In America, I don’t think cakes get the recognition they deserve. How many times have you avoided eating cake at a wedding or birthday party? They’re not celebrated as much as cupcakes and I don’t understand why. Cakes feel and look majestic. Layers of cream, delicate sponge, all laced together with flavors that completely compliment one another.
I get really excited when I see a cake that has a unique flavor combination. The lack of exciting flavor combinations is probably why we, as Americans, enjoy cakes less. For my birthday this year, I went a little over the top. After spending a year in Scotland, I knew I wanted to enjoy an English tea party themed event and had to have an accompanying cake. In an afternoon tea, a slice of cake is often served at the end. The traditional ones are either Victoria sponge cake or carrot cake. I decided to go in a completely different direction and try something new. Taking flavors I know well already, I wanted to put together a black tea and ginger cake with honey buttercream. It’s zingy, comforting, a hint of floral, and the perfect birthday cake for the occasion!
Notes About the Recipe
- Ginger - I love using fresh ginger in this because you get a whole different type of flavor compared to a ginger powder. I like to freeze my ginger root whole and then grate as much as I need straight from the frozen. It makes measurement and the grated ginger easier to handle.
- CTC Black Tea - Loose leaf tea is usually a bit milder in flavor that can be lost in the cooking process. I prefer to use CTC black tea, which technically has more surface area. It makes the tea milk more full-bodied, rich, and delicious. I used the Vahdam CTC black tea!
- Adding the tea milk - It’s very important you add the tea milk slowly to ensure that the cake mixture doesn’t get overwatered and difficult to manage.
- Toppings - I topped my cake with unsalted chopped pistachios, but some other options are chamomile flowers, lemon slices, or edible flowers!
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 tbs CTC black tea
- 1 tbs ginger, grated
- 2¾ butter, unsalted & softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
- 1¾ cups cake flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 tbs honey
- 6 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare 2 9-inch cake tins.
Over medium heat while stirring constantly, add the CTC black tea and ginger and let it steep covered for 5 minutes after removing the milk from heat. Let it sit until cooled and then run through a sieve and discard the tea and ginger.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Using a standmixer, beat ¼ cup butter and granulated sugar until a smooth add one egg at a time. It will make a yellow pastel paste. Beat in the vegetable oil and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Once the mixture is smooth gradually add in the cake flour mixture ¼ cup at a time. Then stir in the tea milk in four until well combined. The batter will be a bit runny. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
For the buttercream, beat the rest of the butter, honey, and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar 2 cups at a time.
Place the first layer upside down so the bottom is facing the top. Add a thick layer of cream and add the second layer with bottom face top again. Spread butter cream on top and on the sides. Top with chopped unsalted pistachios!