Lavender Earl Grey Cake

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Lavender Earl Grey Cake

Skip to the recipe

It’s my birthday! I’m 23 today, and sometimes I feel like I should still be a dorky little kid running around. I guess I’m just a dorky adult running around now. This year will be filled with a lot of change, from my new job as a patent agent (law school possibly here I come!), moving into a super cool townhouse in the city, and who knows what else. Of course, this all on top of the frequent changes happening due to the pandemic. I’m hoping that I grow as a person this year too and focus on being more graceful, compassionate, and patient.

But today, I’m honestly just hoping to eat some cake and finish moving out :D My Barcelona Wine Bar birthday night out will have to be put on hold for now, but as long as I’m with Sean, can take care of my flowers and veggies, and drink some wine, I’ll be more than content.

ALSO, THIS CAKE IS MY ALL TIME FAVORITE! I’ve been mentioning for a while now on the blog that this cake was coming, and here it is. My Lavender Earl Grey Cake journey started when I was a senior in high school during the Cupkates DECA days. I like experimenting with herbs and more floral and savory flavors in my cakes and this was one of my creations. It became a big cupcake Friday hit and I even made them for a friend’s wedding, which was such an amazing experience! I’ve since baked this recipe for countless birthdays, potlucks, and friendly bake-offs and it has simply become my favorite. And I’m so happy to now share it with you!

On another note, this flowery cake reminds me of Amy Ho and her blog Constellation Inspiration. Her new baking book “Blooms and Baking” just came out and it is full of adorable, beautiful creations that combine flowers with cakes, cookies, and any other sweet you can imagine. I highly recommend it!

This cake does require a few special steps, but it’s worth it. First, I’m not one to normally have cake flour on hand, so instead I just sift my flour and baking powder together in this recipe to keep the texture nice and light.

When it comes to the lavender and earl grey components of this cake there is definitely room for adjustment depending on what ingredients you have available to you. This recipe follows how I prefer to bake these cupcakes, but here are some few changes you can make:

I use my favorite earl grey tea, but really any black tea works in this recipe. If you prefer Lord Bergamot or even a lavender earl grey tea, those would be delicious! To get an extra earl grey flavor in my cake I actually steep a tea bag in the milk for about an hour (or even overnight) before baking the cake. This isn’t necessary but does kick up the tea flavor a bit.

Next, there are a lot of different ways you can get the lavender flavor in this cake. The first (and probably easiest), option a.) is just to find an earl grey tea with lavender in it and leave it at that. It’ll be a more subtle flavor in this case, but still very good!

The next option b.) is to infuse the tea or milk with lavender flowers overnight before baking. For this option add 1 tablespoon of lavender flowers to the milk or tea (doesn’t matter which one) and allow it to sit overnight (or for at least an hour before baking). Then when you’re ready to bake, just strain the liquid so the full flowers do not end up in the batter. This will give you a bit of a stronger lavender flavor than the first option without being overpowering. This is the method I explain in the recipe below!

Option c.) is to finely crush lavender flowers and use them directly in the batter. In this case, grind up 1 tablespoon of lavender flowers in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle until it is as fine as possible. Then add that straight to the batter along with the all-purpose flour. This will also give you a stronger lavender flavor than option a.

Any of these 3 options a, b, or c is a great way to get that lavender flavor into your cake. I don’t recommend using more than one of these options, though, as you don’t want to make your cake too overpowered with floral notes.

One thing you can do is add 1 1/2 teaspoons of lavender sugar to the batter in addition to one of the other options above. It’s a tough ingredient to find sometimes, but I always get mine at a local spice shop (and you can find it online, too). This adds just a bit more of a lavender kick to your cake but balances the perfume-y notes of lavender with a bit more sweetness.

Finally, this recipe makes about 18 cupcakes or 1 9”-round cake and is delicious in any shape or form.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

xoxo Katie


The Recipe

Lavender Earl Grey Cake

This light and soft cake is filled with floral lavender and earl grey notes and topped with a silky, smooth buttercream. It’s a beautiful spring and summer cake that will always have a special place in my heart.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: About 18 cupcakes or 1 9”-round cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup strong earl grey tea, cooled
  • 1 tablespoon lavender flowers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lavender sugar, optional

For the buttercream

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons strong earl grey tea, cooled

Instructions

  1. At least 1 hour prior to baking (overnight if possible), add the lavender flowers to the whole milk and allow to steep. When ready to use, strain the milk into another container to remove the lavender. (If you cannot find lavender flowers, you can use lavender earl grey tea in place of the regular tea and skip this step.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two 12-cup standard cupcake tins or a 9” round cake pan with baking cups or parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl and a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and lavender-steeped milk to the butter mixture in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the flour, and mix until just combined. Add in the earl grey tea and lavender sugar, if using, and mix until combined for about 1 more minute. Make sure to scrape the bowl and incorporate all ingredients.
  6. Fill the baking cups or cake pan with the batter about three-quarters of the way full. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes for the cupcakes or about 30 to 35 minutes for the cake until a toothpick comes out clean with maybe a few crumbs attached. Cool in the baking pans for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the buttercream, beat the butter and powdered sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add in salt, whipping cream, and earl grey tea, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. If the mixture is too runny, add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time.
  8. Decorate as desired. Store cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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