We all know how important it is to be more environmentally friendly – think globally, act locally, right? I’ve been really digging into this concept lately, from buying locally and finding products that can be reused – snack bags, produce bags, and paper straws – to looking for ways natural ingredients can replace less ‘clean' traditional remedies. Along the way, I began to notice a trend: Honey. From Bee’s Wrap, a replacement tinfoil/saran wrap founded Bristol, VT, to baking, to using honey as an ointment or medicine, there are so many uses for this wonder product. Thank you, bees!

It wasn’t long after this that I stumbled into Follow The Honey in Harvard Square. Tucked just a tad below street level, with soft, warm lighting, the store feels oh-so-cozy (just like Winnie the Pooh) and is filled to the brim with plenty of sweet, gooey honey, from a variety of bees, flowers, and locations. You can choose from pre-filled containers of honey, or bring a Mason jar and “scoop your own” to take home. I was inspired to bake and opted for the local honey from Barre, MA – and I knew just how I was going to use it. Pound cake!

Since I'm not about that complicated all-day-to-make-a-cake life, I knew that this quick and easy tea & honey pound cake recipe was for me when I found it – and after tasting it, I think it could be for you, too!

Tea & honey pound cake

Tea & Honey Pound Cake

  • 3 heaping tbsp of black tea/Irish breakfast tea/Assam tea leaves
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup of honey + 3 tbsp
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of cake flour, or all-purpose
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of fine salt

While the recipe uses black tea, I went with Earl Grey because when I have tea, that’s usually one of my top picks – and I felt like it would pair well with the honey! Instead of grinding my own leaves, I used Twinings’ Earl Grey packets, which worked out nicely. Once I steeped the milk with the tea (the same way you would in hot water), I put it through a sieve to make sure as few leaves as possible were left behind; I didn’t want them to impact the texture.

Steeping tea leaves for the pound cake.
Anne Barleon

But I did sprinkle some dried leftover tea grounds on top of the cake batter before baking it, which worked out well (if I do say so myself). When baked it gave the top a little bit of color variation, which was already looked darker brown due to the richness of pigment of the tea.

A sprinkle of tea leaves to top the batter.
Anne Barleon

The finished product was a dark and dense pound cake, sweet from the first bite and chock full of tea flavor. Overall, an interesting interpretation of a cup of tea! I would make this recipe again, although I may try a chamomile tea to test new flavors. And I feel great about my local honey purchase. It helps keep a local business running, which keeps a bee population thriving, which helps the environment. Win-win-win!