Raspberry Chamomile Tea Cakes: tender little cakes infused with chamomile, studded with juicy red raspberries, and dressed with a lemon glaze
Well, we’re nearing the longest day of the year now (aka, summer!!). This is when everything starts to move a little faster. You can find me, every morning, scouring the garden for new blooms and the tiny beginnings of vegetables-to-be. Our honeybees are happily going about their dance with the flowers, pollinating our veggies, and humming their busy song which is the constant background noise to summer in the country. Each day, a new flower opens in my “bee garden” – a long patch of medicinal herbs and edible flowers that I planted to supply the bees with plenty of nectar. Of course, the bonus is that I have months of inspiration for cakes and goodies. This week, it has been the chamomile and nasturtiums coming to life.
Along with flowers and extended hours of sun also comes a favorite for many of us. Berries! This week, we picked up a flat of raspberries from our friends at a neighboring farm. A lot of them went into the freezer to be used for future smoothies and baked goods. I saved a couple of pints to use fresh, knowing I had some baking to do. They came just in time for a good friend’s baby shower. I hadn’t ever paired raspberries and chamomile together before, but it seemed like a natural fit. I mean, what says “it’s a girl!” more than raspberry and chamomile? Sweet little flowers with a fruity aroma, and juicy red berries. Put them together into little adorable tea cakes… it had baby shower written all over it. Tie it all into a nice little package by drizzling them with lemon glaze. Perfection.
Chamomile is one of the most well-known herbal medicines. It has many beneficial uses, though it is probably most popular as a mild sedative. It is gentle enough that it is a wonderful medicine for children. I’d say some of it’s best uses are for treatments of cold, flu, and nervous conditions, whether mental or physical. Not only can it calm the mind and body and help with sleep, but it can calm nervous stomach and intestinal cramping. And, of course, it is delicious! You’ve likely had chamomile tea at some point in your life. The flowers have one of the loveliest scents – slightly citrusy and sweet, almost like pineapple. The taste is similar, and just a little bit floral without being too “soapy”.
Chamomile grows in the wild in many parts of the world and is easily identifiable, but you’re more likely to find it in gardens and on farms. It is a popular enough herb that you can also find it dried in just about any grocery store. If all that you can find is dried chamomile in tea bags, that will be just fine to use in baking. Just make sure that chamomile is the only ingredient, and break the teabag open to use the herb inside. A strong steeped chamomile tea is also a great addition to a recipe to replace some of the liquid. This works well with things like scones of muffins. Even try it here, in these tea cakes, to replace some of the buttermilk. Experimenting is part of the joy of baking.
These raspberry chamomile tea cakes were a huge hit at the baby shower. Soft, spongy, and perfectly moist. The batter is similar to a pound cake and with just a hint of sweetness. Punctuated with red berries, they get a little swirled effect that makes them eye-catching. The glaze adds to the balance of sweet and tart, with fresh lemon juice and zest adding a nice punch to every bite without stealing the show from the delicate chamomile. Try this recipe out or come up with your own chamomile creations. If you have a favorite way to use chamomile, be sure to let me know!
Raspberry Chamomile Tea Cakes
Tender little cakes infused with chamomile, studded with juicy red raspberries, and dressed with a lemon glaze
raspberry chamomile tea cakes
- 4 ounces unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp dried chamomile ground & sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp dried chamomile flowers
- 1/2 cup raspberries fresh or frozen
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
for the raspberry chamomile tea cakes:
Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease mini bundt pans or line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
First warm your buttermilk just slightly with the fresh or dried flowers. Turn off heat and allow to steep while you make the batter.
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar with the chamomile powder for a few minutes. Add the soft butter and cream until fluffy. Add vanilla. Add your eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl in between. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add about 1/3 of your dry ingredients and mix lightly. Strain flowers out of buttermilk and add half of buttermilk in; mix lightly. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk, mixing in last 1/3 of flour last. Remove from stand mixer and gently fold in raspberries, being careful not to overmix.
Divide batter amongst baking cups. The batter should come about 2/3 of the way up - it will rise a decent amount. Bake for 18-25 minutes, until the cakes spring back when gently pressed. Allow to cool about 10 minutes and then remove cakes from the mold. Allow to cool completely before icing.
For the glaze, sift the powdered sugar and pour into a liquid measuring cup. Add the zest. Add lemon juice, stirring, a little bit at a time. You may need to adjust the amount of lemon juice and sugar accordingly. You want a glaze that is relatively thick, yet pourable. Drizzle just a little bit onto each cake. Decorate with raspberries and fresh or dried chamomile.