Cranberry-orange tea cake

Childhood memories are some of the most precious memories we possess. Certain people, like our parents and grandparents, play a pivotal role in the creation of those memories. For me, the thick, heavy aroma of black tea combined with the scent of freshly baked ginger cookies or banana bread takes me back to a time long ago, when my grandma would prepare tea (for the adults), Kool-Aid (for the kids) and goodies for us when we came over for an afternoon visit or a game of Scrabble.

Grandma was so good to my family. She gave freely of her time and of her meager income, and she made sure we were all kept warm with her hand-knit wool blanketsshe took special care to make one or more for each of her five children, 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. “Always say your prayers,” she would say to all of us. She bought me my first tea pot when I moved to Toronto years ago to attend university, and she instilled in me the belief that homemade baked goods are far superior if you put a little love into them. Sadly, she passed away on Christmas morning 2009, at the age of 93.

Grandma and me (2008)

This special cranberry-orange tea cake recipe is in honour of my grandma. Infused with her favourite tea, orange pekoe, there is a depth of flavour and colour that can’t be missed. The sweet orange zest perfectly balances the tart cranberries throughout, and the chopped walnuts add a lovely nutty crunch. Feel free to top yours with icing if you wish. A simple glaze made with powdered sugar and nondairy milk or fresh orange juice would be nice. Enjoy!

Cranberry-Orange Tea Cake | A Dash of Compassion

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Cranberry-orange tea cake

Yield: one 8-inch cake


  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup unbleached AP flour
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange zest
  • 1 cup strongly brewed orange pekoe tea, cooled
  • Ener-G egg replacer for 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sunflower or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, Sucanat, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and orange zest. Set aside.
  2. Remove the tea bags from the tea (be sure to squeeze the excess liquid from the tea bags) and whisk in the egg replacer and oil.
  3. Pour the tea mixture into the flour mixture and stir just to combine. Gently fold in the cranberries and walnuts. It will be a fairly thick batter.
  4. Spoon the cake batter into an oiled 8-inch round pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool completely. Serve with tea and a side of nondairy ice cream or, for a sweeter treat, decorate with a glaze made of icing sugar and nondairy milk or orange juice


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