Since it's officially Autumn I've decided to theme this post around the chillier days ahead, that will be spent inside with a book and a warm cup of tea, in particular Early Grey Tea. Earl Grey is my absolute favorite tea not only because of the taste but because the aroma brings about a swirl of memories from my childhood and the days spent playing hookey from school to watch soap operas and drink tea with mom.
Early Grey is delicious on its own, but even more delightful as A London Fog/Latte, which is exactly the flavor I wanted to create in this cake. The inspiration for this recipe comes from one of my favorite Cafe's in the city, Block 1912's, Lavender London Fog. The original London Fog Tea cake recipe, apart from the lavender, is not mine to brag about as I found it on the adorable blog Humming Bird High.
I should also mention my recent obsession with Lavender. I recently acquired some from a local bake shop and have been sneaking whiffs of the amazing plant ever since, dreaming of this recipe and many more that I can incorporate it into. So lucky for you this is just one of many lavender infused recipes that will be coming your way!
What You Need for the Tea Cake:
9-inch square cake pan
- 3 Earl Grey tea bags (I use Twinnings)
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 5 large eggs, divided into 5 egg yolks and 5 egg whites
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided into 2 tablespoons and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons portions
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ( I used home made vanilla, a little shout out to my amazing god mother who supplied it! Definitely makes a difference)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (I only used a pinch)
- 1 1/3 cup cake flour (this is important, cake/pastry flour ensures you have a fluffy cake)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
What you need for the Lavender Whipped Cream Topping:
(makes enough to top a 9-inch cake)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold - about 2 hours before, incorporate 1 tablespoon of lavender into the cold cream, cover and and let sit. The more lavender you use the stronger the flavor (strain before using)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 drop of violet food colouring
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 325 (F). Prepare a 9-inch square pan by spraying with cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper; spray the parchment paper with cooking spray as well.
- Steep 3 Earl Grey tea bags in 3/4 cup boiling water along with a 1/4 tablespoon of dried lavender. Allow to cool to room temperature completely. Remove the bags, squeezing out as much liquid as possible before discarding and strain the lavender from the tea.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 5 large egg yolks and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until thick and pale. Slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup vegetable oil and continue to whisk until completely incorporated. Pour in the cooled tea, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and teaspoon (or pinch) of salt. Sprinkle 1 1/3 cup cake flour and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder over the mixture, before using a rubber spatula to fold in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER MIX — at this point, it's okay to have one or two flour streaks left in the mixture. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the remaining 5 egg whites on medium-high speed until the eggs begin to foam, before thickening and stiffening. Once the egg whites have started to stiffen, add the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar slowly, one teaspoon at a time, while still beating at medium-high speed. Continue beating until stiff, glossy and shiny peaks form — at this point, the mixture should have tripled in size. In this step, you're basically making a stiff meringue.
- Once you've made a perfectly stiff meringue, turn off the mixer. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the flour mixture (from the 3rd step) in thirds. Pour the batter into the pan and lightly tap it on your counter top one or two times to remove any errant air bubbles.
- Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until the top of the cake bounces back when gently poked and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to completely cool in its pan before icing.
What to do for the Lavender Whipped Cream:
- In the bowl of an electronic mixer, combine 1 cup of heavy lavender infused whipping cream, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a drop of violet food colouring. Whisk on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, before transferring to the top of the cake and sprinkling with Lavender (not too much as the Lavender leaves can be overwhelming in flavor and texture).
Serve with a steaming cup of Early Grey tea (or your favorite tea, this recipe can also be tweaked using any type of tea) and your favorite book. Bon Appetit!
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