unrefined pallet didn’t quite know what to make of it. To me, that first sip tasted a bit like soap, or like drinking perfume straight from the bottle. I may have even done a cartoon style spit-take right there in the kitchen, next to the espresso machine. In my defense, at the time I wasn’t really a tea drinker, and besides the occasional glass of iced tea I was strictly a coffee man. I went right back to my latte and didn’t try Earl Grey again for a good long while.

A few years later I started opening up to hot tea, and eventually, I gave the Earl another shot. These days I totally love it and always keep a big jar of loose leaf Earl Grey on the shelf (although I still take it with honey and lots of milk, never black).

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Given my newfound love for it, I’ve been wanting to bake with Earl Grey for a long while but the inspiration just hasn’t come to me. I’ve been playing with the idea of making some cute little financiers or tea cakes (get it? Tea flavored tea cakes?) but I just never got around to it. The idea would come back to me every once in a while, but I’d just keep putting it off and waiting for the right moment.

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Enter the #bundtbakers.

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a bundt recipe in a couple months, basically since confessing that I wanted to take some time to focus on my health. I’ve actually been doing really well and finally feel like I deserve to let myself eat the occasional slice of cake again. Even if I weren’t feeling better I don’t think I could have stayed away from my bundt baking buddies much longer anyway!

When I saw that Laura from Baking in Pyjamas had chosen “Beverages” as the bundt theme for October, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to get back to my bundt baking roots. I’m so so happy to be back, and all these beautiful beverage-y bundts are making me thirsty hungry!

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Another reason I wanted to get back into bundt baking is this new pan I just got!

I know I’ve gushed about Nordic Ware bundt pans before, but get ready, here I go again. Their line of cast aluminum pans are sturdy enough that they don’t bend or warp, and just thick enough that they bake super evenly with no irregular browning. They’re super non-stick too, and even though I do always butter and flour my pans before baking anyway, I can honestly say that I’ve never once had a cake stick, even when using super sticky ingredients like marshmallows or caramel. The one time I tried using a different pan though, this happened… They’re also built to last, and even with all the bundt baking I do, all of my pans are just as wonderful and just as non-stick as they were the day I bought them. If all that isn’t enough, their pans are also made right here in the good ol’ US of A.

Nordic Ware bundt pans are also available in a huge selection of beautiful designs and styles, a few of which you’ve already seen here. Their latest pan, the bundt squared, is really fun and I’m so excited to have one of my own! The square shape puts a sort of modern twist on an elegant classic design, and I just love it. I have to admit though, that one of my coworker’s mind was completely blown by the square shape. I posted a preview of this cake on instagram a few weeks ago and she texted me the minute she saw it. “A SQUARE BUNDT????! Is nothing sacred?” Even after getting to taste test the cake, she kept bringing it up. “This cake is really good, but a square bundt pan?”

So, I guess this square shape might not be for the traditionalists among you… Hahaha!
But guess what? Nordic Ware invented the bundt pan, so as far as I’m concerned they can do no wrong.

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

With the theme and the shape decided on, my next step was to figure out how to get that distinctive Earl Grey tea flavor into my cake. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of just grinding the tea leaves up and putting them directly into the batter, because I wasn’t confident that the flavor would really come through that way. I was also worried that the ground tea leaves wouldn’t soften up enough in baking, and feared that people would be eating a cake with a sandy texture and a bland flavor.

My first thought was to infuse the tea leaves in buttermilk like I did for last year’s hibiscus lime bundt cake, but while wasting too much time on pinterest one day I came across another idea. To my surprise (and relief) there was an entire blog post about baking with tea! I gotta tell you, their solution is absolutely genius, and I never would have thought of it myself.

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

To extract as much bold tea flavor as possible, they recommend infusing your tea leaves in butter! I cannot sing enough praises for this method. This cake tastes EXACTLY like a warm cup of Earl Grey tea.

This method uses up a lot of tea leaves though, and you want to try to use the freshest, highest quality loose tea that you can find to get the best possible flavor. You’ll also need to use more butter than you think you will, as the leaves will absorb some and you won’t be able to squeeze it all back out. To get 1 cup of butter for my cake I ended up using two and a half sticks of butter and a whole cup of tea leaves.

