Earl Grey cake

March 4, 2011  •  Category:


When I saw Chef Ornella Hubel present a recipe for Earl Grey cake, I felt this instant flood of regressive memories; my mother used to entertain her girlfriends with weekly tea parties (such was the life in Beirut in those days) and she always served Earl Grey tea and an English cake with diced candied fruits from a can (which I disliked); of course she used her blue and white china set. The parties eventually turned into bridge parties.

My guess is Earl Grey is very popular throughout the Middle East, because it is always prominently displayed at the Arab markets in the US. In any case, this was the tea we drank at home.

Not to say that you need to buy Earl Grey tea to make this cake! The technique can be applied to your favorite tea. The idea here is to infuse the cream with tea, and then the syrup. Kind of like getting a double shot. Plus, a bit of tea leaves go in the batter as well.

If your oven bakes unevenly as mine does, cautiously place a cookie sheet on the oven shelf and then place the cake pans on top.

INGREDIENTS: Yield 3 mini loaf pans or 2 medium loaf pans (18 servings)

  • All-purpose flour (270 g. or 9.5 ounces)
  • 5 Large eggs
  • sugar (350 g. or 12.4 ounces)
  • whipping cream(150 g. or 2/3 cup-use a measuring cup for liquids)
  • yogurt or melted butter (100 g. or 3.6 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Earl Grey tea
  • For the syrup: 1 1/2  cups of water and 1 cup of sugar plus 1 tablespoon of tea


  1. Place the cream in a microwaveable jug and set the tea on top; heat it for a minute and let the tea infuse in the cream for at least one hour or overnight if possible.
  2. Place the eggs in a mixer bowl and beat for one minute; add the sugar, salt, and beat some more, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and mix. Add the flour and baking powder and mix. Add the yogurt and mix.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375F and bake the cake in a pan that has been lined with parchment paper. After 10 minutes of baking, cut a line throughout the middle of the cake to help it bake more evenly. Bake 35 minutes until golden and puffed up and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  4. Remove from the oven and drizzle the syrup all over the cake. Let it sit undisturbed for several hours or overnight. Serve.

For making the syrup: Place the sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil, adding a teaspoon of lemon juice, and add the tea leaves; boil for 10 minutes and cool. Pour over the cake.


53 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Cherine says:

    This cake looks so moist and flavorful!!

  2. Diane says:

    I am not a tea drinker other than herbal, but I might actually like it this way. I just may give this a try as it looks interesting. Diane

  3. Rosa says:

    That cake looks delicious and must have a delightful flavor!



  4. Simply Life says:

    wow, I’ve never seen anything like this – how creative!

  5. Joanne says:

    I love the idea of infusing tea into dessert and I bet a slice of this beauty makes for the perfect midday snack!

  6. Louise says:

    Earl Grey Tea Cake, now doesn’t that sounds inviting.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Joumana. It looks delightful!

  7. Devaki says:

    Dear Joumana – we seem to have the same childhood memories and yes such was the life in Bombay as well….oh the days of the gymkhanas and afternoon bridge 🙂

    This is marvelous with Earl Grey, that heady fragrance and so moist and beautiful – this one’s making an appearance at our table soon 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  8. Claudia says:

    A true afternoon tea bread! Love the consistency with a few tea leaves strewn about. And it’s deliciously moist – not dry. There is something so civilized about afternoon tea. It should be a required meal.

  9. Caffettiera says:

    Also in Italy Earl Grey is the most popular tea, I think. I guess it is because we don’t really like the bitterness of tea and need it strongly flavoured,always with lemon and sugar (!). Maybe for this reason, I really like the idea of Earl Grey flavoured cakes.
    Now I buy posh unflavoured teas, but you made me crave some Earl Grey so badly..

  10. Susan says:

    Earl Grey has been my tea of choice lately so this sounds wonderful to me! Now I’m wondering how this would taste with some lemon in it just like I drink my tea 🙂

    I’m with you on the canned fruit! I think all of our mothers used it!

  11. Scienter says:

    This looks fantastic! One of my friends loves Earl Grey tea, I should try to make this.

  12. Tall Clover says:

    To market to market to buy a fine parcel of earl grey, oh and rice flour too. Joumana, if I keep this up during growing season, my garden will pay dearly for the distraction of your wonderful recipes and blog!

  13. Peter says:

    I think the subtle flavour of tea is a wonderful way to invigorate the usual tea/coffee cake and it almost looks like you have poppy seeds in there too!

  14. Priya says:

    Cale looks super spongy and yumm!

  15. Chiara says:

    It looks delightful Joumana!This cake must have a delightful flavor! A hug from Italy…

  16. domi says:

    Bonsoir Joumana, un p’tit gâteau gourmand pour se mettre au vert, assurĂ©ment voilĂ  ” cake ” chose de bon…bisous et passe une douce soirĂ©e

  17. Dimah says:

    Wow, this cake looks fabulous!

  18. sonia says:

    wow..the cake is looking so inviting. I have never tried this recipe but wud love to have it anytime…great post !

  19. Victor says:

    Earl grey is one of my favorite tea. Infuse in cake must sound delicious.

  20. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    This is definitely my kind of cake, I would love the flavours!

