Earl Grey tea is one of the most popular black teas available and with its hint of bergamot it lends itself beautifully to a myriad of fun desserts and baked goods — like this Earl Grey Honey Tea Cake with Lavender Buttercream.
For this particular recipe we used Plum Deluxe’s Mindful Morning tea blend; however, the Delightful Morning blend with its pinch of Oregon lavender or even the Gratitude Blend that contains a notes of strawberry would be great options, too. They also make great companions to serve with this honey lavender cake, though any number of teas — floral or not — would pair wonderfully.
We went with a lightly spiced honey cake for this decadent dessert. Honey cakes are known to be incredibly moist with just the right amount of sweetness. This particular cake has those same benefits with just a hint of spice to balance out the floral flavors of the lavender buttercream. The combination is wonderfully heavenly and light, making it the perfect thing to round out nearly any get together, whether it’s a light teatime brunch or a big holiday meal.
We chose to keep the frosting to a minimum so that the lavender flavor did not overtake the rest of the cake, but of course feel free to completely frost the cake if that’s what you’re looking for; just double the recipe for the buttercream frosting. Alternatively this cake is wonderful if served in a single sheet or loaf pan without frosting. A small drizzle of floral honey does a wonderful job of replacing the frosting.
We also tried to keep this lavender tea cake recipe easy by mixing the batter in one bowl that can be washed and reused for the frosting while the cake is resting. Definitely let the cake cool completely or the frosting will run and separate; a cool cake ensures that the frosting stays nice and pillow-y.
Earl Grey Honey Cake with Lavender Buttercream Frosting
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup strongly brewed Earl Grey tea
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 3/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender, minced (can substitute 1-2 drops of essential oil)
- 1-2 teaspoons milk (if needed)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. (Fits two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch bundt cake pan, or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake.)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Add the oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, tea, and orange juice. Mix well on the slowest speed. When well combined the batter will be thick and without lumps.
Spoon batter into the prepared pan(s) and place in the oven. For cake and bundt pans bake for 60 to 75 minutes; for sheet cake back for 40 to 45 minutes. The cake is done when it springs back when gently touched in the center.
Let cake stand for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before frosting.
Lavender Buttercream Frosting
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and begin mixing. Slowly add the powdered sugar and lavender. Allow to mix, while scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture becomes fluffy and peaked. Add milk in small increments if the frosting seems too thick.
Once the cake is cooled completely, frost the cake as desired.