This two tier cake requires 8-inch cake pans and 6-inch cake pans (one of each, with pan washing and prep between baking layers). For a smaller serving size, the cake recipe may be halved and made in three 8-inch cake pans.
I recommend using The Republic of Tea’s special blend of Earl Grey tea called Earl Greyer. It’s stronger than regular Earl Grey because pure bergamot oil is added to the leaves. It’s available at specialty stores and at some grocery stores. See blog post for product links.
1teaspoonbergamot extract or orange extractor a few drops of bergamot oil or orange oil
Cream or milk to thin
Food colorI used purple gel food color
Assembly and Décor
Decorative wafer paper embroidery edgingapproximately ten 10 1/2-inch long pieces
Decorative wafer paper embroidery flowersapproximately 10 pieces
6inchcardboard cake circle
See blog post for wafer paper décor instructions.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 6-inch cake pans with flour based baking spray (I like Baker’s Joy). Prepare two 8-inch pans with baking spray. Set aside.
Make the infused milk: Place the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gently heat the milk until steaming but not boiling, and add in the 3 tablespoons loose tea or 6 tea bags. Remove from the heat and continue to steep until the milk has cooled, about 20 minutes (this step can be done a day ahead of time). The infused mixture should be milky tan (like a latte) in color. Strain the Earl Grey au Lait through a fine sieve or cheesecloth if you used the loose leaf tea, or remove the tea sachets and squeeze the excess milk from them into the saucepan before discarding them.
Make the simple syrup: Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and bring mixture to a simmer. Add in the tea and continue to cook the syrup for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep until cool. Strain the tea from the syrup using cheesecloth, or remove the tea bags and discard them.
Make the cake layers: Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground tea into a large bowl. Whisk briefly until combined. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer; mix until combined. Add vanilla; add eggs and yolks one at a time, mixing well with each addition.
Add the flour and infused milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Do not over mix.
Evenly distribute batter between the cake pans. Apply Bake Even Strips to the cake pans if you have them. Bake for about 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes before removing cakes from their pans.
Make the frosting: Cream the butter in an electric mixer using the whip attachment. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until the mixture becomes crumbly, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and bergamot or orange extract. Add cream or milk a little at a time with the mixer on medium speed, until the mixture is thinned to spreading consistency. Whip on high speed until fluffy. Remove 3 1/2 cups of the frosting and place it in a separate bowl; cover with a damp towel to prevent drying. Add food color to the remaining frosting and mix again. Scrape the bowl down and turn the frosting over to make sure the color is fully incorporated. Beat again until the frosting is consistently purple in color.
Assembly and Décor
Decorative wafer paper embroidery edging, approximately ten 10 1/2-inch long pieces
Decorative wafer paper embroidery flowers, approximately 10 pieces
6 inch cardboard cake circle
(See blog post for wafer paper décor instructions.)
Wooden dowel (optional)
Torte each cake layer with a cake leveler or serrated knife so that you have four layers of each size cake (four 8-inch, four 6-inch). Choose a cake stand or serving plate and place one 8-inch layer on it; generously brush or spoon on the Earl Grey simple syrup; top with 2/3 cup white frosting. Add a second layer and repeat the process twice more. Top cake with the final 8-inch cake layer; brush with simple syrup but do not frost; refrigerate. Repeat this process to build the 6-inch cakes on the cardboard cake circle, except fill the cakes with 1/2 cup of white frosting instead of 2/3 cup.
Cover both cakes with a thin crumb coat of purple frosting and refrigerate until solid, about 15 minutes. Have the wafer paper decors ready to hand (place them in a zip-top bag to prevent drying). Cover the 8-inch cake with a final layer of buttercream, it doesn’t have to be perfect but try to make the frosting as smooth as possible. Immediately after frosting, and while the frosting is still tacky, apply the wafer paper embroidery edging strips to the bottom edge and top edge of the cake (see pictures for orientation). Line the strips end to end, and snip away excess with kitchen scissors. Frost the 6-inch cake in the same manner, applying the wafer paper embroidery strips. Transfer excess frosting to a piping bag with a 1/2 inch plain decorator tip.
Measure a wooden dowel to size, and insert it into the center of the 8 inch tier for support (this isn’t a heavy cake so it’s not absolutely necessary, but I’d recommend it if you are transporting the cake in a vehicle). Use a long offset spatula to slice the 6-inch cake onto the center of the 8-inch cake. Pipe frosting ‘kisses’ on top of the 8 inch cake, and arrange the embroidery flowers standing upright in the frosting.
Serve immediately, or if patience allows cover loosely in plastic wrap and allow the flavors to marry overnight before enjoying.