Hiii! Apologies again for the silence - I have been doing a load of travelling recently, and it feels as if I'm only just managing to stay on top of things! I just got back from an amazing weekend in Colorado celebrating Tieghan's new book! I have a few days back in the city, where I have been recovering from mild altitude sickness (I am NOT built for the mountains), doing laundry, and hugging the cats, then on Saturday we head off again to Charleston for the Saveur Awards! I am so, so excited - I will pop as much as I can up on IG stories if you would like to follow along there!
I'm going to keep this one short - I have been meaning to share this Earl Grey cake with you for the longest time, but haven't gotten around to making it to post. This is one of my absolute faves, and always seems to wow even the most skeptical of cake eater. This cake holds a special spot in my heart - it was the top tier flavour of our wedding cake, and I made it again two weekends ago to include in a friend's wedding cake!
The Cake itself is flavoured with an earl-grey infused milk, reinforced by ground tea leaves in the cake itself. The result is a beautifully coloured, delicately flavoured cake, which serves as the perfect canvas for whatever you would like to pair it with. For this version I actually took the filling of the vanilla cake that I made, which was a quick raspberry jam situation, and used it in this Earl Grey cake - the slight tartness of the raspberry offsets the bergamot flavour of the cake. Creamy silky German Buttercream finishes off the flavour profile. German buttercream is most definitely my favourite - it is pastry cream based, so doesn't have that intense buttery taste of swiss or italian buttercream. You can infuse it with all sorts of things, and it's nice and stable at room temp which makes it perfect for using in things like wedding cakes!
Decorate this any way that you like - I had been eyeing up those pretty yellow flowers that I added to the cake every time I walked past them at the corner store, so I paired them with some rice flowers and a little greenery for a super simple semi naked finish.
A few wee notes:
- Both the pastry cream for the buttercream and the raspberry filling will need time to cool completely, so allow time for this - either make them first and cool in a shallow dish (more surface area = faster cooling), or prepare the day before.
- Make sure that the cakes are completely cool before assembling - if possible I like to make them a day ahead or early on in the day so that they can have some time wrapped in plastic in the fridge before assembling.
- Stems of flowers need to be taped before they touch the surface of the cake - florist tape is great for this
Earl Grey Cake with Raspberry Filling and Vanilla German Buttercream
- Makes one 8", three layer cake-
Cake Recipe adapted from Sift and Whisk
Earl Grey Cake
2 cups (500ml) whole milk
12 earl grey tea bags
1 Tbsp Vanilla bean paste
4 1/2 cups (675g) all-purpose flour
3 3/4 tsp baking powder
5 tsp earl grey tea leaves, finely ground
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks / 340g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups (600g) sugar
6 eggs, at room temp
3 cups Frozen Raspberries
1 cup (200g) sugar
Vanilla Bean German Buttercream
1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk
1 Tbsp Vanilla bean paste, extract, or the scrapings of one vanilla bean
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp (225g) sugar
3 Tbsp (24g) corn starch
2 egg yolks
3 cups (675g, or 6 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
pinch of salt
- PROCESS -
EARL GREY CAKE
Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Grease and line three 8" cake pans.
Place the milk in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until just shy of a simmer. Add the earl grey tea bags, and steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags, squeezing to get as much flavour as possible out. Measure out 1.5 cups (360ml) of the infused milk, topping up if necessary. Add the vanilla and cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, sift together the Flour, baking powder, ground tea, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down well after each addition.
Add the flour mixture into the mixer in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions (I like to think of it as a flour / milk sandwich - you always start and end with the flour). Mix until just combined.
Divide the mixture between the three pans. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool in the tins for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack and allowing to cool completely. Level off the tops of the cakes using a cake leveller or bread knife. If not using straight away, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you are ready to use.
Place the frozen raspberries in a medium pan, and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then boil hard for one minute. Add the sugar, and boil for an additional 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a container such as a mason jar, and allow to cool completely.
In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to just shy of a simmer. Remove from the heat.
Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.
Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow dish or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold. If you are in a hurry, you can speed up this process by placing the custard mixture into a bowl, and placing the bowl into an ice bath, stirring frequently.
Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip the custard mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat for a few minutes until smooth and silky.
Fit a piping bag with a round tip, or snip the end off a piping bag. Fill the bag with a few scoops of buttercream - this is going to be used to form a 'dam' to help hold in the filling.
Place the first levelled layer onto a turntable or cake stand. Spread a small amount of buttercream evenly over the surface of the cake using an offset spatula. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the outside edge of the cake - this is the dam. Evenly spread about 1/3 of a cup of the raspberry filling over the thin layer of buttercream, keeping within the dam you have piped. Top with the second layer of cake. Repeat the process (pipe a dam, fill with raspberry filling), then top with the final layer of cake.
Using the offset spatula, spread an even layer of buttercream over the top of the cake, using the spatula to smooth it down. Spread a layer of buttercream over the sides of the cake, then using a bench scraper or cake scraper, smooth the edges of the cake, adding more buttercream when needed. I went for a 'semi naked' look - so I just kept scraping off buttercream and adding it in places where I thought was necessary until I was happy with the look. Level off the top edges of the cake using the offset spatula, holding it level with the top and using it to sharpen the sides.
Chill the cake in the fridge for about an hour to help firm it up.
Transfer to your desired cake stand, and decorate as desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container.