Moist Earl Grey Tea Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Earl Grey Tea

Steeped in Tradition: Black Tea Cake

For devoted black tea drinkers, this rich tea-infused cake makes a stellar dessert to pair with a perfectly blended cup of bold, aromatic black tea.

As a self-professed connoisseur sampling rare teas from around the world, I appreciate creative bakers interweaving my favorite ingredient into cakes and pastries. While green tea and herbal infusions get plenty of attention from pastry chefs, the robust flavors of classic black tea can elevate desserts to new heights. This simple yet sophisticated black tea cake highlights Earl Grey’s distinctive bergamot zing while letting the black tea’s malty notes shine.

Earl Grey Cake with Butter Cream

Many tea cakes simply incorporate matcha powder or chamomile flowers into a neutral cake or frosting. However, this recipe uses strongly brewed Earl Grey tea directly in the batter. Brewing loose leaf or several Earl Grey tea bags in near-boiling water allows the bergamot and black tea flavor to fully permeate the liquid before mingling with butter, eggs and vanilla. The result is a profoundly tea-infused cake bursting with aromatic Earl Grey flavor in each moist crumb. It’s important to let it cool fully before frosting so the flavors can develop.

The cake pairs perfectly with another cup of Earl Grey – or your own custom black tea blend – allowing you to appreciate how complementary flavors intermingle on your palate. Offer petite wedges alongside finger sandwiches at your next tea party gathering for a savory-sweet contrast. For friends less accustomed to black tea’s bold personality, serve it with strawberries and gently sweetened whipped cream. However you choose to enjoy it, this simple yet stately cake is sure to delight fellow tea devotees.

Earl Grey Tea Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3⁄4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3⁄4 cup strongly-brewed Earl Grey tea, cooled

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 3⁄4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-3 tbsp heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line bottom with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat 6 tbsp softened butter with 3⁄4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time.
  4. Alternate adding dry ingredients and Earl Grey tea to butter mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Cool cake completely in pan set on wire rack.
  7. Make frosting by beating butter until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add vanilla and 1 tbsp cream at a time until reach desired consistency to spread.
  8. Once cake is cooled, run a knife around edge of pan and invert onto plate. Spread frosting smoothly over top and sides. Decorate with black tea leaves before serving if desired.

Enjoy with a perfectly brewed cup of Earl Grey or your favorite custom black tea blend!