Earl Grey Poppy Seed Tea Cakes

Happy 2013, friends!

Looking back at 2012, it was a book-signing, NYC-visiting, Etsy-ingwedding-cake-baking, kind of year. And although last year will be hard to beat, the coming year is wholly welcomed with open arms.  I just love a good fresh start, don’t you?

This year’s posting starts off with fancy little Earl Grey Tea Cakes all decked out in silver stenciling. Emphasizing differences in appearance and flavor is one of my favorite things to do with dessert, and the midnight black covering on these cakes is a definite contrast to the bright-tasting, fruity interior.

I adapted the cake recipe from my favorite sponge roll.  Loose-leaf Earl Grey tea and poppy seeds are ground together with granulated sugar in a food processor, and then the mixture is gradually added to the cake batter as it whips.  Even more tea flavor is imparted by the Earl Grey simple syrup that gets generously brushed over the cut-out cake circles. The filling is simple buttercream flavored with orange and lemon zest.

The silver designs were made using plastic stencils and edible silver luster dust. The stencils I used are not specified for cakes but they are made of non-toxic plastic, which I think is important to look for if venturing outside of the cake decorating aisle for stencils. Also, you should use a dedicated paint brush for your culinary artworks (yes, I’m preaching from the SprinkleBakes bible book!).

All my best to you in the coming year! 

xo

-H

Earl Grey Poppy Seed Tea Cakes

Yield: four 3-inch cakes

[click for printable recipe]

This recipe requires four 1.75 x 3-inch pastry rings.  One cake is a very generous single serving  (and could probably serve 2).  They have a bright, fruity flavor that I
liken to Froot-Loops cereal (no kidding! -or maybe I’m just weird). The
extra step of covering them in black fondant and decorating with luster dust is
not necessary, but it sure makes them pretty.

Cake: 

3/4 cup extra-fine granulated sugar

1/4 cup loose-leaf Earl Grey tea

2 tbsp. poppy seed

4 eggs

1 1/2 tbsp. canola oil

2 tbsp. buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 drop black food coloring (*optional)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Powdered sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 11×14-inch jelly-roll pan with white
    vegetable shortening and line with parchment; grease parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine sugar, tea
    leaves and poppy seed.  Process for 2-3
    minutes, or until the mixture looks well ground and is very fragrant.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs with a mixer for 5 full minutes (I suggest setting a
    timer).  Properly whipped eggs will lighten in color considerably and have
    the appearance of yellow cake batter.
  4. With the mixer still running, slowly add sugar mixture and oil to the whipped
    eggs.  Next, add buttermilk, and vanilla extract and food coloring, if
    using.
  5. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Slowly add to the liquid
    ingredients.  Mix until well combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and tilt pan to distribute batter evenly.
  7. Sprinkle a cotton tea towel with powdered sugar and rub sugar into the towel
    with your hands
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Check at 12 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back
    when pressed with fingers. 
  9. Turn cake out onto the powdered tea towel. 
    Dust surface with powdered sugar. 
    Let cool completely.
  10. Use 3-inch pastry rings to cut out 12 cake circles.  Set aside.

Earl Grey simple syrup:

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

4 Earl Grey teabags

  1. Stir together sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a
    bubble. Stir to make sure all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and place the teabags in the
    hot sugar syrup to steep.  Infuse for 5-7
    minutes, then remove and discard tea bags. 
    Set aside to cool.

Tip: You may have leftover syrup after assembling the cakes Store unused syrup in the ‘fridge and use it to sweeten your tea!

Zesty citrus buttercream:

1 cup of unsalted
butter, softened

2 cups confectioners’ sugar – the finest you can find
(usually 10x)

1 tsp.  clear
orange extract

Juice of 1 small lemon

Zest of 1 small orange

Zest of 1 small lemon

* Milk or heavy cream, optional

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix
    together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. 
    Begin mixing on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and
    beat for 3 minutes.
  2. Add orange extract and lemon juice; beat again for
    another minute until light and fluffy.  Add zests and mix on lowest setting until
    evenly dispersed.  Transfer to a piping
    bag or zip-top bag with the end snipped (no decorator tip necessary)

*Note: If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may
add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is piping
consistency.

