Thai tea sponge cake + condensed milk cream, light and simple

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There are a lot of cakes on this blog. They tend to be a bit fancied up; I s’pose I worry that no-one will be interested if I post a very simple cake with not a single grain of spiced sugar or chocolate chip or pistachio or layer in sight.

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But then, I absolutely wanted to make this simple Thai tea cake, so you might be interested, too. This is simply a genoise sponge enriched with a little melted butter and perfumed with a spoonful of Thai tea leaves. I serve it with whipped cream sweetened with condensed milk, but it can receive any variation of sweet, milky accompaniments because it’s so lovely and light with a true Thai tea flavour.

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The cake is surprisingly easy and quick to make. The three important things are choosing the right tea, beating the eggs for the full 6 minutes, and making sure the melted butter is completely liquid when you fold it in. After that brief effort, you’ll have soft, delicately fragrant cake.

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For choosing the Thai tea, the same guidelines apply as for the Thai tea roll cake–unsweetened leaves, flavouring and colouring permitted, no sugar or whitener. It’s alright if your tea is chunky; I like to briefly pound it in a pestle and mortar and then sift it quickly, just to separate leaves from the twigs. (You may think it persnickety but I very much regretted the cake full of chewy bits I made the first time round.) If your tea is as fine as the stuff in tea bags, you should be able to use it right away.

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Here I’ve made a smaller cake to suit my tiny household and lonesome tendencies. Don’t feel sorry for me, there’s cake in my life.

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THAI TEA SPONGE CAKE + CONDENSED MILK CREAM
A scaled down version of Leela’s Thai tea cake on SheSimmers.
Yields a slim 20 cm/8 inch cake, 6 – 8 small slices. If you want a taller cake, double the recipe.
Cake keeps, well wrapped and chilled, for 3 days.
Cream can be made 1 day in advance; under-whip and wrap very well before chilling, keeping it way from any strong odours.

You can also have this just with plain or icing sugar and vanilla-sweetened whipped cream, dulce de leche, plain buttercream or make some condensed milk custard. You could also emphasize the Thai tea flavour with a Thai tea & milk accompaniment.

ingredients

for the cake:
2 UK medium / US large eggs, room temperature
100g/3.5 oz granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened Thai tea leaves, briefly ground and sifted if necessary – please ensure there are no twig-like bits, only use the crumbled leaves!
1/4 teaspoon salt
50g/ 1 3/4 oz plain flour
1/2 tablespoon cornflour
50g/scant 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled but still totally liquid
A little icing sugar for dusting, if desired

for the condensed milk cream (optional), enough for 2 servings:
100 ml/scant 1/3 cup/ 3 1/2 oz  double cream, well chilled
2 tsp – 1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk

instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 fan (350 degrees F). Line the bottom of a 20 cm/8 inch springform tin with a round of parchment paper and grease the sides of the pan.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, tea leaves, sugar, and salt on high speed for a full 6 minutes. The mixture should triple in volume, becoming pale and thick. You need to keep going for the full mixing time even if it looks ready, or the cake will be even flatter.

Sift in the plain flour and cornflour half at a time and fold in gently. Just before the dry mixture is completely combined, pour and fold in the melted butter (it must be perfectly liquid, or the cake batter you made so patiently will collapse before your eyes–believe me). You should have a thoroughly blended, smooth, fragrant, and speckled batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 18 – 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean from the middle.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before running a knife round the edge and releasing the sides. Let the cake cool completely on a rack before transferring to plate or stand and, if you like, dusting with icing sugar (about 30 – 45 minutes more, depending on ambient temperature).

To make the condensed milk cream, simply whip together the chilled whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk in a small bowl until it thickens just enough to softly hold its shape. Providing the cream is cold, you can, like I did, very likely do this by hand in just a few minutes. I don’t even use a balloon whisk–just those little curly ones will do. If you scale up beyond 300 ml (2 1/4 cups), an electric whisk is recommended.

Serve a good dollop alongside each slice of cake. If you know you’ll finish the cake on the day,  you could also pile the cream in the middle of the cake, like a great soft cloud.

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