I got really frustrated trying to find a recipe for a Lavender Earl Grey tea cake. After some Foogling (Facebook Googling, of course), I got some excellent advice from friends. In essence, you make a classic sponge cake but turn it into a tea cake by adding any tea flavour you like (that would make sense flavour-wise within a cake) to your milk. The trick is to warm up the milk and make a ‘tea’ with it by adding your tea leaves (in a strainer) to it and ‘steeping’ until the milk tastes like the tea. I also then add some of the same tea ground up with my dry ingredients. I’ve now made this with a Lavender Earl Grey tea, as well as a Caramel Rose rooibos tea. I recommend knowing the flavour strength of the tea well so you know how strong the flavour will be within the cake.
If you want to make a layered cake, then double the ingredients. Will make 2 x standard cake sized layers. For a delicious (if I may say so) icing/frosting, check out my Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing recipe below.
- 1 x vanilla bean pod (cut down the middle, scrape out the seeds) or 5ml vanilla essence
- 85g unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 245g caster/berry sugar
- Zest of 1 ½ lemons
- 3 tsps of tea leaves of your flavor choice** (e.g. I’ve used Earl Grey-Lavender and Caramel Rose Rooibos teas) PLUS 1 tsp the same tea, ground
- 165ml milk
- 255 ml cake flour (can also use all-purpose)
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 egg whites
**I added lemon zest as well to balance out the strong caramel flavor when I made the Caramel Rose rooibos version but would avoid with other tea flavours
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F.
- Heat up the milk, and then, using a tea pot with a leaf strainer, make a “tea” by steeping the tea leaves in the warmed milk (I usually run the milk through the leaves a few times). Set aside. For the Caramel Rose rooibos cake, I also added some rose petals when steeping the tea in the milk to balance the more caramel flavor of the tea.
- Place butter, sugar, and vanilla into an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat until incorporated (this might split/separate a little).
- Slowly add the tea-infused milk to the butter mix until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and ground up tea.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mix in three additions, scraping down the sides after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a handheld beater until peaks form
- Using a metal spoon, spoon the egg whites into the cake mix until well mixed.
- Pour into a greased cake tin.
- Bake for about 30 mins until the cake springs back. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool.
My Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing:
(I tend to guesstimate the amounts based on the size of cake and whether I’m making a layer cake or not, but this should make enough for a layered cake with icing in the middle. If you realise you don’t have enough, you can always make more.)
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 227g cream cheese
- ½ tsp vanilla essence (or 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped)
Cream the butter and sugar together. Stir in the cream cheese and vanilla. Add a few splashes of food colouring if desired. Depending on the cake type, I like to add 1 tsp lemon juice to the icing, and some lemon zest on top of the cake once it’s iced. If the icing is very thick, you can always add a splash of milk to loosen.
Tips for Icing the Cake:
Place your bottom layer on a cake round or plate for icing. Level the bottom layer if needed by cutting off the rounded top (depending on how much the cake has risen). Add a layer of icing to the bottom layer, and then add the top layer on top. Do a ‘crumb’ layer of icing by icing the whole cake without worrying about appearances. Put in the fridge for about 15-30 mins to set and then do your final layer of icing (wipe the knife or icing knife with a warm cloth in between to avoid crumbs). If, after your “crumb” layer, you don’t have enough icing, you can always make more while the “crumb” layer is setting.