I was expecting the butter to take on a dark brown tea color, but to my surprise after infusing it the butter took on an olive green tint. In fact, the melted liquid butter really just looked like a dark unfiltered olive oil. You may have noticed the green butter in the photo at the top of the post.

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

For a little extra Earl Grey oomph, I also added just a touch of bergamot oil. If you’re not familiar, the bergamot orange is the citrus fruit that gives Earl Grey tea it’s distinctive floral scent and flavor. Fresh Bergamot oranges, and even bergamot oil for that matter, can be a little difficult to find, so feel free to leave it out if need be. The infused butter definitely imparts loads of fresh tea flavor, I promise.

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

I knew before this cake even went into the oven that it was a winner. A stray smudge of batter licked off my finger tasted exactly like a milky, honey sweetened cup of tea. While it was baking away in the oven, my entire apartment smelled like a warm Earl Grey hug. Don’t tell anyone but I may have even put my nose right down into the center of the cake after I turned it out onto the cooling rack.

Not only does this cake have amazing flavor, but thanks to a bit of oil, it’s also super moist with an incredibly tender crumb. To top it all off and drive home the cup of tea theme, I made a simple milk and honey glaze. I happened to only have buckwheat honey on hand, which is why the glaze came out the color of milky tea. It was not intentional I swear!

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Earl Grey Bundt Cake with Milk and Honey Glaze

2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1.5 oz (about 1 cup) loose leaf Earl Grey tea (best quality possible)
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon bergamot oil (optional) *see note
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk, at room
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Milk and honey glaze:
2 tablespoons honey (buckwheat honey adds flavor and color, but any honey will work)
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Make tea infused butter:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Once fully melted turn the heat down to low and add the tea leaves. Stir and heat over low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes more.

Place a small fine mesh strainer over a measuring cup and strain the butter. Press the tea leaves with a spatula or spoon to squeeze as much butter out as possible. You want to measure out exactly one cup of butter. If necessary add enough additional butter to make 1 cup. Discard tea leaves and refrigerate butter until completely firm.

Once firm let butter soften at room temperature for at least an hour before baking. Cold butter can be made several days ahead if kept refrigerated in a well sealed air tight container.

Make the cake: 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter and flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan.

With the paddle attachment in an electric mixer, cream 1 cup of softened tea infused butter with sugar for about 5 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Add oil, honey, and bergamot oil and mix until well combined. On low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, until just combined.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl (or measuring cup), combine the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour batter into prepared pan and tap on the counter to even the batter and remove air bubbles. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool for an hour or more before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Make the milk and honey glaze: 
To make the glaze combine honey, 1 tablespoon milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar and continue to whisk until combined and free of lumps. If too thick, you can add a few more drops (up to an additional tablespoon) of milk to thin it for easy pouring. Pour over the top of the completely cooled cake and serve.

Cake should keep, well sealed in an air tight container, for 3 to 4 days at a cool room temperature.

*note:
Different brands of bergamot oil can have different potencies, so start with no more than 1/4 teaspoon, and taste the batter before baking and see if you might enjoy a few drops more. If you can find it, the zest of fresh bergamot orange would be even better. Start with about a teaspoon of zest and taste to see if you’d like more.

earl grey bundt cake with milk and honey glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

There are so many absolutely delicious bundts this month! Please take a moment to check them out!

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BundtBakers

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#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundtsby following our Pinterest Board.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

frozen watermelon margarita

I know what everyone keeps saying, but you guys, it’s still summer!!! I swear it!

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

It seems like every year, come August, people start whining and mourning the end of summer, at least six weeks prematurely. I don’t know if you’ve been outside lately, but it’s freakin’ hot out there.
While everyone is lamenting the onset of cold weather, we’re smack dab in the middle of our second heatwave in less than a month. You can’t go outside without sweating through your clothes, and the farmer’s markets are exploding with gorgeous tomatoes and stone fruit.

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

Last week my mom had some vacation time and wanted to take a break from fixing up her new old house and get away for a few days. She piled in the car with my little sister and drove down to Brooklyn to hang out with me and Russell, and get in some snuggle time with Doris and Betty (she calls them her granddoggers!).

