Shay bil Miramiya cake

Shay bil miramiya translates to tea with sage and it is a really popular drink in Palestine. In fact, it is one of my favourites, especially with breakfast. This cake is my own personal homage to this beautiful drink and to Palestine.

Adding sage to tea isn’t just delicious, it actually has so many health benefits. Whenever we were ill as children, the adults – especially my grandmothers – would always say have some sage. I thought of it as this magical herb that somehow cured everything. It wasn’t until I was older that I realised that this wasn’t just something my grandmothers swore by, it was actually supported by science. In Palestine, cloths are soaked with a sage solution to help wounds heal. It also helps with a variety of digestive problems, depression, memory loss, and studies have shown that the leaf may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s! it really is a magic herb!

These cakes are flavoured with tea and sage by infusing our milk with the two key ingredients while gently heating it. I use dried sage leaves because they have a much more delicate and mellow flavour than fresh ones, and how much you use is a matter of taste, depending on how strong you would like the sage flavour to be. I like it to be prominent but not overpowering.

It took me a while to figure out just what kind of frosting or icing to add to this cake. I ultimately chose to keep it simple and have the lemon zest bring a freshness to the cakes that I think is the perfect addition to the woody sage.

Making the frosting needs some attention. The mixture needs to be whipped to form soft peaks. Make sure you don’t walk away from your mixer! I cannot tell you how many times I have looked away and over whipped my cream, basically ruining it. You’ll know its ready if the cream can stand up on its own. This is the perfect texture for your cream.

Though the flavour of this cake is unique, the mixture starts the same as others: with creaming our butter and sugar. But when it’s time to add the flour and milk, alternate between the two. Adding all the liquid at once will make the batter runny and could cause it to separate while adding all of the dry ingredients will make the cake tough and you will end up over mixing it. Alternating will result in a fluffy cake, the best kind!

I like to serve these with a dollop of cream and top them with edible flowers just to add a bit of colour. These cakes both look and taste beautiful and as soon as I take a bite, I am transferred back to Palestine, sipping on a cup of sage tea. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Makes 24 mini bundts

Cake

  • 250ml milk
  • 5 English breakfast tea bags
  • 2-3 tbsp dried sage leaves
  • 200g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 200g sugar
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 256g plain flour

Lemon cream

  • 400ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Begin with infusing the milk. Add the milk, sage and tea bags to a small pot and bring to a simmer. Set aside to steep for about 15 minutes.
  2. To make the cream, whip together the double cream, sugar and vanilla. Then add the lemon zest halfway through and taste the sugar level. Continue to whip until the cream forms soft peaks and can hold itself. Transfer to a piping bag or bowl and refrigerate.
  3. Strain the milk, making sure to squeeze out the tea bags well. If you have less than a cup of liquid, add more milk to make a cup.
  4. To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each one. Add the vanilla and baking powder and mix. Then, add the flour and milk in an alternating matter, starting and ending with the flour. Add the flour in thirds and the milk in halves. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl periodically.
  5. Transfer mixture into a greased baking tin of your choice and bake. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. Add the cream to the cake and top with edible flowers, dried flowers, or candied lemon slices and enjoy!