By Angela McRae, The Shopper Kitchen

When I realized I hadn’t yet shared a dessert recipe here in the Shopper Kitchen all year, I quickly realized it was time to remedy the situation, so here’s a sweet treat that’s perfect for this season!

Thanks to the internet, we now have an amazing array of recipes at our fingertips all the time. If you’re like me, you may even have a Pinterest board or two devoted to recipes you wish to try—or at least to dream about trying.

Not long ago, I saw a Facebook recipe for a cake said to taste like sweet tea and lemonade. Intrigued, I purchased all the ingredients for the cake and got ready to bake. But just before I fired up the oven, I noted the reviews for the cake were consistently low, with lots of 1- and 2-star ratings. The cake, it turns out, was too dry, and I’d rather have no cake than a dry cake. That recipe got tossed.

Yet I loved the idea of a cake flavored with sweet tea and lemon, so I searched through my recipes and considered which ingredients work well in the cakes I like best. Then I decided to experiment with flavoring the cake batter with tea and the frosting with lemon, and here’s the result, a cake that made me happy (it wasn’t dry!), and my husband said, “That one’s a keeper.”

I hope you’ll want to keep it too!

Sweet-Tea-with-Lemon Cake
Batter:
1 cup whole milk
3 teaspoons loose black tea (or substitute 3 tea bags)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting:
1-1/2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Heat the milk on high in the microwave for 2 minutes, add the tea leaves, and steep tea for five minutes before straining it from the milk. (I use a paper tea bag filter for steeping the tea, but in a pinch, you can also use a paper coffee filter.) Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, add sugar, and combine. Add the oil and vanilla and combine well. Using a hand mixer, slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, alternating with the tea-infused milk. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting: Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add lemon juice and blend. Add the powdered sugar gradually, using mixer at low speed. Stir in lemon zest before frosting the cake.

(Angela McRae is a freelance writer and editor from Newnan, and you can find out more about her work at angelamcrae.com. Email questions and comments to her at angela@thecowetashopper.com.)