This soft 4-layer earl grey cake is infused with tea and filled with layers of chocolate-rosewater mousse. A shiny, luxurious dark chocolate frosting ties it all together.
It’s time I tell you something about the kind of person that I am. I don’t go out a lot. I’m not very social. I’m the kind of person that chooses to stay home and bake cake when all of my friends are going out to dance and listen to live music. That’s not always my choice, but I certainly choose it more often than not. In part, I’m passionate about baking. I find it peaceful and meditative, and I enjoy expressing my creativity in an edible form of art. But mostly, I’m an introvert.
I used to get FOMO, bad. I used to think something was wrong with me. I used to try to push myself to do things that I really didn’t want to do. It took me years of anxiety and shame before I finally realized that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. In fact, some of my very strengths come from my introverted nature. It’s why I’m a great listener. It’s why I’m a keen observer. And once I accepted my own way of being, life got a whole lot better. Now I don’t waste time doing things that don’t really feel exciting in the moment. And I’m not worried that I’m missing out on something, because I can enjoy the choice that I made fully.
So I made this cake, because it was exactly what I wanted to do. And I enjoyed the hell out of every second of it.
The inspiration for this cake started simply out of the need to use my leftover chocolate mousse from my Valentine’s Day chocolate cups. I had stored the leftovers in a mason jar in the freezer to see if it would keep that way. Turns out, that worked just fine. So I decided to spread it in between cake layers, ’cause it’s just been a little too long since I baked a cake. This is the first time I’ve used earl grey tea in baking, and I was pumped on how it turned out. This will not be the last time I make an earl grey cake. It’s subtle floral flavor played along perfectly with the rosewater, and was complemented by dark chocolate. By the way, this is my very favorite chocolate frosting. It’s so silky smooth and shiny and sexy and… all the s’s. The next time you want to stay in and bake a cake instead of whatever else everyone else is doing, try this recipe. It’s flippin’ delish.
Well, I guess there’s just something about cake that makes me wanna open up and share my feelings. I’d like to pretend that you’re here with me, drinking coffee in my living room. Just sharing some of this beautiful cake and talking about the real stuff. Maybe one day soon, you will be.
Earl Grey Cake
1/2 cup whole milk
2 T earl grey tea (3-4 teabags)
3 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
Dark Chocolate Frosting
3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup hot earl grey tea
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
For the cake, grease two 6″ pans and line with parchment. Preheat oven to 350 F. Scald the milk, add the tea, and let steep a few minutes. Strain.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients. Add the soft butter and mix on low until coarse crumbs form.
In a separate bowl, combine strained milk, egg whites, and vanilla. Add all but 1/4 cup of liquid ingredients to the stand mixer and blend on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Pour in remaining milk mixture and blend until combined, 1 minute. Divide batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool completely. Invert and remove from pans, removing parchment from the bottom of the cake.
While waiting for your cakes to cool, you can make your chocolate-rosewater mousse.
For the frosting, cream together the cocoa powder and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until well blended, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the honey, vanilla, and salt; mix until smooth. Add the hot tea gradually, mixing on low and scraping the bowl part way through. Blend well. Add the powdered sugar, mixing on low until blended. Turn the speed up to medium and whip until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes.
Slice each cooled cake layer in half to make four layers. Spread mousse in between layers. Crumb coat the filled cake with a thin layer of chocolate frosting and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Apply final frosting as desired.
Cake can be enjoyed immediately with a cup of coffee or earl grey tea. If not eating right away, store in fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.