London Fog Cake. Chocolate cake with Earl Grey buttercream and salted caramel, a recipe from the new cake book Layered by our contributor, Tessa Huff.
Hi everyone! Today’s layer cake recipe is one that is near and dear to my heart. It comes straight from the pages of my new cookbook, “Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes.” After nearly two years in the making, I am so excited to share it here on The Cake Blog.
I’ve been writing about cakes on The Cake Blog for over three years now. Looking back to some of my first posts, you can clearly see how the recipes and photography have evolved. Between your (the readers) feedback and Carrie’s continuous support, I’ve been able to take the concept of layer cakes and turn it into an entire 288-page, hardcover book! As a thank you for all of my time spent here so far, sharing stories about buttercream and flavorful fillings, I am thrilled to be giving you a peak inside “Layered.”
As indicated by the title, the book is all about layer cakes! I’m talking two, three, and more layers of cakes, fillings, and frostings. The sky-high, sugar-clad cake confections of your dreams! If you’ve been reading my posts here for some time, then you know how much I love to combine different flavors and textures within a layer cake, and “Layered” is no different. From flavors like Pink Peppercorn Cherry Cake to Bourbon Butterscotch Cake, there is a recipe for each and every occasion – 60 cakes with over 150 different recipes from fillings to edible garnishes, to be exact!
To go along with all of the carefully crafted flavour pairings (although there are some great classics too, like Red Velvet and Hummingbird Cake), each cake has been decorated and styled for its own color photo. Yes, there is a picture (or two) for each cake! Here, you can follow along with the step-by-step instructions for achieving a variety of frosting finishes and design elements. Not finding exactly what you are looking for? Feel free to mix and match the recipes and decorations to create your own custom cake!
To get you all even more intrigued and excited, I’m sharing the recipe for the London Fog Cake. In a book of 60 different cake combinations, this is definitely in my top five.
Have you ever had a London Fog before? It is a vanilla-sweetened Earl Grey tea latte. They are one of my favorite things to sip and I was inspired to turn those flavors into an irresistible buttercream. The distinctive yet subtle flavors of the bergamont orange scented black tea really shines through. If you are an Earl Grey fan, this cake is a must!
Tea-flecked and silky smooth, Earl Grey buttercream is slathered between layers of classic chocolate cake before being blanketed over the entire thing. The cake layers themselves are extremely moist and versatile – the quintessential cake to fulfill any chocolate craving. To top it all off, homemade Salted Caramel Sauce! Any recipe that calls for boiling sugar might sound a little scary, but it really isn’t as hard to make as you might think. Several of the recipes throughout the book call for this staple recipe, and once you make your own, you’ll abandon the store-bought stuff for good. Trust me, fudgy chocolate cake, creamy Earl Grey, and salted caramel – it doesn’t get much better than this!
LONDON FOG CAKE
a recipe from Layered, by Tessa Huff
For the Classic Chocolate Cake:
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 cup hot strong-brewed coffee
- Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch cakes pans and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the oil and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on, add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, stream in the coffee. Mix on medium-low for no more than 30 seconds, or until combined.
- Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack fro 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
For the Earl Grey Buttercream:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup loose Earl Grey tea
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) egg whites, from about 4 to 5 large eggs
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or seeds from ½ vanilla bean
- Place 1 cup of the butter in a saucepan with the loose tea. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the tea steep for 5 minutes more. Strain the butter through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl and refrigerate it until is reached the same consistency as softened butter, 20 to 30 minutes. Small bits of tea may remain in the butter.
- Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk them together by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place it over medium-high heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it registers about 155-160 degrees on a candy thermometer or is hot to the touch. Carefully fit the mixer bowl onto the stand mixer.
- With the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until it holds medium-stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should return to room temperature and no residual heat should be escaping from the meringue out of the top of the bowl. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, tea-infused butter, and 1 cup butter, a couple tablespoons at a time. Once incorporated, turn the mixer to medium-high and bet until the buttercream is silky smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes.
For the Salted Caramel Sauce:
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
¾ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir to combine.
- Heat over high heat, occasionally swirling the pan, until it turns a medium golden amber color (about 8 to 10 minutes). The sugar mixture will begin to rapidly boil before slowing down and darkening in color. Remove the saucepan from the heat once the correct color is reached and the bubbles start to subside (the darker the color, the deeper the caramel flavor).
- Slowly and carefully whisk in the cream.
- The mixture will foam up and sputter, so stand clear and keep stirring.
- Add the butter and continue to stir until melted. Add the salt and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour the caramel into a heat-safe container and let it cool until it reaches your desired consistency or refrigerate until use. It will thicken as it cools.
For the Assembly:
- Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate or serving dish. Spread on about ½ to ¾ cup of the buttercream with an offset spatula. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat.
- Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream. Using an icing comb to crate the stripe finish (if desired) and refrigerate until set, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Pour caramel sauce over the chilled cake, starting with about a ½ cup, letting it drip over the edges. Add more caramel as necessary.
Thank you all for your years of support and helping make Layered happen!
Recipe excerpted from Layered, by Tessa Huff. © 2016 by Tessa Huff. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang – an imprint of ABRAMS. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.