While she was here we drove down to Coney Island to ride the Cyclone and check out the freak show. There were also margaritas involved. Later that night, safely back in Bushwick with dinner tucked into our bellies, mom suggested we pick up some tequila and have a few more.

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

Mom isn’t really a big drinker, but as far back as I can remember, she’s always been a big fan of frozen drinks. She usually makes them a bit on the weak side, just strong enough to have a little fun without getting messy, but either way she likes them just the same. When I was growing up whenever mom had a party she’d dust off the blender and stock the freezer with those frozen cocktail mixers they keep next to the OJ in the frozen food aisle. She’d usually even make an extra batch without the booze just for us kids.

To this day, it isn’t a party at mom’s house without an frosty pitcher of margaritas, daiquiris, or piña coladas. In fact, the last time I was home we decided to have a little family cookout and I swear my Aunt D wasn’t even out of her car before she was asking where her piña colada was!

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

Given my mom’s inclination to imbibe the icy stuff, I picked up a bag of ice along with my liquor and limes. Since mom sometimes likes her drinks sweet and fruity, I grabbed a bag of frozen strawberries too.

Not really fond of store bought mixes, I knew I wanted to make my margaritas from scratch, but I’ve never found a frozen margarita recipe that I loved (until now). Off I went to google, and on the pages of Serious Eats I found what I believe is seriously the world’s greatest and most perfect frozen margarita recipe ever. I’ve had MANY mediocre margaritas in my day, so I really wasn’t expecting much. I knew mom would love them either way, so I gave this recipe a whirl (literally). The only change I made was to substitute about half of the ice cubes with frozen strawberries. I was floored by how good they were, and we ended up making a second pitcher before the night was through, and another two pitchers the next night! They’re not too sweet, not too sour, not too strong, not too weak. Literally perfect. I cannot sing enough praises for this recipe.

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

When we decided to have some friends over in the backyard this past weekend, I decided to revisit the recipe, this time with just a few small changes. Rather than using (somewhat flavorless) frozen strawberries, I decided to celebrate what’s left of summer with fresh watermelon instead. I picked up a whole seedless watermelon, removed the rind, cut the fruit into cubes, and froze them in a single layer on a sheet pan. Instead of half fruit, half ice, this time I used no ice.
All watermelon, all the time.

The only thing about adding so much fruit to the recipe was that they ended up a little too sweet for my taste, so I decided to make a few (tiny) changes to the next batch; namely reducing the simple syrup and increasing the booze (cuz that’s how I roll).

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

You’ll want to get started on these a day (or two) ahead so you have time to freeze the watermelon, but once you get everything prepped these puppies are a breeze to make with a good strong blender. To make sure your drinks are as icy as possible, it’s best to mix the tequila base together and put it in the freezer ahead of time too. The tequila and triple sec will keep the lime juice and simple syrup from freezing solid, but while still liquid, your mixer with be as icy cold as can be. A whole watermelon is enough for several pitchers, so I put a half dozen containers of mixer in the freezer at the same time.

It was a party, how dare you judge me!

As you may have guessed, these suckers were met with rave reviews. They’re so perfectly summery, so perfectly refreshing, so perfectly delicious, so perfectly perfect; that I still can hardly believe it. Man I could go for another one right about now…

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

Frozen Watermelon Margaritas

adapted (just barely) from Serious Eats

5 ounces (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) silver tequila (100% agave is best)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) good quality Triple Sec or orange liqueur
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) fresh lime juice (from 4 to 5 limes)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) simple syrup (see notes below)
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon (rind removed)

At least 8 hours ahead:
Arrange the cubed watermelon on a parchment lined sheet pan and place in the freezer for several hours or until completely frozen. The parchment will make it easier to remove the frozen cubes. Once frozen, transfer to an air-tight container or zip-top freezer bag.

In another air-tight container, combine tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and simple syrup and freeze for at least 8 hours or up to one week (mixture will remain liquid). You can mix several batches ahead, but freeze each one in a separate container because a standard blender will only fit one recipe at a time.

When you’re ready to party:
Combine your frozen watermelon with the tequila mixture in the pitcher of a powerful blender. Blend on highest setting, pulsing and scraping down sides if necessary, until completely smooth. Serve immediately. If desired, garnish with a small wedge of fresh watermelon.

