Earl Grey Cake with Orange Blossom Buttercream

Earl Grey Cake with Orange Blossom Buttercream - The Gingered Whisk
This cake is worthy of a special occasion. Dense and moist Earl Grey Cake is offset with decadent orange blossom buttercream. Its a treat!
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I think there is something wonderful about bakers who insist on baking their own birthday cake. I always get so many comments about how you should never have to bake your own birthday cake. Obviously, people, you don’t know me very well. Baking cakes is something that I don’t get to do enough of, and I relish in it. Picking the perfect recipe. Carefully selecting each ingredient that goes into it. Cutting out parchment paper circles and buttering and flouring my cake pans. Assembling and frosting. It’s almost therapeutic to make a cake, to take the time to carefully create something beautiful and delicious. A homemade birthday cake is the ultimate “I love you”. And baking your own birthday cake is the best way to whisper “I love you” – to yourself! That is why there will never be a store bough birthday cake for me.
Earl Grey Cake with Orange Blossom Buttercream - The Gingered Whisk
I hadn’t actually meant to make this cake at all. I was supposed to make another one, carefully selected after days of searching and debating. But when it came down to it, I totally forgot to buy the ingredients  at the grocery store. And at the time I had a house full of people, a kitchen full of dirty dishes, and an arm full of tired, overstimulated, cookie filled two year old. A run to the grocery store wasn’t going to happen. I almost didn’t make a cake at all, until one of my best friends sent me an email with a link to this cake. And I got inspired. I used my own recipe, made a few changes, and came up with this Earl Grey Cake with Orange Blossom Buttercream. And I looooved it.
Earl Grey Cake with Orange Blossom Buttercream - The Gingered Whisk
This might be one of my most favorite cakes yet. The combination of flavors is fantastic. The Earl grey is delicate, the subtle hint of vanilla brights and balances it out (I would highly recommend using this tea, it is my utter favorite, both for drinking and for cooking with). The orange buttercream is really to die for. There almost wasn’t enough frosting for the cake because I kept having to take quality control samples. You know, just in case.
Earl Grey Cake with Orange Blossom Buttercream - The Gingered Whisk

Earl Grey Cake with Orange Blossom Buttercream

  • Author: Jenni
  • Prep Time: 1 Hour
  • Cook Time: 35 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Servings
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Earl Grey Cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 TBSP loose earl grey tea (or 3 tea bags)
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade

Orange Simple Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • juice from 1 orange
  • enough water to make 1/2 cup liquid

Orange Blossom Buttercream:

  • 7 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp orange blossom extract (you can substitute this with orange juice if you want, or even vanilla)
  • 1 TBSP orange juice.
  • 2 TBSP orange zest



  • Preheat your oven to 350F.
  • Prepare 2- 9″ cake tins by buttering the tins, placing a round of parchment paper in the bottom, butter that, and then flour the sides, shaking off the excess flour. Set aside.
  • With a mortal and pestle or food processor, grind the tea (take the tea out of the bags if you are using them) into you get smaller pieces. You don’t want it to be a powder, but you don’t want to be chewing your cake, either.
  • In a small saucepan, scald your milk until just barely simmering. Turn the heat off and add the tea. Allow to steep while you prepare the cake.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add half of the dry mixture to the butter and mix until just combined.
  • Add the milk and tea mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overstir!
  • Divide the batter equally amongst the 2 prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway and testing with a toothpick.
  • Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then turn out on a wire rack.

Simple Syrup

  • Into a small bowl, zest an orange. Set aside.
  • Squeeze the juice of an orange into a measuring cup.
  • Remove 1 TBSP of the juice for the frosting, and set aside.
  • You want to have a 1/2 cup of liquid for the simple syrup, so if your orange falls a little short, just add water until you get 1/2 cup.
  • Combine the juice/water and the sugar into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the simple syrup over the tops and sides of the cakes. This will help seal in moisture.
  • Cool the cakes completely before frosting.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the butter, orange zest, and orange blossom extract until all lumps are gone.
  • Add the milk and slowly mix until incorporated.
  • Slowly, adding about 1/2 cup of sugar at a time, mix in the powdered sugar.
  • Once all the sugar is in, cream on high for 2 minutes with an electric mixer.
  • Mix in the orange juice.
  • Place one cake upside down on a cake pedestal (so that the flat bottom is facing up).
  • Stir the orange marmalade until it becomes very spreadable, and then evenly spread it on the top (well, bottom, really) of the cake.
  • Place the other cake round on top of the marmalade.
  • Frost!


(I like to keep my cake covered in the fridge to allow the buttercream to harden. That’s the way I like it!)


     Looking for other awesomely epic cakes? Check out these!

    German Chocolate Cheesecake

    German Chocolate Cheesecake

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  • Reply
    January 4, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    This looks like a wonderful birthday cake! I have been wanting to bake with tea, specifically earl grey, for a while now. Maybe I'll make myself one of these birthday cakes later this month. Hope you had a great day!

  • Reply
    January 4, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Yummm! I love your take on this (and the orange blossom buttercream sounds to die for!). An Earl Grey birthday cake is just so very fitting for YOU! What a great way to start this awesome chapter of your life.

  • Reply
    shelley c.
    January 4, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    I love making my own birthday cake, too, but that cake has me tempted to let YOU do it for me next year!! 🙂 Happy birthday!!

  • Reply
    Created by Hannah Grunzke
    January 4, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    That cake sounds amazing! Happy Birthday!!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    January 4, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    What a fantastic cake! Perfect for celebrating a birthday! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 5, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    I agree with u on bakers making own birthday cake, Happy Birthday, its so good to celebrate a new age milestone and new year around the same time!

  • Reply
    January 6, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Earl Grey and orange go so well together. This is a gorgeous cake Jenni! Happy Birthday 🙂 I totally agree, baking your own birthday cake is the BOMB, especially when it tastes this good!

  • Reply
    Domestic Bella
    January 7, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    I am salivating over this one! Good for you for making your own birthday cake. Not only do you get to enjoy the process, but it provides more variety than the standard store bought cake. It also ensures it will be delicious!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 6:21 AM

    OK..I'm going to kill two posts with one comment here. So much catching up to do! Your German chocolate cheesecake looks insane! When my appetite is fully back, I have to make it! Now, onto this beuty of a cake…WOW. I have yet to try Earl Grey tea in baked goods, but it sounds like an amazing pairing with the orange blossom buttercream. It looks stunning too, my creative, talented friend!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    I tried this today but added orange curd rather than marmalade – it was delicious and an excellent choice for Mothers Day!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    I made this cake today but substituted orange curd for marmalade. Delicious and my mum loved it -perfect for mothers day!

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