Earl Grey Tea is a black tea blend flavoured with bergamot orange. Its citrusy aroma naturally lends itself to flavouring cakes and confectionary and it pairs well with floral accents such as lavender. I have had varying degrees of success with Earl Grey cake until finally experimenting with this amazing recipe. The tea-infused milk adds just the right amount of flavour to the vanilla-flavoured cake as well as keeping it delectably moist. Paired with fragrant lavender buttercream and contrasting lemon curd this cake is delicious far beyond what its name may suggest! The pretty flavours are perfect for a feminine occasion and as my birthday falls in April I think I will be baking this one for myself to celebrate!
For the cake
– 250ml whole milk
– 4 Earl Grey tea bags
– 225g unsalted butter
– 400g caster sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
– 360g plain flour
– 2.5 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp ground Earl Grey tea leaves
– Pinch of salt
– 5 medium eggs
For the lemon curd
– 75g butter
– 150g caster sugar
– Juice and zest of 3 lemons
– 2 eggs
– 1 egg yolk
For the lavender buttercream
– 60ml milk
– 1 tsp culinary lavender flowers
– 300g icing sugar
– 450g unsalted butter, room temperature
– Purple food colour (optional)
– Lavender flowers to decorate (optional)
1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 150°C/315F.
2. Grease and line two 6” cake tins (or for a shallower 2-layer cake use two 8” cake tins).
3. Place the milk in a small saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for around 30mins. Remove the teabags, squeezing out any excess liquid. Measure the remaining milk and ensure that there is 250ml. If it has reduced slightly add more milk to bring it up to 250ml.
4. Cream together the butter, vanilla paste and sugar by hand or in a mixer.
5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
6. Sift together the flour, baking powder, ground tea leaves and salt.
7. Pour the flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with a third of the milk each time and mixing gently after each addition.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake for approximately 40-45mins until springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
9. Leave to cool in the tins for 10-15mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
10. To make the lemon curd: melt the butter with the sugar, lemon zest and juice in a small pan over a low heat. Beat together the eggs and the egg yolk in a bowl and add to the lemon mixture. Stir gently over a low heat until the mixture has cooled enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and pour into a sterilised jam jar. Leave to cool and store in the refrigerator until needed. Any leftover curd will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
11. To make the lavender icing: place the milk and lavender flowers in a small saucepan over a low heat. Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat and leave to infuse until cool. Beat together the butter and icing sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (approx. 10mins). Strain the lavender from the milk, add the milk to the buttercream and beat again. Add a few drops of purple food colour if desired.
12. To assemble the cake: level the cakes and cut each cake in two to create 4 layers (if an 8” cake simply sandwich the two layers together as follows). Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of the layer and fill the centre with buttercream to a shallower depth than the ring. Place some lemon curd in the centre and spread around the layer keeping it inside the piped ring. Repeat with two more layers and top with the final cake layer. Spread the top with icing and sprinkle with lavender flowers if desired.
Cove Cake Design was founded in 2013 by Suzanne Brady. A former scientist, with a PhD in Biochemistry followed by a career working for Cancer Research UK, Suzanne discovered a natural love of baking after becoming a full-time mother in 2008. A keen student, she completed a Professional Masters Certificate in Cake Decorating, Royal Icing and Sugar Flower Techniques at Squires International School and a PME Knightsbridge Diploma in Sugar Flowers. With an eye for perfection Suzanne subsequently honed her skills with online and self-taught techniques. And so in 2013 Cove Cake Design, a nod to the stunning Sandycove area of Dublin where Suzanne and her family call home, began its baking journey.
From the outset Suzanne’s ethos has been to work closely with each client, drawing on a wide source of inspiration to create a bespoke cake unique to each occasion. With a delectable menu reflecting the quality of ingredients sourced and the design precision with which Suzanne decorates each cake it is unsurprising that Cove Cake Design has flourished into a thriving home business whose cakes have been recognised and featured in numerous magazines and blogs from around the world.