Sydney Breakfast tea cake

I’m back! My three-exams-in-three-days nightmare ended on Thursday, so now I’m free to bake and blog as much as I please! They went alright, all in all. As it’s first year, I just need to pass – the marks don’t count towards my degree class – so that took some weight off my shoulders. Now I’m just waiting for all of my mates to finish too, which means CAKE and lots of it.

My tea intake always increases exponentially when I’m revising. I found this recipe on one of my favourite baking blogs a little while ago, and it seemed appropriate to mark the end of my exam stress. As a student, I couldn’t justify buying a whole pack of Earl Grey just to use two bags in a cake, so I substituted it for some of my own tea.

I have a small obsession with loose leaf tea. When I was in Australia over Christmas I made sure to visit my fave tea shop, T2, and after much dithering and indecision I walked out with a cute pink teapot and a box of Sydney Breakfast. As the name would suggest, it’s a variation on English Breakfast tea, with hints of bergamot and vanilla.This was definitely an experiment of a cake. As I was baking it a few of my flatmates came in: ‘You’re putting tea into a cake?’ Really? Yes really. And it works. The tea really comes through, but it’s not overpowering. I decided to cover it in a thin vanilla icing to complement the vanilla flavour in the tea, which worked well too. It’s a very light cake, and the tea gives it a pretty mottled appearance. Moral of the story: I should not be so afraid to experiment. And use more tea when baking!

Sydney Breakfast tea cake


The cake:

  • 3 tsp loose tea leaves
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 100g butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 cups self-raising flour


  • Icing sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Butter
  • Hot water


Preheat your oven to 180°C, and line a circular cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Put the kettle on, and make a cuppa! Add 1/4 cup boiling water to the tea leaves and let them brew for a few minutes before adding the milk. Then set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs one at a time and beat.
Sift the flour in, a little at a time, and alternate it with pouring in the tea. Stir after each addition, gently, until it’s just combined. Continue until you’ve used all the flour and the contents of the mug.
Pour the cake mix into the tin, and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes.
When cooked, let it stand in the tin for a few minutes before turning it out. Leave it to cool.
Melt a tablespoon-ful of butter in the microwave, and add icing sugar. Mix well and keep adding sugar until the butter is saturated. Then add a little hot water. Keep alternating until you get the consistency and quantity that you want, and add a teaspoon-ful of vanilla extract. Drizzle the icing over the cake, and serve!

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