Notes: To make simple syrup, combine equal volumes of sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool before combining with alcohol.
While you certainly can mix the base just before blending, your drinks will be significantly less frosty and more liquid. The base mixture can be made up to a week ahead and stored in the freezer.
In my experience, a small to medium seedless watermelon gave me enough cubes for roughly 8 pitchers of this recipe, but that will depend on the size of your watermelon.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail

I know it’s still very much winter out there, but I couldn’t wait to share this super easy, super summery pitcher cocktail with you all.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

Now that I think about it, I guess I posted another citrusy cocktail recipe pretty recently didn’t I?

I think maybe this whole kitchen project has been driving me to drink! Thankfully I’m finally able to just sit back and enjoy the benefits of all my hard work! I guess this long, cold, wet, windy, snowy, awful winter hasn’t been helping either, and might be just as much to blame for driving me to drink too.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

I always crave citrus in the winter, especially near the end. Citrus fruit is so bright and sunny and fresh that I can’t resist it when everything else is so dull and dreary and dead. Not only does this cocktail have citrus in spades, but it also has a really fresh summery feeling that I think most of us could really use plenty of right about now.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

I first came up with this recipe for our wedding back in 2013. We were married outdoors on the first of June in a big white tent overlooking the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. We were serving two signature cocktails in big drink dispensers at the bar and, while our caterer was providing the bartenders, we were in charge of supplying the booze and all the fixins. I wanted the cocktails to be so simple that all I’d need to do is give the bartenders the ingredients and a spoon, and just tell them what quantities to mix together.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

In the name of trying to please everyone (or mostly everyone) we served one signature cocktail with whiskey, and another with vodka for our friends and family who aren’t as crazy for the brown liquor as we are.  The first was a bourbon spiked Arnold Palmer and the other was one of my favorite summery vodka drinks, a vibrant greyhound made with pink grapefruit juice. To really make it our own, we added some vanilla to warm it up, and some rosemary for a little fresh herbal depth. In honor of Doris (this was before Betty joined our family) we called it the little grey dog.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was expecting the Arnold Palmer to be the more popular of the two drinks because most of our friends have the same penchant for whiskey that we do, but to my surprise our vanilla greyhound was a much bigger hit. In fact, despite bringing enough ingredients with us to fill our 2 1/2 gallon drink dispensers twice, we actually ran out of it before the sun went down! I think it may have had something to do with the fact that it was unbelievably hot that day, and that this greyhound is light and refreshing and oh-so-thirst-quenching.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

The other day we were having some friends over for drinks to show off our fancy new kitchen. We wanted to serve something that might help take our minds off of the frozen muck and slush outside and I thought this would be the perfect thing for it. It’s easy to mix up in advance so you’re not stuck tending bar all night, and it’s so light and bright that you can drink a few without feeling like you’ve had a few too many!

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

The grapefruit juice really shines here so you want to make sure that you get a the best quality 100% pink grapefruit juice you can find. The addition of vanilla adds an unexpected homey warmth that doesn’t normally go along with grapefruit but somehow works really well. Despite the fact that grapefruit juice doesn’t taste all that sweet on it’s own, once it’s mixed with the vodka and vanilla it’s somehow perfectly (and surprisingly) sweet enough and doesn’t want for any additional sugar. For that reason, I’d advise against using vanilla flavored vodka for this, which tends to have artificial sweeteners already added.

Right at the end the whole thing gets just a hit of effervescent soda water to keep it feeling light and bright. If  you’re only serving a few drinks at a time I think it’s best to leave the soda water out of the pitcher and just top off each drink as they’re served, but if you want to make this in a big ol’ drink dispenser, just mix it all right in. With volume in mind by the way, this recipe is easily doubled (or quadrupled in the case of our wedding).

If you have time, I think the rosemary comes through a little better if you let it infuse with the vodka and grapefruit juice overnight. If you have lots of time (and love rosemary) you could even let it infuse in straight vodka for a couple days to really extract it’s flavor. Really though, the rosemary isn’t meant to be the star of the show here and you don’t want to overdo it, so adding to the drink just before serving is totally delicious too.

