Loose Earl Grey tea stirred into buttery cake batter adds a sweet, floral essence that’s subtle but lovely. A little dark chocolate and orange zest makes this cake extra special. While you could use chocolate chips, using chocolate chopped from a bar produces the best result: The varying sizes of chopped chocolate blend in nicely without overpowering the delicate tea flavor.
YIELD 8 to 10 servings
TIME 1 hour, plus chilling
FOR THE FROSTING:
¾ cup/180 milliliters heavy cream
2 teaspoons loose Earl Grey tea
¼ cup/30 grams confectioners’ sugar
½ cup/115 grams mascarpone or softened cream cheese (see Tip)
FOR THE CAKE:
½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1 ½ cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon loose Earl Grey tea
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest (from 1 large orange)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup/120 millilitres whole milk, at room temperature
¼ cup/45 grams chopped dark chocolate
Prepare the frosting: In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup/120 milliliters heavy cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in the tea, remove from the heat, cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Strain the tea through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids, and chill the remaining cream until completely cold, at least 1 hour.
Prepare the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, tea, baking powder and salt.
In large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the orange zest and beat to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the flour mixture on low, until just combined, then beat in the milk. (Don’t overmix.) Add the chocolate and fold it in using a spatula. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake just until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Then tip the cake out onto the rack to cool completely.
To finish the frosting, add the remaining 1/4 cup/60 milliliters cream and the confectioners’ sugar to the tea cream. With an electric mixer on medium, beat the cream mixture until medium-stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mascarpone and beat just until stiff peaks form. (Do not overmix.) Top the cake with the frosting to serve. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days; let come to room temperature before serving.
If using cream cheese instead of mascarpone, because it has a thicker consistency, whip the cream cheese with the confectioners' sugar first, then add the whipped tea cream.