A client recently ordered an Earl Grey cake for his fiance because it is one of her favourite flavours and he had been on the look out for an interesting cake that he could get for her, for her birthday. I gather she is a bit of a foodie (yaay!) and he wanted to wow her with a little more than your bog standard vanilla, chocolate, or even red velvet, which has sadly become so bastardised on the Nigerian cake scene these days.
I absolutely love off-the-beaten track flavours, and I love my clients who order them even more. So I was really excited about making this cake because it was for some really lovely people and I really wanted them to enjoy it. I gather it went down a treat and that made me really glad. Here are a few pictures below. The cake is three layers of sponge baked with a heady infusion of Earl Grey tea, and the buttercream icing also has a little bit of tea for flavour continuity but is mostly real vanilla from the pods for a bit of interest. You can’t see the little black vanilla dots in the photos, but they are in there somewhere.
Do you like Earl Grey Cake too? What other wild and wonderful tea flavours have you tried?
30th June 2014 – edited to add recipe. I used a slightly modified version that incorporates aspects from a few different recipes and some of my own tweaks as well, but for simplicity’s sake, I have posted the trusty Hummingbird Bakery version below.
For the sponge:
3 Earl Grey teabags
3tbsp just-boiled water
80g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened
280g (10 oz) caster sugar
240g (8 ½ oz) plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
200ml (7fl oz) whole milk
2 large eggs
For the frosting:
50ml (1 ¾ fl oz) whole milk
500g (1lb 2oz) icing sugar
160g (5 ½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
One or two 12-hole deep muffin tins
Place the teabags in a bowl and add the just-boiled water, then leave to brew for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), Gas mark 5, and line a muffin tin with muffin cases. Use a hand-held electric whisk or freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment to mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
Pour the milk into a jug, add the eggs and whisk by hand. Add the brewed tea, squeezing every last drop from the teabags into the milk mixture, then set the teabags aside for the frosting.
Pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Then mix on a medium speed until smooth and thick. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and beat until all the ingredients have come together and the batter is smooth.
Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling each two-thirds full. If there is batter left over, spoon it into more cases in a separate tin. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch, then leave to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.
While the cupcakes are cooking, place the used teabags in a small bowl with the milk for the frosting and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the teabags and give them a good squeeze to extract maximum flavour.
Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is still powdery. Pour in the tea-infused milk while mixing slowly, then increase the speed to high and whisk until soft and fluffy.
Divide the frosting between the cold cupcakes, smoothing the tops and swirling with a palette knife.