Today I am delighted to share this special recipe from chef Miggs McTaylor, of Wellington and Wairarapa, New Zealand. I had the pleasure of working with Miggs while she was a student in the Rouxbe Essential Course. Miggs is a Botanical Cuisine Specialist with a passion for whole food plant-based cooking and creating menus to suit special dietary requirements. A graduate of the Wellington Institute of Technology, Rouxbe Online Culinary School Plant-Based Professional and Essential Vegan Dessert Courses, and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, Ms. McTaylor is kindly sharing her recipe for Kawakawa Tea Cakes with us today.
These dainty little tea cakes are little mouthfuls of lemon-infused sponge topped with a kawakawa tea glaze. Don’t mention they are vegan and no one will even know. Don’t worry if you can’t find kawakawa. It is highly unlikely you will. Miggs has suggestions for using other teas in its place.
Kawakawa (Macropiper exelsum)is a New Zealand native plant traditionally used by Maori as a medicine. Sometimes referred to as Maori bush basil, or a pepper tree, it has a fresh mild minty pepper taste. More recently, it is used by tea producers and chefs as an herb, adding a uniquely “New Zealand” flavour to a dish or cup of tea.
Notes about Kawakawa from chef Miggs:
Miggs says, you probably can’t get kawakawa tea many places, but a lemon ginger type tea will work, and she has made these tea cakes with Earl Grey and rosemary. While living in Scotland, “I coveted a bag my friend brought me. To me it is a flavour that is distinctly New Zealand.”
Recipe and photographs by Miggs McTaylor, Botanical Cuisine Specialist, Chef. Recipe reprinted by permission of the author and Good magazine
Kawakawa Tea Cakes
- 280 ml (or 1 cup) + 2 Tbsp unsweetened oat milk or soya milk
- 30 ml (or 2 Tbsp) lemon juice
- 180 g (or 1 ½ cups) organic all-purpose flour
- 90 g (or 2/3 cups) wholemeal (whole wheat pastry) flour
- 130 g (or 2/3 cup) golden castor sugar or finely ground cane sugar
- 45 g (or 1/3 cup) fine coconut sugar or castor sugar
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- zest of 2 medium lemons
- ½ tsp finely ground Himalayan sea salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla syrup extract
- 125 ml or ½ cup neutral vegetable oil (chef Miggs used canola)
For the Glaze
- ½ cup strong Kawakawa tea or Earl Grey and rosemary.
- ½ cup golden castor or any fine vegan sugar
- If using fresh lemons, zest before squeezing the juice.
- Add lemon juice to oat or soya milk and set aside.
- Position a rack in the upper third of oven and preheat to 180°C.
- Grease 16 mini-brioche tins or a 12 cup standard cupcake tray with baking spray (or oil).
- Sieve and mix dry ingredients together, stir in lemon zest.
- Whisk the oil and vanilla into the oat milk and lemon juice mixture. Pour into the dry ingredients while whisking until you have a smooth batter.
Pour into your baking tins of choice, for mini brioche moulds, leave at least 2-3mm gap to the top of the tins, for a standard cupcake tin ¾ fill. (This mixture also works well as a small bunt cake.)
For the glazing syrup, bring ½ cup of strong kawakawa tea (sieved of tea leaves) and ½ cup of sugar of your choice (not coconut sugar) to the boil in a small pot. Boil for 2-3 minutes or until thick and syrupy.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and risen, remove from tins and glaze with tea syrup and garnish.
Recipe and photographs by Miggs McTaylor, Botanical Cuisine Specialist, Chef. Recipe reprinted by permission of author and Good magazine