  21. weirdcombos says:

    Good idea Joumana. I bet it tastes great! The other day I saw a post where they made a miso soup infused with green tea. I’ve got to try your cake and the miso soup.
    They both sound like combinations we would love to taste!
    Cheers and as always thanks for sharing

  22. Xiaolu says:

    Oh how fabulous! I love how you can see the specks of leaves in there even. I’ve been wanting to try tea in a baked good since finding a tea and black sesame cake on the blogosphere. But this is a much simpler but equally tempting treat to start my tea baking with.

  23. pierre says:

    j’aime bien humidifier comme toi les cakes !!Le parfmum devait ĂŞtre envoutant !!PIerre

  24. Angie's Recipes says:

    The looks sensational! I too love using tea bags to make sweet and savoury baked goods. They are great!

  25. Nadji says:

    Je bois du Earl Grey Tea mais je n’ai jamais fait de cake avec.
    La texture semble délicieuse. A noter.
    Bon dimanche et à très bientôt.

  26. deana says:

    I was just thinking about this, Joumana! I love the idea of adding a little tea to the batter. There is something very sophisticated about a touch of bitterness in sweet things. Delicious looking cake, and I am on such an orange kick these days.

    Isn’t it funny how we remember those things about our mother’s parties when we were kids. I was fascinated by those little sandwiches and thought the cucumber numbers were incredibly grown up!

  27. Mary says:

    I’ll bet this cake has fabulous flavor. It looks delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  28. Banana Wonder says:

    OMG!!!! I LOVE this recipe and the idea of putting actual tea into the cake. THANK YOU!

  29. Azita says:

    I’m a tea drinker and this sounds so flavorful and delicious!

  30. Ivy says:

    It’s the first time that I see a cake infused with tea but I would love to try it.

  31. Barbara says:

    Great idea, Joumana. I love the idea of infusing tea in a cake. This looks so good! Your photos are always wonderful.

  32. 5 Star Foodie says:

    It looks wonderful and sounds so good with the earl grey tea, a slice would be so perfect for breakfast!

  33. tigerfish says:

    The subtle tea aroma in the cake must be alluring!

  34. Sweet Artichoke says:

    What a beautiful and delicious cake! I totally like your way of infusing the tea in the cream first! Your cake is on the top of my list of must try recipes!

  35. Nuts about food says:

    I love the idea of a tea flavored cake. And I know that cake in a tin you described. They used to send us one each year from England and us children never liked it one bit!

  36. Heavenly Housewife says:

    This sounds wonderful. I have to admit, I’ve tried earl grey cookies and I did not like the result. The tea leaves got all over my teeth and I had to brush them several times.. It was pretty unpleasant. That being said, this recipe makes me what to try again. It looks like such a lovely cake!
    *kisses* HH

  37. Dana says:

    Yum! I made earl grey cupcakes last summer, but your cake sounds better.

    I’ve been drinking tea for years, but Earl Grey always makes me feel grown up, because it was the tea my family drank when I was little.

  38. bergamot says:

    Earl grey tea has bergamot flowers and that makes this tea really special. I love earl grey tea and it requires no guessing why my pseudo name is bergamot 🙂 I like this recipe and have bookmarked it.

    • Paola says:

      Hi Bergamot, that’s an easy mistake to make. The bergamot taste and essence is in fact from The peel of Bergamot oranges. These look more like small lemons and make great curd and marmalade as well as perfume.

  39. FOODESSA says:

    Although, I’ve made an incredible variation of cakes…a tea based one still has not graced my oven.
    Btw…speaking of ovens…mine is 20 degrees off and 20 years old. Do you think there’s a coincidence there? I would really need to change it, but it carries so many memories that I have a difficult time letting go. Send me courage Joumana ;o)

    Thanks for sharing such a lovely part of your childhood and for inspiring me to try a Tea cake delight.

    Ciao for now,

  40. Eve@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    A beautiful tea cake to have with tea. I have made something similar in the past and it is quite delicious in an unexpected way. I should try your version

  41. Magic of Spice says:

    I can just imagine the amazing aroma this cake must have, looks fantastic!

  42. Lentil Breakdown says:

    I’ve never heard of such a cake. I love Earl Grey! Sounds like a good pastry to serve at high tea.

  43. Grapefruit says:

    Looks deliciously moist & I can see myself doing this with all sorts of fruity tea. Thanks for sharing!

  44. Jessica says:

    I just made one with Rooibos Vanilla-tea, it turned out wonderful!

  45. Verkin says:

    It looks so inviting,
    Please explain what do you mean by:
    “After 10 minutes of baking, cut a line throughout the middle of the cake to help it bake more evenly”
    Thank you so much.

    • Joumana says:

      @Verkin: After your cake has been baking for about ten minutes, it will start to rise; pull it out of the oven and with the blade of a knife, cut through the cake -only about 1 inches deep- from the top to the bottom, a line that goes from North to South in effect dividing the cake in half (don’t go all the way, only a couple centimeters); then place back in the oven. This helps the cake bake more evenly instead of being too cooked in certain spots and not enough in others.

  46. Verkin says:

    Thank you Joumana, I had never heard of that trick, great I will try it.
    May you be blessed,
    I love your blog.

  47. christa maria says:

    i’m making this cake for a dinner tonight . i have to say that it smells really good . thank you for the recipe
    christa maria.

  48. Gracia says:

    If I were to use a round pan, what size should I use? Can provide measurements for your medium loaf tin? Thanks in advance.

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