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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Constant Comment Tea

Yesterday I blogged about the Charleston Tea Plantation which is owned by Bigelow Tea, and whenever I think about Bigelow Tea I think about their most well-known product, the one that started it all for them - Constant Comment Tea. (The book My Mother Loved Tea is the story behind its creation.)

Constant Comment Tea is a memory trigger for me and holds a special place in my heart: it's the tea my parents drank together at the kitchen table on week-nights as they caught up on each other's day. Mom was a part-time piano teacher and stay-at-home mom; Dad was a plumber. After the kids were tucked away in bed, it was "teatime" for Fred and Bernadine. Lovely memory.

One of the ways I particularly enjoy this tea is in the cake recipe printed inside boxes of Constant Comment tea. This is similar to a spice cake but much more subtle. It's a perfect teatime treat.
Constant Comment Tea Cake:
½ cup milk
5 Constant Comment tea bags
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1-2/3 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9″ round cake pan.

Combine milk and tea bags in a small saucepan. Heat over medium/low heat until bubbles form around the edge, stirring occasionally. (DO NOT BOIL.) Remove from heat and let cool (15-20 minutes); remove tea bags squeezing out liquid. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and whisk to blend. Add the cooled milk; continue to whisk until thoroughly combined. Add flour and baking powder; mix until a smooth batter forms. Pour batter into pan. 

Bake approximately 35 minutes, or until center of cake springs back when touched. Cool on wire rack before removing from pan. Let cool completely before serving. Dust top with confectioners sugar (or cinnamon sugar). Yields one 9” round cake.

Image used by permission: Deborah Tisch


Jean | said...

Denise, I have never been a fan of spiced teas but I will probably enjoy a cup of Constant Comment now and again in memory of my dear aunt who died this year. It was "her" tea, what she always served when I visited. The cake would be lovely.

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

Hi Jean,

I'm sorry to hear about your aunt. Sounds like both of us have the same memory trigger.

I was just on your lovely blog and saw that recipe for Fat Rascals. Gah! I am soooo tempted to order a batch from Bettys but .... £11.94 for 4 Fat Rascals (includes UK delivery). I honestly think I will try your recipe. And when I do I'll be sure to blog about it with a credit link back to you. (I'm in the process of starting a new blog

Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment.


Deborah Tisch said...

What a delight to connect with you on this huge world wide web! I'll look forward to future posts here and learning more about tea.

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

Cheers, Deborah and thank you again for use of your lovely photograph.

Rosemary said...

Constant Comment is one of the first teas we sold in The Rosemary House when it first opened in the late '60s. It was quite popular as I remember selling a lot of it! We also enjoyed it at home, and it conjurs warm memories for me as well.
P.S. So glad to see you return to the world of blogging!

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

Thanks for sharing, Nancy. It's astonishing how many people have special family memories of Constant Comment.

It's great to be in the Blogosphere again!

La Tea Dah said...

Constant Comment has not been in my tea-vision, but after you and others have mentioned it --- I will give it a try. I love how tea evokes strong memories and creates word pictures in our minds.

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

It probably would not have been in my tea-vision either, LaDonna, if it weren't for the family history. But this little tea, obviously, has been a part of many family histories. I believe we've had at least one thread about it on ATAA and quite a few members had a CC connection.

I can personally vouche for the cake. I used to make it a lot.

Thanks for your comment!

Christy said...

Hi, Hon! You already know that this tea always reminds me of your Mom - she started me on it! I always keep some in the house, though I don't drink it as often as I used to. I was thinking of her the past few days - probably as her birthday is coming up in July. I never made the cake. Maybe I should try it one day - after these 90* & 100* days are gone. Thanks for the memory, Cuz. <3

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

Hi Christy,

Thanks for the lovely comment. Yes, I remember you and your MUGS of tea! Mom and YOU were the tea drinkers then; I didn't get into tea until much later.

90-100 degrees! Ugh. I wonder what Constant Comment would taste like *iced* ??

Christy said...

Well, I don't like spicy teas iced. Lately, I'm mostly drinking a plain brewed black tea. I bought a jug of HyVee Black Tea (cold) yesterday for the first time - just one jug because sometimes it's just not good - and boy, this stuff is great! Nicely brewed, nothing in it (no sweeteners for this diabetic) and it's wonderful. Next time I go back there, I'm buying more than one jug! hahaha.

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

Do you ever add a piece of fresh fruit in it? I have to say, it sounds really good!

Christy said...

Sometimes a slice of lemon - which I forgot to get the other day. *pout* I also put a wedge or two of lemon in a glass of cold water on really hot days. I wish I had some - tomorrow (Thurs) is going to be 102* with the heat index at 110*. Has anyone told Mother Nature that North Central Illinois is NOT a desert area?

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

I love lemon in hot *or* cold tea. 110! Ugh. (73 degrees here today.)

Marilyn said...

Before I realized there were some really amazing teas out there, Constant Comment was my go to tea. Still enjoy it on occasion when it is in a restaurant tea choice basket.

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

Constant Comment was no doubt the 'gateway tea' for many of us.

Having been going strong for so many years, it obviously still holds some appeal for a lot of folks.

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