Our contributor, Tessa Huff, is sharing a new cake recipe today…
Have you ever been to a proper high tea? The kind with mini sandwiches, bite-sized desserts, and of course – tea? I finally had the chance to go with my mom over the holidays and it was magical. We were presented with an array of premium teas in a gorgeous wooden box upon arrival, followed by a tower of treats placed on our table. We chatted while we slowly savored each perfectly prepared bite and sipped our tea. Everything tasted delicious and the time spent with my mom will be forever cherished.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with something reminiscent of that memorable day. If you can’t take mom out to a high tea this year, why not make a tea-inspired treat of your own? This Raspberry Earl Grey cake just might the next best thing. The infused butter cake is paired with a touch of sweet raspberry and vanilla-specked buttercream. Unlike a heavy chocolate dessert or a cake drenched in caramel, the flavors are bold yet still light and delicate. The perfect ending to a Mother’s Day brunch or afternoon tea.
Infusing desserts with teas and herbs is a unique and easy way to add flavor and make new creations. I’ve steeped the Earl Grey in milk and even added some finely ground tea to flavor this vanilla cake. More tea was added to create a concentrated Earl Grey simple syrup used to flavor and moistened the cake and create the buttercream. For the filling, I used simple raspberry preserves to balance out the robust, slightly citrus black tea and to add a pop of tartness to each bite. Since the cake is not overly sweet, feel free to pipe on some extra buttercream – like delicate ruffles or rosettes. Serve with fresh raspberries, if desired!
RASPBERRY EARL GREY CAKE
a recipe by Tessa Huff
For the Earl Grey Cake:
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey Tea
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon finely ground Earl Grey Tea
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 6-inch cake pans with butter and flour. Set aside.
- Place the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gently bring to a slight boil and add in the 1 1/2 tablespoons tea. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue to steep for an additional 5-10 minutes then strain. Set infused milk aside.
- Meanwhile, gently whisk the eggs and yolk together. Set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and ground tea into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until combined. Add in the butter, vanilla, and infused milk with the mixer on low until the dry ingredients are moistened. Turn mixer to medium-high and mix for about 1 minute until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to medium. In two additions, add in the egg mixture, mixing for about 20 seconds before the next addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Do not over mix.
- Evenly distribute batter between the three cake pans. Bake for about 22-24 minutes, or until done and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack 10-15 minutes before removing cakes from their pans.
For the Earl Grey Syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon loose Earl Grey Tea
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and bring mixture down to a simmer. Add in the tea and continue to reduce the syrup for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep until cool. Strain out tea and discard.
For the Frosting:
3 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
3 tablespoons Earl Grey Syrup – or to taste
Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk to combine. Heat a few inches of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler. Whisking constantly, heat the egg mixture until it reaches about 155 degrees on a candy thermometer, or is hot to the touch. Once hot, transfer the mixing bowl back to the mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat on high until the outside of the mixing bowl returns to room temperature – about 10 minutes – and you have medium-stiff glossy peaks.
Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low, add in the butter and vanilla bean. Mix on medium-high until silky smooth. Add in the syrup and mix until combined.
Generously brush the cake layers with any remaining syrup. Fill the layers with raspberry preserves and frost with the buttercream. Garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired.