The first time I ever tried Earl Grey tea I was pretty sure it was one of the most disgusting things I’d ever tasted.
I was waiting tables at a high end restaurant in Ithaca, NY, and the owners took coffee and tea very seriously. They also owned a coffee shop in College Town, so their passion for quality teas translated into their restaurants. We had some fancy imported loose leaf teas that we would bag up and steep to order, and one day I decided to forego my usual latte to see what all the fuss was about.
Earl Grey is very floral, almost perfume-y, and my unrefined pallet didn’t quite know what to make of it. To me, that first sip tasted a bit like soap, or like drinking perfume straight from the bottle. I may have even done a cartoon style spit-take right there in the kitchen, next to the espresso machine. In my defense, at the time I wasn’t really a tea drinker, and besides the occasional glass of iced tea I was strictly a coffee man. I went right back to my latte and didn’t try Earl Grey again for a good long while.
A few years later I started opening up to hot tea, and eventually, I gave the Earl another shot. These days I totally love it and always keep a big jar of loose leaf Earl Grey on the shelf (although I still take it with honey and lots of milk, never black).
Given my newfound love for it, I’ve been wanting to bake with Earl Grey for a long while but the inspiration just hasn’t come to me. I’ve been playing with the idea of making some cute little financiers or tea cakes (get it? Tea flavored tea cakes?) but I just never got around to it. The idea would come back to me every once in a while, but I’d just keep putting it off and waiting for the right moment.
Enter the #bundtbakers.
You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a bundt recipe in a couple months, basically since confessing that I wanted to take some time to focus on my health. I’ve actually been doing really well and finally feel like I deserve to let myself eat the occasional slice of cake again. Even if I weren’t feeling better I don’t think I could have stayed away from my bundt baking buddies much longer anyway!
When I saw that Laura from Baking in Pyjamas had chosen “Beverages” as the bundt theme for October, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to get back to my bundt baking roots. I’m so so happy to be back, and all these beautiful beverage-y bundts are making me
Another reason I wanted to get back into bundt baking is this new pan I just got!
I know I’ve gushed about Nordic Ware bundt pans before, but get ready, here I go again. Their line of cast aluminum pans are sturdy enough that they don’t bend or warp, and just thick enough that they bake super evenly with no irregular browning. They’re super non-stick too, and even though I do always butter and flour my pans before baking anyway, I can honestly say that I’ve never once had a cake stick, even when using super sticky ingredients like marshmallows or caramel. The one time I tried using a different pan though, this happened… They’re also built to last, and even with all the bundt baking I do, all of my pans are just as wonderful and just as non-stick as they were the day I bought them. If all that isn’t enough, their pans are also made right here in the good ol’ US of A.
Nordic Ware bundt pans are also available in a huge selection of beautiful designs and styles, a few of which you’ve already seen here. Their latest pan, the bundt squared, is really fun and I’m so excited to have one of my own! The square shape puts a sort of modern twist on an elegant classic design, and I just love it. I have to admit though, that one of my coworker’s mind was completely blown by the square shape. I posted a preview of this cake on instagram a few weeks ago and she texted me the minute she saw it. “A SQUARE BUNDT????! Is nothing sacred?” Even after getting to taste test the cake, she kept bringing it up. “This cake is really good, but a square bundt pan?”
So, I guess this square shape might not be for the traditionalists among you… Hahaha!
But guess what? Nordic Ware invented the bundt pan, so as far as I’m concerned they can do no wrong.
With the theme and the shape decided on, my next step was to figure out how to get that distinctive Earl Grey tea flavor into my cake. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of just grinding the tea leaves up and putting them directly into the batter, because I wasn’t confident that the flavor would really come through that way. I was also worried that the ground tea leaves wouldn’t soften up enough in baking, and feared that people would be eating a cake with a sandy texture and a bland flavor.
My first thought was to infuse the tea leaves in buttermilk like I did for last year’s hibiscus lime bundt cake, but while wasting too much time on pinterest one day I came across another idea. To my surprise (and relief) there was an entire blog post about baking with tea! I gotta tell you, their solution is absolutely genius, and I never would have thought of it myself.
To extract as much bold tea flavor as possible, they recommend infusing your tea leaves in butter! I cannot sing enough praises for this method. This cake tastes EXACTLY like a warm cup of Earl Grey tea.
This method uses up a lot of tea leaves though, and you want to try to use the freshest, highest quality loose tea that you can find to get the best possible flavor. You’ll also need to use more butter than you think you will, as the leaves will absorb some and you won’t be able to squeeze it all back out. To get 1 cup of butter for my cake I ended up using two and a half sticks of butter and a whole cup of tea leaves.
I was expecting the butter to take on a dark brown tea color, but to my surprise after infusing it the butter took on an olive green tint. In fact, the melted liquid butter really just looked like a dark unfiltered olive oil. You may have noticed the green butter in the photo at the top of the post.
