As I’m English I should, stereotypically, adore tea. However, I always find myself reaching for a strong punchy coffee rather than a milky almost bland cup of tea. I’m much more partial to herbal teas; peppermint, ginger, lemon and pomegranate all rank in my top 5.
All this was until I tried using Earl Grey to infuse a sponge. Oh my god, why have I never done this before. I’m just going to use the excuse that because I’m not a tea addict, I haven’t been exposed to the vast variety and flavours that come in tea form.
Earl Grey tea infuses the sponge with a floral and fruity flavour like nothing other than Earl Grey could. I can’t actually compare it to anything I’ve eaten before. Within this cake the dewy honey and the fruity earl grey each shine just as brightly as the other as the flavours meld together in your mouth. This feels like a kitchen revelation for me!
In the shadow of new ventures in baking however, comes disaster. You should always remember the basics. Number one is to butter and line your baking tins! I was so stupid and didn’t butter my cake tin thinking, ‘it’s non-stick… it’ll be fine!’ Little did keen and impatient me know that you shouldn’t trust the label.
So, my cake stuck to the tin and I therefore had to hack it up and create beautiful (kind of) geometric shapes and use those instead. This recipe was too good to let a cake with no top stand in its way. (Yes, you heard me, cake with no top. As in, entire top of cake stuck to cake tin = Naked cake.)
Note: The texture of this cake is very light and spongy. It’s packed full of flavour, however, using good quality flavoursome honey in the buttercream will really elevate it and taste beautiful.
Earl Grey Cake
- 235ml milk
- 3 earl grey tea bags
- 60g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g sugar
- 50ml honey
- 2 large eggs
- 40ml vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 175g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 75g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g icing sugar
- 3-4 tbsp. good quality honey
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C and grease and line a loaf tin with butter and baking parchment. Warm the milk until hot and add in the tea bags. Leave to steep until cool. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Whisk the two eggs together and add into the creamed butter gradually, mixing thoroughly before adding more egg. Mix in the vegetable oil and vanilla. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Beat this into the butter mixture and finally stir in the earl grey milk (discarding the tea bags) until the batter is smooth.
Spoon the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven (or when a knife inserted inside comes out clean.) Cool in the tin before turning out.
To make the honey buttercream:
Place the soft butter and icing sugar together in a small bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Add in the honey (or more depending on your taste and the flavour of the honey) and mix in. Spread over the top of your loaf cake and serve.