Assembly and decoration:

1 1/3 cup ready-made black vanilla rolled fondant

Silver luster dust

Small cup of water

Culinary stencil or other plastic non-toxic craft stencil

Small soft-hair artist’s brush

  1. Place 1 cake circle in each of the four pastry rings;
    brush cakes liberally with Earl Grey syrup (if you don’t have a pastry brush,
    you can drizzle two tablespoons of syrup over the cake).  Pipe in a layer of buttercream and top with
    another cake circle; press cake circles down into the buttercream to create an
    even layer.  Brush cake circle with syrup
    and add another buttercream layer.  Top
    with remaining cake circle and press  it
    down so that it is level with the top of the pastry ring.  Brush with syrup. 
  2. Chill cakes in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Press cakes out of the molds from the top onto a baking sheet.
  3. Lightly grease a work surface with white vegetable
    shortening.  Knead and roll out a 1/3 cup piece
    of black fondant.  Lift piece with a
    rolling pin (or your hands – it’s small enough) and drape over a cake. Smooth
    fondant down and around the cake and trim the excess with a sharp knife.  Repeat process with remaining cakes.  Place a stencil on top of each cake.
  4. Tap out a little silver luster dust onto a clean plate.  Dip the paintbrush into water and then into
    the luster dust; work it into a paint-like paste on the plate with the
    brush.  Repeat dipping/working until your
    brush is loaded with luster dust “paint”. 
    Gently apply in even strokes over the stencil.  Carefully lift stencil to reveal the design.

Tips:

Roll out a piece of fondant to practice your stenciling.

The stencils I used had a lightly adhesive backing.  I coated the sticky side with vegetable
shortening and then wiped most of it off with a paper towel. This took enough
of the stickiness away so that it would not damage the fondant’s surface. If you use the same brand of stenciling that I did (below), be
sure to use this method and test the stickiness on a test piece of fondant before applying to the cakes.

Supplies:

Twinings Classics Earl Grey Loose Tea — 3.53 oz

Ateco Stainless Steel Round Forms 1.75×3

Martha Stewart 32268 Adhesive Stencil, Scrolls

Martha Stewart 32271 Adhesive Stencil, Fair Isle Dots

Satin Ice Rolled Fondant – Black – Vanilla – 2 lb

Wilton Pearl Dust, Silver-0.05 Ounce (1,4g)

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
8 years ago

This is absolutely gorgeous!

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

beautiful! as always!

Leslie
Leslie
8 years ago

These are just stunning.I love the contrasting colors!!!!

Alex
Alex
8 years ago

Absolutely beautiful…….

Maggie @ A Bitchin Kitchen
Maggie @ A Bitchin Kitchen
8 years ago

These are too gorgeous to even eat!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

Beautiful! Love black and silver together.

Olga P
Olga P
8 years ago

This is a piece of art!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

Kim
Wow – so lovely!

Aikko
Aikko
8 years ago

Hi Heather, stunning work as always πŸ™‚ Just wanted to ask, are those special cupcake liners you used? – Aikko

Rosa's Yummy Yums
Rosa's Yummy Yums
8 years ago

So elegant and classy! I love those cakes.

Cheers,

Rosa

Johnny
Johnny
8 years ago

They're tiny little art pieces! I love them and I BET they taste deeeelicious! I love earl grey. Happy New Year to you too friend!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

These look so pretty! I got some luster for christmas so will be giving these a go.

http://www.foodnerd4life.com

macus!
macus!
8 years ago

Beautiful!!!!

cookies and cups
cookies and cups
8 years ago

How do you do it, I mean honestly…HOW?

Annie @ Annie's Noms
Annie @ Annie's Noms
8 years ago

So beautiful! I'd be too scared to eat them!

Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen
Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen
8 years ago

I would honestly buy a coffee table book full of only photos from your blog. So in love.

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

I do not like tea. My grandma made me drink tea once and it tasted like gross water. But if it's true that this cake tastes like Fruit Loops then I will have to try it, despite my distaste for tea.

These are beautiful cakes by the way πŸ™‚

Happy New Year!

lovelife
lovelife
8 years ago

Oh those little cakes look too delicious!

Happy new year to you, too!

Regards
Catrin

Colleen
Colleen
8 years ago

Absolutely Stunning little desserts and your photos are really outstanding

Megans Cookin
Megans Cookin
8 years ago

Simply stunning.

Colette (Coco)
Colette (Coco)
8 years ago

Aaalmost too pretty to eat. πŸ˜‰

Natasha
Natasha
8 years ago

These are too pretty to eat! Love the photos.

vanillasugarblog
vanillasugarblog
8 years ago

earl grey is nice to bake with.
now i want a cup of tea at this hour but i can't yet because of my tooth.
do you know when i can eat solid food again, I am so having a giant steak with bΓ©arnaise sauce. oh yeah

Cassie | Bake Your Day
Cassie | Bake Your Day
8 years ago

What a great way to flavor a cake. And these are stunning, Heather!