For a little extra Earl Grey oomph, I also added just a touch of bergamot oil. If you’re not familiar, the bergamot orange is the citrus fruit that gives Earl Grey tea it’s distinctive floral scent and flavor. Fresh Bergamot oranges, and even bergamot oil for that matter, can be a little difficult to find, so feel free to leave it out if need be. The infused butter definitely imparts loads of fresh tea flavor, I promise.
I knew before this cake even went into the oven that it was a winner. A stray smudge of batter licked off my finger tasted exactly like a milky, honey sweetened cup of tea. While it was baking away in the oven, my entire apartment smelled like a warm Earl Grey hug. Don’t tell anyone but I may have even put my nose right down into the center of the cake after I turned it out onto the cooling rack.
Not only does this cake have amazing flavor, but thanks to a bit of oil, it’s also super moist with an incredibly tender crumb. To top it all off and drive home the cup of tea theme, I made a simple milk and honey glaze. I happened to only have buckwheat honey on hand, which is why the glaze came out the color of milky tea. It was not intentional I swear!
Earl Grey Bundt Cake with Milk and Honey Glaze
1.5 oz (about 1 cup) loose leaf Earl Grey tea (best quality possible)
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon bergamot oil (optional) *see note
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk, at room
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Milk and honey glaze:
2 tablespoons honey (buckwheat honey adds flavor and color, but any honey will work)
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Make tea infused butter:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Once fully melted turn the heat down to low and add the tea leaves. Stir and heat over low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes more.
Place a small fine mesh strainer over a measuring cup and strain the butter. Press the tea leaves with a spatula or spoon to squeeze as much butter out as possible. You want to measure out exactly one cup of butter. If necessary add enough additional butter to make 1 cup. Discard tea leaves and refrigerate butter until completely firm.
Once firm let butter soften at room temperature for at least an hour before baking. Cold butter can be made several days ahead if kept refrigerated in a well sealed air tight container.
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter and flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan.
With the paddle attachment in an electric mixer, cream 1 cup of softened tea infused butter with sugar for about 5 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Add oil, honey, and bergamot oil and mix until well combined. On low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, until just combined.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl (or measuring cup), combine the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour batter into prepared pan and tap on the counter to even the batter and remove air bubbles. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool for an hour or more before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Make the milk and honey glaze:
To make the glaze combine honey, 1 tablespoon milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar and continue to whisk until combined and free of lumps. If too thick, you can add a few more drops (up to an additional tablespoon) of milk to thin it for easy pouring. Pour over the top of the completely cooled cake and serve.
Cake should keep, well sealed in an air tight container, for 3 to 4 days at a cool room temperature.
Different brands of bergamot oil can have different potencies, so start with no more than 1/4 teaspoon, and taste the batter before baking and see if you might enjoy a few drops more. If you can find it, the zest of fresh bergamot orange would be even better. Start with about a teaspoon of zest and taste to see if you’d like more.
There are so many absolutely delicious bundts this month! Please take a moment to check them out!
- Apple Cider Bundt Cake from That’s My Home
- Apple Cider Bundt Cake w/ Caramelized Apples from The Freshman Cook
- Apple Cider Bundt Cake from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Apple Cider Pound Cake from Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Apple Juice Spice Bundt with Caramel Apple Glaze from Our Good Life
- Apple Spice Latte Bundt from Living the Gourmet
- Black Forest Hot Chocolate Bundt from Baking in Pyjamas
- Cava Bundt Cake from La mejor manera de hacer…
- Chai Bundt Cake from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Chocolate Chai Bundt Cake from Basic n Delicious
- Chocolate Expresso Bundt Cake from En la cocina de Caro
- Dark ‘n Stormy Bundt Cake from Eat, Drink, and Be Mighty
- Earl Grey Bundt Cake with Milk and Honey Glaze from Brooklyn Homemaker
- Margarita Bundt Cake with Candied Limes from How to Philosophize with Cake
- Mexican Hot Chocolate Rose Cake from Faith, Hope, Love & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
- Milo and Condensed Milk Bundt Cake from Passion Kneaded
- Mojito Bundt Cake from Baking Yummies
- Orange Juice Pine Nut Bundt Cake from A Kingdom for a Cake
- Pacharán & Apple Bundlettes from I love Bundt Cakes
- Pumpkin Coffee Bundt Cake from Los Chatos Chefs
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Bundt Cake from Liv for Cake
- Red Wine Chocolate Bundt Cake from Brunch with Joy
- Root Beer Float Bundt from Food Lust People Love
- Tiramisu Bundt Cake from Patty’s Cake
- Vanilla Chai Honey Latte Bundt from Tartacadabra
- White Chocolate and Espresso Bundt Cake with Coffee Glaze from Taking On Magazines
- White Russian Mini Bundt Cakes from Magnolia Days
#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundtsby following our Pinterest Board.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.