This week, I was inspired by Liv for Cakes’ Olivia to make a majestuous and delightful Earl grey cake with real vanilla buttercream frosting.
Think: Moist, Perfumed, Elegant. Maybe blue?
The search for the ideal November cake came to me when I was checking out my friends’ Snapchat Stories and discovered that one of my coworkers had posted this insanely delicious looking cake in hers. With a couple more searches online, I dedicated my Sunday afternoon to baking and crafting this amazing treat for my home and family. I was also reminded that buttercream takes A LOT of butter when my previous desserts are mostly vegan, gluten free or dairy free.
Baking this cake and making the buttercream sent me on a journey of rediscovering skills and tips I learned from baking school 5 years ago. I don’t usually make buttercream often, so I know I will be eating each bite ever-so-slowly to enjoy it while it lasts. And believe me, with my family around, I expect the entire cake to disappear in less than three days. Now, Head on down to find the recipe 🙂 If you want to turn this cake into cupcakes, you can simply do so.
EARL GREY CAKE
Preparation: 50 minutes including 35 minutes baking / Serves 8-12 slices
Earl Grey Milk:
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1 Tbsp Earl Grey tea heaping, loose leaf
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp Earl Grey tea finely ground
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup Earl Grey milk room temperature
Earl Grey Syrup (optional):
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp Earl Grey tea
Earl Grey Milk:
- Bring milk and tea to a boil in a small pot over med-high heat. Turn heat off and steep for 10mins. Strain and measure out 1 cup. Top up with milk if needed.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour three 6″ cake rounds and line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, tea, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, and sugar on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx 3mins). Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and Earl Grey milk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition.
- Bake for approx. 35mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto a wire rack. Allow cakes to cool completely.
Earl Grey Syrup:
- Place sugar, water, and tea into a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 mins. Remove from heat, steep for 5 mins. Strain and cool completely.
Enough for an 8-9 inch cake or a dozen cupcakes
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.
- Place the bowl over a double boiler on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot (160F) and no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins).
- Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)).
- Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth.** Add vanilla bean paste and mix until incorporated.
PREPARING THE CAKE
Now that all of the bases are covered and ready, your cake should be room temperature. You can always cut the cakes in half length-wise to add moisture from the earl grey syrup by brushing on the sugar infusion with a pastry brush. Do this with every layer and then spread the buttercream in between each layer.
Tip 1: soften your buttercream by hovering your metal bowl over the low-heat stove and stirring the buttercream. This will facilitate its’ use in between layers. To have a smooth cake top and border, use a pastry spatula and slick the buttercream by turning the plate under the cake as you apply the frosting. Don’t over-do it as you remove frosting each time you swipe on the cake. This can lead to crumbs.
When all layers are stacked, finish the cake with the rest of the vanilla buttercream. I kept some buttercream to colorize and use as a decorative element. You can decorate your cake however you wish to, and the possibilities are endless. I used gel food colorant for my blue-grey buttercreams.