The Earl of Chocolate Cake

Making one cake for the man you love is hard. Try making three to celebrate his 40th birthday!

Unlike a normal cake order where the client specifies the flavour, shape, filling and decoration, Mr Di-licious simply said “Surprise me”. Humph....I think that’s worse.

One cake down and the next needed in only a few days, inspiration finally struck one morning in the shower – make him an Earl Grey tea flavoured cake. Brilliant!

My first scan of the web found lots of tea cakes but they were more church picnic than milestone birthday.

It’s a celebration cake and in my world that means a creamy filling and chocolate.

Chocolate and Earl Grey?  Suspend belief and take it from me: it works mate... it does!

Time was short so instead of experimenting, I let my eyes do the walking through Google Images to find a recipe I could use.

I was instantly smitten by a cake by Cultivate Online: The Queen’s Earl Grey Fudge Cake - a chocolate and earl grey tea cake, filled with earl grey flavoured cream cheese frosting, covered in earl grey infused dark chocolate ganache and blinged up with earl grey praline. 

The recipe seemed straight forward and would allow me to make all the elements ahead of time to assemble at my brother in law's house.

I did do a few things a little differently though.
  • I used loose leaf Earl Grey tea for the cake, ganache and cream cheese filling (1 teaspoon per teabag cited in the recipe).
  • I split each cake in two to create a four layer cake.
  • I made a strong tea-flavoured sugar syrup to moisten the cake layers before spreading on the filling.
  • I made a double batch of the ganache – always better to have extra ganache to make covering the cake easier (and give you something to drizzle over ice-cream of dip cupcakes into).

Some comments on the cake:

  • The earl grey flavour is subtle. Not immediately noticeable when you first eat it but then all of a sudden, the taste sneaks into your mouth and it’s quite nice. (I’m personally not a huge Earl Grey fan but loved the extra dimension to the cake, especially the ganache.)
  • Don't add an extra flavour profile. I decided at the last minute to add some fresh orange zest to one of the cakes as a bit of a citrus burst. This dominated the cake a bit (not in a bad way though). If I made it again, I wouldn’t include it.
  • I found the cake a little crumbly. This was exacerbated by splitting the cakes in two. This is also a cake that is best cooked without baking strips - you need a firm edge to the cake to make covering with ganache easier.
  • Make sure to redust your cake with praline just before serving.  The praline will 'melt'and leave little droplets over the top of the cake if left to its own devices for an hour or two. This doesn't affect the taste of the cake.
  • Making dry caramel is easy if you know what you're doing.  Thank you David Lebovitz for your invaluable, entertaining guide!
This cake really does taste as good as it looks.  Olive helped blow out the candles (again!) and as predicted, a lot of good wine was consumed over the course of the weekend.

And now it's time for me to start on cake number three!


Your cake icing is just puurrrfect! I love how smooth you got it! What a delicious sounding flavour too! :)
Di-licious said…
Thanks Lorraine! You should give it a whirl sometime.
Anne said…
Hello Di! Your husband is one lucky man! What a di-lightful flavour combination. I reckon that'd go pretty well with a cup of Earl Gray right about now.

Am looking forward to the next instalment!

Anne @ Domesblissity
Maria said…
Wow, stunning cake!
Tiffany said…
Earl grey and chocolate sounds... well.. MAGICAL!
How would you not feel loved receiving a cake like this. I bet it taste soooooo yummy. - Elizabeth
Oh my! My husband's two favourite things. And he has an upcoming birthday.
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