I bought some tiny cake pans last week(these ones), because after seeing so many beautiful cakes on my instagram feed(So. many. beautiful. cakes)I was inspired to make my own. I infused a bunch of earl grey tea into both the cake and the buttercream, and dyed it a favorite shade of grey. I kind of winged the piping work, but I think it has a unique character.
It was my first layer cake and I’m fond of it despite it’s aesthetic flaws. The flavor and texture are delightful. It tastes like earl grey tea mixed with cream and sugar. You can find my current favorite early grey tea in gigantic amounts, right here.
The bottom layer came out a little bit wonky. Make sure to divide your batter evenly(weighing will be most exact) if you want perfect layers. Also you can trim off their little rounded tops to make them flat.
The flowers are from that giant bouquet of chamomile I had sitting around the house recently. They smelled amazing, and lasted forever before they went all droopy and sad.
Earl Grey Layer Cake
Makes one small three layer cake.
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 teabags worth of earl grey tea
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
1 1/2 cups whole milk
7 tablespoons flour
4 teabags worth of earl grey tea
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons butter, room temp
black gel food coloring(optional)
purple gel food coloring(optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line cake pan bottom with parchment paper, and grease and flour the sides and bottom. Set aside
- In a small bowl whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla, and tea.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on slow until combined.
- Add butter bit by bit and mix on on med-low until only small pea sized pieces remain.
- Add 3/4 of the liquid mixture to dry, and mix on medium high until fluffy and light. About 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining liquid mix and mix until just distributed. About 30 seconds.
- Divide batter evenly into cake pans, and use a rubber spatula to smooth out the tops.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed almost crumb free.
- Allow cakes to cool in pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool before frosting.
- Put milk and tea in a small sauce pan and bring to the point just before a boil. Set aside to steep for a minimum of 15 minutes,
- Add flour to saucepan and whisk over medium heat until no lumps remain and the texture resembles a thick pudding or paste.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Set in fridge to cool completely.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat butter and sugar together on medium-high until fluffy and bright white. Around eight minutes.
- Add pudding mixture in three batches, beating each addition in completely on medium-high speed until incorporated(If using food coloring, add during last pudding addition and adjust accordingly to reach your desired shade. I used one drop of black and one of purple).
- Beat entire mixture on high speed until light and fluffy. The texture should resemble a thick whipped cream when done.
- Use to frost your cooled cake.
To assemble your cake like mine, frost between each layer generously as you stack them on each other. Then using an offset spatula frost a thin and sort of rough layer around the entire outside of the cake. Smooth out any big imperfections but don’t be too delicate, leave a little character. Put the rest of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip. Pipe little dotted drops of frosting all over the top of the cake starting from the outside and working your way in. Then pipe little drops all around the base of the cake where it meets the plate/cake stand.
Both the frosting and the cake will have bits of tea leaves running through them. If you’d prefer a smooth frosting or cake, simply steep the tea in your milk in both parts of the recipe and then strain them out before moving on with the next steps. I like the texture and speckled appearance the tea leaf bits brings to the cake, but I could understand wanting a silkier presentation.
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