So I am an avid tea drinker–I love it to death. I definitely take it over coffee any day, and I met a fabulous guy today who feels the exact same way. His favorite is Earl Grey–as is mine–so we got along charmingly. I was telling him about this cake that I made, so I felt I should share it with all of you as well!
This cake has an incredibly complex flavour and is not by any means for the faint of heart. The Earl Grey flavour is incredibly prominent as the cake contains the tea, leaves and all. With such a strong flavour profile, the cake is actually incredibly rich even though the fat content is nothing out of the ordinary. It has a tender crumb with a slight density from the tea leaves, which I find to be wildly unique and delightful to experience on the palate.
To finish it off this cake is an equally richly flavoured honey buttercream. I’ve never been the type to take honey in my Earl Grey (just milk, my dear), but its floral essence is the natural partner to this herbal tea.
And because the cake is so proper and English, I decided to contrast its fanciness with a slightly askew, haphazard frosting treatment. I’ve never tried the naked frosted cake, and I must say I rather like how it turned out. Because I had a significant amount of leftover frosting, I decided to pile it on top, swirl it, and give it a finished drizzle of honey. The result was a rustic, edgy, and ethereal masterpiece.
EARL GREY CAKE
Slightly adapted from Pastry Affair.
- 235 milliliters / 1 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea (pick through for a few tougher stems), or the contents of three tea bags
- 55 grams / 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 225 grams / 1 cup unrefined cane sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 60 milliliters / 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 175 grams / 1 3/4 cup cake flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Honey Buttercream, recipe follows
In a small saucepan, heat the milk until nearly boiling. Pull it off the heat and stir in the Earl Grey tea leaves. Leave and allow to steep while you prepare the rest of the cake.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the center of the oven. Thoroughly grease an 8 inch cake pan and set aside.
In the large mixing bowl of your electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Crack in the eggs and incorporate, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Pour in the oil and beat. Beat in the vanilla extract. Dump in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Beat on low until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Pour in the milk, tea leaves and all, and mix until smooth and homogenous.
Pour into the prepared cake pan and pop in the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn out and cool completely. Frost with Honey Buttercream and serve!
Serves 8-10; it is quite rich
- 110 grams / 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons honey (I used clover)
- 225 grams / 2 cups powdered sugar
- a pinch of kosher salt
- splash of milk, if necessary
In the large bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and honey. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and salt. Once combined, whip on medium-high for 3-5 minutes, until thoroughly aerated. Add a splash of milk if it is too thick or some extra powdered sugar if it is too thin.
Makes enough frosting to generously frost an 8 inch cake