Earl Grey Chocolate Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting, adapted from shutterbean.com
I’ll be honest: this cake drove me a little crazy. I baked my initial attempt in a bundt pan, which resulted in a rather epic cake failure (and some gnashing of teeth. First item on this week’s agenda: get a new bundt pan. Mine is very old and sticky.). I then re-made it in two, 7-inch cake pans, which was fine; whilst baking the kitchen was perfumed nicely with the contrasting scents of Earl Grey tea and chocolate. Since the bundt shape didn’t work out, I decided to slice the cake into layers and fill them with a lemony, cream cheese icing (my thinking being that lemon would pair well with the tea flavor – it did). The frosting was a bit gooey for my taste, so I might use less cream cheese next time, but it was still very good. I sliced one cake in thirds (stuck the other one in the freezer) and filled it with the frosting and a smidge of chocolate ganache I had leftover from another baking project. Lemon and chocolate together is slightly unexpected, but I liked the contrast.
The cake itself is not too sturdy, however, so if you make this, I recommend baking the batter in a bundt pan as the original recipe suggests – grease the hell out of it – or in a deep, spring-form cake pan. Then either simply dust with powdered sugar or spread just one layer of frosting across its top (alternatively, freeze for 20 minutes and gingerly slice it, as I did). I’ll admit this wasn’t a perfect-looking cake (and it barely survived the packed bus ride into work) but we all enjoyed it nonetheless. Still, I was hoping for a stronger tea flavor (the chocolate provided some stiff competition) so I have plans for a yellow, tea-infused cake frosted with a lemon-rosemary buttercream … stay tuned.
Makes 10 servings.
For the cake
6 Earl Grey tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
Heat oven to 350° F.
Steep the tea in the water for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags or strain the leaves and set tea aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well. Blend in the chocolate. Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, in three additions. Add the tea and mix well to combine. Pour into pan.
Bake 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack and let cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting
makes about 3 cups
1 package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
zest of one (organic) lemon
juice of one lemon
2-3 cups confectioner’s sugar
In a large mixing bowl, cream the cheese and butter. Add the lemon zest and juice, mixing well, then add the sugar one cup at a time. Add more sugar to reach desired consistency and taste.
Lesli says: It’s very sophisticated. The tea and lemon flavors really go well … it almost tastes healthy or clean.