Earl Grey & Vanilla Bean Birthday Cake
Makes 3 6-inch round cake layers
⅔ cup milk
4 teaspoons of Nourishtea Duke of Earl
2 tea filters
2 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups + 2 tablespoons (160 grams) cake flour
1 cup sugar
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
blue or purple food coloring (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350° F.
- Line three 6″ round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk until simmering. Place 2 teaspoon of Duke of Earl tea into each tea filter. Remove the milk from the heat, add the tea filters, and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea filters and allow the milk to cool completely.
- Whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the butter and cooled milk to the dry ingredients. Beat on low until well-blended. Raise the speed to medium and beat for another minute.
- Add the egg/vanilla mixture in three additions, beating well after each addition.
- If desired, beat in food coloring.
- Divide the batter between the three pans and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely.
Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 egg whites
1¼ cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
pinch of salt
- Cube the butter and leave out at room temperature (make sure you don’t leave it over the dishwasher or oven or it will get too warm).
- Whisk the eggs whites and sugar together in the top part of a double broiler. Make sure that the water in the bottom part is simmering, not boiling. Keep whisking until a candy thermometer reads 160° F.
- Transfer to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment installed. Whip at a medium speed until the mixture is at room temperature (the bowl feels neutral when you touch it).
- Lower the mixing speed and add the butter, one cube at a time. Keep mixing until there is an obvious change in the consistency of the buttercream – from soupy to much more solid (you can usually hear the mixer start making different noises). If it stays soupy for a very long time, throw the bowl in the refrigerator for ten minutes or so and retry.
- Add the vanilla extract, vanilla bean, and salt and keep mixing until they are incorporated.
- Level and torte (cut in half) each cake layer so that you have 6 even layers. I like using a cake leveler to do this.
- Place your first cake layer on your decorating surface. Spread a thin layer of buttercream evenly over the cake layer. Place the next layer on top, and repeat. Repeat with the remaining layers.
- Spread a thin coat of buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry if you get crumbs in the frosting – that’s what this layer is for! Place the cake in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to allow the frosting to set.
- Remove your cake from the refrigerator and frost with a final, thicker layer of buttercream.
- Top with fondant rose candles if desired.