Earl Grey Tea Cake

I’ve talked a few times about my beloved great aunt Jean. She was my Nana Lulu’s sister-in-law from England and I just adored everything about her. The way she spoke was always gentle, kind and polite in her accent that I could listen to for hours. She taught me all the wonderful things about her home country from the monarchy, to bacon butty sandwiches, to how to do a proper afternoon tea. If she were around today I have no doubt that she and I would revel in watching the Great British Bake Off together. So I decided to whip up this gorgeous earl grey tea cake in honor of her and inspired by my favorite TV show. It is actually a very simple cake that really let all of the notes of earl grey tea, lemon and lavender shine through with a simple, fluffy whipped cream for the icing!

The key to a good sponge cake is to get lots of air into it and not weigh it down. So instead of the normal paddle attachment on my stand mixer that I usually use for a regular cake, I used the whisk attachment to whip it up really well. I also poured my dry ingredients in through a fine mesh strainer right into a bowl so it was as fine and light as possible when it went it. Sponge cakes do require precision, so you will find a lot of the big measurements in grams. I highly recommend getting a cheap kitchen scale for this recipe.
It took about 25 minutes for the cake layers to bake perfectly on a lower 320 temperature. Sponge cake can be a little temperamental in the oven. I made sure to not open the door or turn on the oven light until 25 minutes had passed, otherwise it might have collapsed. I let the layers cool completely.
While the cake layers baked and cooled, I made a simple and flavorful earl grey syrup. All I did was boil a bag of earl grey tea in a mixture of water and sugar until it thickened. This syrup was the key to the whole cake, friends. I had a delectable purpose for it.
Once the syrup was done and cooling, I quickly whipped up a pint of heavy cream with sugar and lemon zest to make the airy icing. It looked like clouds!

After all that, the assembly was easy. I put the first layer on a cake plate and poked holes all over it. Then I drizzled the syrup on it so that it soaked into the sponge. After a big layer of whipped cream, I did the same with the second layer. For a nice finish, I sprinkled more lemon zest and ground lavender on top! Oh my goodness, my Aunt Jean would have loved this cake for tea time. The sponge and whipped cream were both so airy and the delicate flavors of earl grey, lemon and lavender all sang together gorgeously. It made me feel like spring is coming, I think I am going to recreate this cake for Easter! Hope you all love it too. xoxo

Earl Grey Tea Cake
5 from 4 votes
Earl Grey Tea Cake
Earl Grey Tea Cake
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr

This earl grey tea cake is such a gorgeous confection with notes of lemon and lavender in the sponge cake, all layered with a fluffy lemon whipped cream.

Course: Dessert
Keyword: Earl Grey Tea Cake, Tea Cake
Servings: 10
Calories: 478 kcal
Author: Jeanie and Lulu’s Kitchen
  • 250 grams self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 250 grams super fine sugar
  • 250 grams unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 5 whole eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 bag earl grey tea cut open to add in just the tea leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground lavender
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup super fine sugar
  • 1 whole earl grey tea bag
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • 16 fluid ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons super fine sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground lavender for sprinkling on top
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 320 and line two 9 inch cake pans with parchment. Spray the cake pans well with unflavored cooking spray. Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set it aside. Then set up a stand mixer and fit it with the whisk attachment. Combine the sugar and butter in its bowl and beat them together until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Let it all get whipped up on a higher speed for a minute, then turn off the mixer. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl through a fine mesh strainer so that it is very fine and light. Fold it in with a spatula. Then fold in the lemon zest, lavender and the milk to moisten it. Divide the batter evenly among the two prepared cake pans and bake the layers for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not open the oven door or turn on the light until 25 minutes in to check them. Let them cool completely. 

  2. While the cakes bake and cool, make the earl grey syrup. Combine the water, sugar, tea bag and vanilla in a small saucepan and heat it over medium high heat. Let it come to a gentle boil while you stir it. Once it starts to coat the spoon and thickens into a syrup, take it off the heat to cool. Then make the whipped cream. Combine the heavy cream, sugar and 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest in a mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to whip it up into stiff peaks. It should be airy but not runny at all. Then it is time to assemble this baby!  

  3. Place the first layer flat side up on a cake plate and poke holes all over it. Drizzle in half the syrup to soak into the sponge. Then spread half the whipped cream on it evenly. Place the second layer on flat side down. Poke holes and drizzle the remaining syrup into the sponge. Spread the remaining whipped cream on top, then sprinkle the remaining lemon zest and the ground lavender on top. You could also decorate with lemon wedges or candies lemon peel! Serve and enjoy. It also keeps for 2 days covered in the refrigerator! 

Nutrition Facts
Earl Grey Tea Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 478 Calories from Fat 302
% Daily Value*
Fat 33.5g52%
Saturated Fat 20.5g128%
Cholesterol 168mg56%
Sodium 164mg7%
Potassium 107mg3%
Carbohydrates 37.7g13%
Fiber 4.8g20%
Sugar 26.9g30%
Protein 3.5g7%
Calcium 50mg5%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This earl grey tea cake is such a gorgeous confection with notes of lemon and lavender in the sponge cake, all layered with a fluffy lemon whipped cream. #cake #teacake #earlgrey #earlgreyteacake #jeanieandluluskitchen
Earl Grey Tea Cake

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