Drink up y’all!

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

Vanilla Greyhound Pitcher Cocktail

  • Servings: Makes about 9 or 10 six ounce cocktails
  • Print
2 cups vodka
3 1/2 cups pink grapefruit juice
2 tbsp vanilla extract
4 to 5 rosemary sprigs
1 cup soda water

Mix vodka, grapefruit juice and vanilla in a large pitcher and stir well. If you have time, I think the cocktail benefits from letting the rosemary infuse overnight. If serving immediately, you can add the rosemary to the pitcher or use a single sprig as garnish in each glass. Just before serving you can either stir the soda water into the pitcher, or you can top off each glass with about 2 oz of soda as the cocktails are poured. In a drink dispenser or punch bowl it’s best to just stir the soda in, but if you don’t want the soda to go flat over time, it’s better to top off each glass as they’re served.
Either way top off each glass with plenty of ice.

blood orange whiskey sour

Valentine’s day is almost upon us!

You know what really puts people in the mood for romance?

blood orange whiskey sour | Brooklyn Homemaker

BOOZE!!!

(duh)

blood orange whiskey sour | Brooklyn Homemaker

I wanted to come up with a cute little romantical cocktail for me and Russell to enjoy on this oh-so-romantic occasion, but for the life of me I couldn’t think of what to serve. Champagne tends to give me a headache if I have more than one glass, and a quick search on pinterest turned up little more than a who’s who of chocolate martinis and syrupy sugar bombs. Not that there’s anything wrong with chocolate martinis and sugar bombs, but they’re really not our thing.

blood orange whiskey sour | Brooklyn Homemaker

Just when I was starting to think that I wasn’t cut out for this whole Valentine’s day thing, it hit me! All I had to do was make a few little tweaks to a favorite cocktails recipe I already had in my arsenal!

blood orange whiskey sour | Brooklyn Homemaker

Russell and I love a traditional (stiff) whiskey sour with lemon juice, superfine sugar and plenty of good American whiskey. I like to use rye because I think it’s more assertive flavor stands up better against the citrus in this drink, but bourbon would definitely work well too if that’s what you prefer. Fresh egg whites are shaken into this classic cocktail to add the signature foamy creaminess that whiskey sours are known for. I always try to buy eggs that come from cage free local farms, so I don’t worry too much about the fact that the whites in this drink are raw, but if you’re concerned about food safety, most grocery stores carry little cartons of pasteurized egg whites that you can use instead.

To add a little romance, I substituted some of the lemon juice with fresh squeezed deep red blood orange juice. Once it mixed with the other ingredients and had the dickens shaken out of it, the blood orange juice gave this cocktail the sweetest pale pink color you could ever ask for.

blood orange whiskey sour | Brooklyn Homemaker

Don’t let that cutesy pink color fool you though, this cocktail packs plenty of punch. Two ounces of straight whiskey is always guaranteed to get the night started right in my book.

While this is a perfect drink to serve your sweetie on Valentine’s day, these classic flavors would also be totally delicious any day of the year. Oh, and hey, if you happen to find yourself alone on this romantic day of days, this recipe makes two cocktails, just enough to make you forget your sorrows or give you the courage to go out and find yourself a date!

blood orange whiskey sour | Brooklyn Homemaker

This blushing beauty of a cocktail is bright, fresh and satisfying. Good looks and great taste, the total package! The rye whiskey and fresh citrus play off of each other perfectly and the shaken egg whites add a smooth, creamy, silky mouthfeel. The fresh squeezed blood orange juice adds a bit more sweetness and bright citrusy depth than you’re used to in a whiskey sour, but keeping some of the lemon juice ensures every bit of that sour bite that you expect.

blood orange whiskey sour | Brooklyn Homemaker

Blood Orange Whiskey Sour

  • Servings: makes 2 cocktails
  • Print
4 ounces good American whiskey (preferably rye)
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces fresh-squeezed blood orange juice
2 teaspoon sugar
2 egg whites

Combine all ingredients in a large cocktail shaker, fill with plenty of ice, and shake like crazy for about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, or into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass. If desired, you can garnish with a maraschino cherry or a slice of orange, but I don’t think you’ll need it.