There comes a season, when the alley that leads up to our house is sparkling with red little flowers all over. Little Hibiscus flowers.
They look bright and happy, as if each one of them were happy to see you, and greet you like a puppy would: dancing frantically.
The most amazing thing of all is that these flowers will only bloom for one day. The next one, it will be a whole new different crowd. A new parade of hibiscus flowers just for you.
Just talking about this parade of flowers, brings me back to my childhood and my ever so favorite story of Martine. “Martine à la fête des fleurs.”
Oh what a parade that must have been!
The illustrations in this book alone made me dream.
Growing up, every year, until I was a teenager, my grand-mother’s house used to hold a “reposoir” or altar of repose, every Holy Thursday.
We would plan ahead with my aunt Pia for days, as she busily collected flamboyant petals and flowers, colored wood chips, and other creative items, to make the most beautiful flower carpet on the entire block of Avenue Jean-Paul II.
It was taken very seriously back then. The repository is the center of the love and aspirations of the faithful, and each family, blessed enough to hold these alter of repose at home, took extreme pride and care in putting together rich hangings, beautiful flowers, and refreshing stations for the procession crowd, showing exceptional devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
Secretly, I used to think of Martine and the flower festival every time. For the occasion, I got to sleep at my grand-mother’s house the day before. The alarm would be set for 4 am, allowing time to get to work and be ready on time for the Holly procession.
By the time we’d wake up, we’d find a large crowd of neighbors in the street, decorating by candelabra light. Oh what a site that was! Just imagine.
You see, I have always been a creative at heart. Drawing those magnificent flower carpets on the floor took time and dedication, and I enjoyed every second of it. Walking around the block, my childish competitive spirit, would look at others art thinking ours looks best, or with a blush of envy and amazement at others, taking in ideas and inspirations for the next year.
I always felt a little saddened though, after the procession had passed, to see our entire morning’s effort and work of art, spread unevenly on the floor. I rejoiced in knowing that next year, we’d get to start all over again. And we would make it even more amazing!
Let’s be realistic, my flower alley nowadays got nothing on our flower carpets back then, nor on Martine’s flower parade. But still, the sight of these hibiscus flowers make me smile all the same, every time.
Coming home the other day, I wondered what I could do with you little flowers. I do enjoy my steaming cup of hibiscus flower tea quite often (with a hint of lime please). But I wanted to do something different to honor these beauties. They are after all our national flower.
Then came the idea of baking. I have seen a few cake recipes recently on Pinterest and Instagram made with tea. I thought I’d try and put my touch with hibiscus tea.
There many great cakes I spotted, that I will have to try as they simply look delicious. Curious? Here are some of the top on my list of tea based cake recipes I stumbled upon.
- Boba milk tea cake by the Little Epicurian
- Apple and cinnamon tea cake by Hungry & Fussy
- Earl grey and blueberry layer cake by Katie Cakes
- Cherry almond tea cakes by Foodie in New York
- Earl grey tea cake with lavender swiss meringue buttercream by Food Equals Happy Me
- Black tea cake with lemon buttercream by Freut Cake
I myself have adapted this recipe inspired by Constellation Inspiration, with her lovely Chai black tea cake with raspberry. If you’re reading this Amy, thank you for inspiring me.
As Amy says on her blog, her recipes are love letters to her readers. No better way to honor this great childhood memory of mine and these flowers, but with a celebration of love through this boozy hibiscus tea three tier cake recipe.
The subtle hibiscus tea flavors mixed with hints of lime, boozed up with a kick of delicious locally made Berling Hibiscus Liqueur, make this cake quite unique and heavenly delicious. And I like to think it looks pretty too with all those red hibiscus flowers parading on top. Wouldn’t you agree?
Boozy Hibiscus Tea Cake
The subtle hibiscus tea flavors mixed with hints of lime, boozed up with a kick of delicious Hibiscus Liqueur, make this cake quite unique and heavenly delicious.
Cake (for 3 layers of 9″ cake)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar cane syrup
- 1/2 cup milk (I use 2%)
- 1 tbsp Berling Hibiscus Liqueur
- 8 mini hibiscus flowers, petals only (or 3 large ones)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 lime juice
- 1 star anise
- 1/4 tsp juniper berries crushed
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 oz cream cheese (one pack) (at room temperature)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp Berling Hibiscus Liqueur
- 1/2 lime juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 3 tsp Berling Hibiscus Liqueur
Prepare your hibiscus tea.
In a small pot, bring your water to a boil. Add in your hibiscus flower petals, star anis, juniper berries and lime juice.
Lime juice is magical and will automatically turn the liquid red.
Strain your tea. It will yield 1/4 cup concentrated tea, and will have an almost syrupy consistence from the natural sugars from the flowers. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.
In a large measuring bowl, mix your hibiscus tea, milk, sugar cane syrup and liqueur. Set the liquid aside.
Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, whisk together your butter and sugar into a cream. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time.
Add your flour mixture in alternance with liquid several times, allowing ingredients to fully mix with each addition.
Pour the cake mixture into 3 prepared cake pans sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake for 25 – 30 mins until ready.
Remove and place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes prior to turning them out onto the wire rack.
Allow them to cool fully before frosting.
Frosting and Finishing
Pour your whipping cream into a mixer bowl with whisk attachment.
Whisk the whipping cream until it becomes fluffy and forms stiff peaks. Transfer whipped cream into a different bowl.
Beat your powdered sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Add hibiscus liqueur and lime juice and mix well.
In the same bowl, gently fold in the whipped cream and keep chilled until ready to use.
Assemble your cake by drizzling the first layer of cake with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of hibiscus liqueur.
Add a generous dollop of frosting, and spread evenly.
Top with another tier of the cake and repeat.
Top the last tier with last tablespoon of liqueur and frosting spread evenly.
Decorate with flowers and serve.
Garnish with fresh flowers and lime. Serve and indulge.