We’re eating fudgy, moist Earl Grey chocolate layer cake filled with lavender ganache and frosted with cream cheese icing.
On my other website, FoodPornDaily, I often get email requests for the food featured in the daily images. An old one that I still get requests for is the Earl Grey chocolate cake. There is something magical about the way that Earl Grey tea combines with chocolate to make a mildly floral yet roasty fudgy flavor that my tongue just can’t get enough of. And seriously, I’m not a chocolate lover. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a hater either! It’s just that I can either take or leave chocolate. I never crave it but if it appears in front of me in a delicious dessert, I’m not going to say no to at least a bite. This cake appears to be the exception… I find myself craving it every few weeks…but I’m gonna blame that on my deep-seated love of Earl Grey tea.
In the recipe below I call for lavender extract in the ganache. To be frank – when I made this and put the extract in both the cream cheese frosting and the ganache, I thought the whole thing was a little too floral. I don’t mind hints of floral in my food but if it’s like I’m eating a f*cking wedding bouquet I’d rather not have it in my mouth, ya know? Anyway, for the recipes that follow – I am suggesting that you NOT use the lavender extract in the cream cheese frosting and only use a small amount in the ganache. If you don’t have it on hand then I wouldn’t make a special trip out to find it. Just omit the extract all together and you still won’t be disappointed in the cake. Oh yeah – and don’t worry about dying the cream cheese frosting purple – turns out people will likely make fun of you for making a “Barney” cake.
*This post is dedicated to Samantha Penney and Gwen Miller for continuing to remind me to get this recipe posted! Thanks, ladies, sometimes I need a little kick in the pants.
Tea leaves from 6 bags of Earl Grey tea, ground into a fine powder using a spice mill/coffee grinder
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (packed) brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
Lavender Ganache (recipe follows)
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with butter then line the bottoms of each pan with a circle of parchment paper. Set aside.
Place butter and tea powder into a small sauce pan over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes until the butter has melted and the tea flavors have infused into the butter, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
While the butter is cooling, place the cake flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine evenly.
In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and buttermilk. Add buttermilk mixture and the cooled tea-infused butter to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk or beat until just combined. The batter will be slightly lump and that is okay. Do not over work the batter or the cake will be tough and dense rather than light and fluffy.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
Bake cakes at 325 degrees for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean with only a few crumbs but no batter.
Cool on a rack for at least one hour. To remove cakes from pans, run a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen then place a plate over each cake pan and invert onto the plate. Peel off parchment paper and discard.
Place one cake onto serving dish. Tuck strips of parchment paper under bottom edges of the cake to protect the serving dish from getting messy while frosting.
Evenly spread the ganache over top of the first cake. Place the second cake over the ganache bottom layer. Evenly spread cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of the cake. For best results, use an offset spatula. You may not use all of the frosting. Once frosted, carefully remove and discard the parchment paper lining the bottom of the cake.
The cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 12 hours before serving or refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.
4 oz heavy cream
6 oz good semi-sweet chocolate, chopped in chunks (or chips)
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp lavender extract
Place chocolate and sugar in a heat proof bowl and set aside.
Heat cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour simmering cream over chocolate-sugar mixture. Let sit for 60 seconds then whisk until all chocolate is melted and the ganache is shiny and smooth. Add lavender extract and stir until incorporated. Let chill for 20 minutes, until thickened slightly, before using as a filling for cake.
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
16 oz powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium speed until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.