How to Make an Earl Grey Lavender Cake

How to Make an Earl Grey Lavender Cake

If you’ve been reading my blog recently, you know I’ve had a recent thing for lavender, both for the color and for its floral aroma. So when I needed to create a recipe for my cake collection to balance out all of the chocolate, I went for this Earl Grey lavender cake.

I’ve gone easy on the lavender in the recipe because I didn’t want to overwhelm mr. uglyducklingbakery, who doesn’t love lavender like I do. You could easily amp up either or both of the lavender and the Earl Grey tea in the cake layer. Or brush the cake with a lavender sugar syrup (although it’s already so moist, I don’t think it needs it).

Mr. uglyducklingbakery says “it was a tasty cake.” But of course he still would choose chocolate.

This cake is the fifth birthday cake for my 50th birthday cake-a-palooza.
Cake #1 was the tiramisu cake – all the goodness of tiramisu without raw egg.
Cake #2 was the fudgy triple layer chocolate cake – the cake for chocolate lovers.
Cake #3 was the purple velvet cake – for those who like a little chocolate and a lot of fun.
Cake #4 was my favorite and the prettiest so far – a chocolate peanut butter drip cake.

Helpful hints

a small bowl of powdered lavender and a small bowl of tea

Lavender ground finely in a spice grinder, and Earl Grey tea from tea bags.

a cake pan filled halfway with cake batter

Unbaked, the cake batter will come about halfway up the side of a 9″ diameter, 2″ high cake pan.

I am not a piping expert! To make stars like did, use a piping bag with a large star nozzle. Fill the bag – if you don’t have an extra pair of hands, you can put the bag into a large cup as you fill it. Squeeze the frosting to the bottom, twist the bag at the top of the frosting (so it doesn’t squeeze up!), and hold it gently with your non-dominant hand (my left). Hold the bag vertically and, using your dominant hand, squeeze the bag gently and pull up.

a Earl Grey lavender cake partially piped with lavender buttercream

Round and round. It helps to have a cake turntable so you don’t get tempted to reach across the cake and lose your 90 degree angle.

One of these days, I’m going to spend an hour playing with different piping shapes and tips…

Who was Earl Grey?

Earl Grey tea is reportedly named after a British Prime Minister in the 1800s who ended a monopoly on trade held by the East India Company.

What kind of tea is Earl Grey?

Earl Grey tea is a black tea flavored with bergamot oil.

Could I make this as a layer cake?

Yes. This cake could be cut easily into two layers (here are some tips for how to cut a cake). Use about a 1/2 cup of frosting in between the halves, and you should have enough frosting.

Do I have to frost this cake?

Nope. This cake would also be lovely with just a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.

Why do you grind the lavender for this cake when you don’t for your lemon lavender shortbread?

Shortbread cookies are meant to have a crumbly texture, whereas you want the mouthfeel of this cake to be as smooth as possible. If you don’t have a spice grinder or coffee grinder, just chop the lavender as finely as possible.

Can I use lavender extract in place of the lavender flowers?

You certainly could, but extracts vary so much in terms of potency, it would be hard to know exactly how much to use. You might use just a tiny amount in the cake layer and then just focus the lavender flavor in the buttercream, where you could add it in a little at a time.

My cakes always turn out somewhat dry despite following instructions – why does that happen?

There are a couple of reasons and potential solutions. First way to avoid this is to weigh out your ingredients to make sure you are using the same amounts as in the instruction – there can be a huge variation in the way people scoop!

Second is because there’s also a lot of variation in the accuracy of oven temperatures. You only want to bake your cake layers until a toothpick into the center comes out free of crumbs. I usually start looking at cake layers 5-10 minutes before the cook time in a recipe, and I start checking with a toothpick very few minutes once the cake stops wobbling. Moist cake >>> dry cake!

Last, if you end up with a dry cake layer, is to soak it with a simple syrup. You can use my lavender simple syrup or create one of your own with equal amounts of water and sugar plus a flavoring, brought to a boil until the sugar dissolves, and then cooled slightly.

an edge of the earl grey lavender cake
a slice of Earl Grey lavender cake with frosting piped into starsfrom the top

Earl Grey lavender cake with lavender cream cheese buttercream frosting
Servings 12


Earl Grey lavender cake layer

  • 2 cups (280g/8.1 oz) cake flour plus more for flouring the pan
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (113g/4oz) unsalted butter, softened plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup (200g/7.1oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp loose Earl Grey tea (or 2 tbsp from 4 tea bags)
  • 1/2 tsp ground culinary lavender
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Lavender cream cheese buttercream

  • 1 cup (227g/8oz) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup (113g/4oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup (175g/6.2oz) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp ground culinary lavender
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring, if desired


Earl Grey lavender cake layer

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Lightly butter a 9" round cake pan, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, butter the parchment paper, and then flour the pan.
  • Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl.
  • Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer and medium bowl, cream the butter, sugar, Earl Grey tea, and lavender until the butter is light and fluffy, scraping down as necessary, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla, one addition at a time, beating on medium speed for a minute after each addition and scraping the bowl down as necessary.
  • Add approximately half of the flour mixture, and beat on low until it is just incorporated. Add the buttermilk, and beat until just incorporated. Add the remaining flour and beat until just incorporated. During this process, scrape down the bowl as necessary.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and give the pan a few thwacks on the countertop to remove any air bubbles.
  • Bake on a middle shelf in the oven for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick into the center comes out free of crumbs. I usually start looking at cake layers 5-10 minutes before and start checking with a toothpick very few minutes once the cake stops wobbling.
  • Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Lavender cream cheese buttercream frosting

  • Cream the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed.
  • Add the sugar and lavender and beat on low speed initially (until the sugar doesn't fly out of the bowl) and then on medium speed until well mixed.
  • Add the vanilla and food coloring (if using) and beat until completely incorporated.

What’s next?

If you make this Earl Grey lavender cake, I would love it if you would share a pic or comment and let me know.

Browse the uglyducklingbakery cake archives.

Love lavender? Make one of the other lavender recipes like the lemon lavender shortbread cookies or one of the lavender cocktails like The Lady Bridgerton.

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a slice of earl grey lavender cake on a plate with a fork

2 thoughts on “How to Make an Earl Grey Lavender Cake”

    • Hi Heather. Let me know if you have any questions. And if you do make this, please let me know how it turns out for you!

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