Sally - only gluten free baking
Sally - only gluten free baking
8 years ago

Wow these look outstanding, you are very talented. This is the second perfectly layered cake I've drooled over today. Happy New Year.

The Squishy Monster
The Squishy Monster
8 years ago

I want to pick one up an dramatically bite into one of these babies..they stimulate that sort of reaction =)

Sue
Sue
8 years ago

You started 2013 out with a bang! These are stunning, Heather! I love a fresh start too:)

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

These are gorgeous! (I'm a tea drinker, but HATE Earl Grey; it tastes like perfume to me!)

Fabelicious @Make Fabulous Cakes
Fabelicious @Make Fabulous Cakes
8 years ago

I love Earl grey tea and I'm dying to try one of these! Fantastic idea and pictures! Happy New Year to you too and a great start to the year!

Cooking Quidnunc
Cooking Quidnunc
8 years ago

These are so pretty and I love Earl Grey, these must taste amazing.

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

Would I store these in the fridge or pantry? How long before a party would I want to make them?

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
8 years ago

You can store the uncovered (naked?) cakes in the refrigerator overnight, but once they are covered with fondant they should be left out at room temperature. Some people say you can refrigerate fondant-covered cakes, but in my experience condensation collects on the fondant and it looks – well, bad. You can make them – fondant and all – one day ahead of time. I wouldn't leave them out at room temperature any longer than that.

Needful Things
Needful Things
8 years ago

Not only are these beautiful … I can just taste the earl grey sponge with the citrus buttercream .. delicious. What a great way to ring in the new year. Happy 2013!

phaereyfarm
phaereyfarm
8 years ago

Is there anything that can work like fondant for the outside? We don't like the taste/texture of fondant… Thanks!

Heather Adamson
Heather Adamson
8 years ago

Cannot wait to try these! doubt they will turn out as well though!

Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up
Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up
8 years ago

These are so elegant looking. It is so hard to find a recipe for cakes with tea in them. Thanks!!

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

Question! Heather, can you make any suggestions for variations that don't involve a jelly roll pan? Can these be made into cupcakes, for example? Thanks! πŸ™‚

mini ray
mini ray
8 years ago

wow! you are so fabulous at what you do! beautiful work.

Braydon
Braydon
8 years ago

yummy watery mouth by seeing the tea cake. all blog post are awesome. i love the cup cake.
Purchase online generic viagra

Lora
Lora
8 years ago

These are simply stunning. I love the Earl Grey double whammy using the ground tea and the syrup. Genius.

little random happiness
little random happiness
8 years ago

Everything you make is so beautiful and inspiring!

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

I just made as a cupcake with the buttercream frosting – used fresh squeezed orange instead of orange extract which worked just fine – and they were great! Don't overbake, they get dry and chewy.

Alyssa B
Alyssa B
8 years ago

These are classy looking cakes! haha.
I've always wanted to make mini cakes but never thought of baking the cake in a jellyroll pan and then cutting out the layers. I'm inspired to make mini cakes in other shapes using your technique. Thanks!

jane
jane
8 years ago

Hi,

Do the ingredients for this fit into one 9" pan?

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
8 years ago

No, the sponge cake is baked in an 11×14 pan – does this answer your question?

xo
H

mae anderson
mae anderson
8 years ago

So beautiful! And these cakes look delicious too. Oh! How I wish I know how to bake beautiful cakes like these. I really love it.
SmithTea.com

Debbie
Debbie
8 years ago

I was unable to find loose tea….so I bought tons of tea bags. Do you know what the conversion might be, substituting the teabag tea for the loose tea? Making these for a bridal shower.

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
8 years ago

Hi Debbie! It should be about the same. If it's ground really fine when you open the bag, reduce the amount to 2 tablespoons for the cake.

Foon
Foon
6 years ago

These are the type of cake decorating I like. Simple yet very professional looking. Great job.

natalie
natalie
5 years ago

how would I need to alter the recipe to make a traditional size cake, would i need to triple the recipe to make one 9 inch cake?
thanks

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
5 years ago
Reply to  natalie

Hi! I wouldn't suggest making this cake into a 9-inch cake because it's meant to be baked in a very thin sheet (sponge roll). You could use the following earl grey cake recipe (halved), and add ground sesame seed to it.

http://www.sprinklebakes.com/2016/01/earl-grey-au-lait-cake-with-embroidery.html