This Earl Grey Tea Cake Recipe will fast become your go-to option when looking for a simple, yet tasty cake. Made in one bowl, with no special equipment, the batter is infused with ground tea leaves for a fragrant, bergamot-scented bite. Topped in a blood orange glaze, this may be the most delicious yet simple cake you've made in a while.
Earl grey tea has always, and I mean, always been one of my favourite flavour additions to baked goods. You'll have seen several earl grey infused recipes on my website, such as my Earl Grey Lemon Cupcakes, Earl Grey Créme Brûlèe Tart, and Earl Grey French Toast.
My personal favourite has to be the Earl Grey Blackberry Cupcakes - a beautiful combination together! Earl Grey tea is an incredibly versatile ingredient, in that it works perfectly with chocolate and all the citrus fruits plus berries and stone fruits. So brilliant!
Every French child grows up learning to bake a simple yogurt cake. It's one of those basic baking recipes that pass down from generation to generation. Traditionally it's made using the yogurt pot as a measure with the 1-2-1 method (1 pot yogurt - 2 pots flour - 1 pot sugar).
Today I'm sharing with you a variation of my classic French Lemon Yogurt Cake. I've taken inspiration from Bon Appétite by adding earl grey into the batter and then topped the cake with a blood orange glaze. This moist sponge with a tender crumb has been given the perfect Spring makeover.
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Simple to make. Made in one bowl and with no electric mixer required, this is as simple as you could get when making a cake.
- It's so versatile. Sub the Greek yogurt for natural yogurt, vegetable oil for olive oil, leave out the tea leaves or substitute the blood orange for lemon. You can make this your own incredibly easily.
- Smells and tastes insane! This is one of those loaf cakes that your guests (and you) will be chomping at the bit to get to whilst it's baking. The smell is intoxicating, and the earl grey flavour most definitely does not disappoint!
❓ What is Earl Grey Tea?
Earl Grey Tea is a black tea blend that's been flavoured from bergamot oils. Bergamot is a citrus fruit that originates from Italy and the fragrant oils from the rind are added to the tea leaves giving its unique taste.
If you've never tried it before I would describe the flavour of Earl Grey Tea as undeniably fragrant with notes of citrus and floral. It's subtle, quite mild, and incredibly easy to drink. It's our favourite tea here in the UK so if you’ve never tried it I strongly urge you to!
Due to the fragrant, uniquely scented aroma, Earl Grey Tea makes the perfect addition to many forms of baking. The leaves can be infused in butter or milk or can be added directly into the batter as I've done in this Earl Grey Tea Cake recipe.
What's the best Earl Grey Tea to use for this recipe?
There are many incredible brands of Earl Grea Tea making it hard to pinpoint just one. My favourite teas would have to be Tea Pigs, Pukka, T2, Twinnings, and Whittard. The majority are found at your local supermarket (if in the UK) or online.
One thing to note is that there is a difference in texture between bagged and loose-leaf tea. Bagged tea is made of already ground tea leaves. In contrast, loose leaf is made from whole tea leaves.
I use ground tea from inside Earl Grey teabags as I prefer the super fine texture. You can definitely use loose-leaf tea but I find the larger texture quite 'bitty' in the baked cake which I’m not a fan of. If you have loose leaf then I recommend grinding it in a pestle and mortar.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
Aside from the Earl Grey Tea and blood oranges (if you use them), the remaining ingredients are regular fridge or pantry products. Where possible, I provide substitutions so that you can be a little more flexible with what you have on hand.
Earl Grey Tea Cake ingredients
- Eggs - provide structure and, more importantly, moisture to the sponge. Make sure to whip them for the required time. Use room temperature egg. If you forget to bring them to room temperature, just pop them into a bowl of warm water for ten minutes prior to use.
- Yogurt - I use Greek yogurt as the natural tang cuts through the sweetness. Substitute with plain natural yogurt or sour cream. Adding this provides a crumb that is so moist and tender!
- Oil - I prefer to use vegetable oil as I want the flavour to be neutral so as not to overpower the Earl Grey Tea. Sunflower or canola oil can also be used as another option. Substitute with olive oil (as in my Yogurt Plum Cake) but note that the taste of olive oil will be more robust and impact the overall flavour. (Not necessarily a bad thing- just different!)
- Earl grey tea leaves - our hero flavour component. A good alternative to Earl Grey is Lady Grey Tea. It's a milder version of earl grey with stronger citrus notes. You could also try Rooibos Tea for a fruity taste or Chai Tea for a light spice offering. Each makes a beautiful addition to the earl grey flavoured cake.
Blood Orange Icing Ingredients (optional)
- Powdered Icing Sugar - for a lump-free glaze, pass the confectioners' sugar through a sieve before adding the yogurt and orange juice.
- Blood orange juice - blood oranges have a delightful pink colour that stains the icing. It's the perfect all-natural colour that looks so pretty over the top of the glaze.
What If You Don't Have Blood Oranges?
Blood oranges are only available for such a small amount of time, so if you can’t find them, don’t worry. Substitute with fresh lemon or regular oranges that are found year-round. Add a couple of drops of red natural food colouring if you want to achieve that pretty pink colour.
By simply omitting the tea leaves from the recipe, you can turn this earl grey loaf recipe into a base recipe. From there you can create your own favourite yogurt cake or loaf. My favourites include:
- French Yogurt Cake: Keep it simple by flavouring the batter with vanilla bean extract. Baked in a round tin or loaf pan, this humble, everyday cake is a staple in our house.
- Orange Yogurt Cake: Add a teaspoon of orange blossom water and orange zest to the batter and sprinkle the top with coarse sugar before baking for extra crunch.
- Blueberry Yogurt Loaf: Add a handful of fresh blueberries to the batter for little pops of fruity sweetness.
- Earl Grey Chocolate Cake: Keep this a tea-flavored cake but add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (milk) into the batter. This is my kids' favourite variation!
👩🏻🍳 How to Make
To me, the ultimate weekday bake has to be quick and easy. This Earl Grey Loaf Cake fits the bill perfectly. It's easy to make in one-bowl, great for afternoon tea but can also be toasted the next day for breakfast. Much like banana bread, this earl grey bread is amazing lightly toasted and brushed in butter. Yum!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
How to Make the Earl Grey Cake
STEP 1. Prepare your pan—grease the base and sides of a 2lb loaf pan. Line with parchment paper leaving an inch or so of the paper to overhang the sides to form a sling later on. It makes it way easier to lift the earl gray cake out once baked (Image 1).
STEP 2. Whip the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. In a large bowl, using a whisk, whip the eggs and sugar until they turn light, pale, and aerated. If doing this by hand don't whisk for less than a minute. We want lots of air in the mixture! This is your arm workout for the day! (Image 2)
TIP: If you want to use a hand-held electric beater fitted with the whisk attachment then by all means go for it!
STEP 3. Mix in yogurt and oil. Add the Greek yogurt and the vegetable oil into the mixing bowl and whisk until just combined (Images 3 & 4).
STEP 4. Sift in dry ingredients. We're keeping it simple and sifting the dry ingredients directly into our mixing bowl. Sift the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt through a fine-mesh sieve onto the whisked eggs. Then add the Earl Grey loose-leaf tea. If using tea bags, just cut them open and pour those tea leaves right into the flour mixture (Images 5 & 6).
Fold them together gently. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined and a few flour streaks remain (Images 7 & 8). This tip ensures that you don't overmix the batter and the black tea cake remains light in texture.
STEP 5. Pour into prepared pan and bake. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and level off the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes (Image 9).
The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, and the cake is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. (Image 10)
How to make the blood orange glaze
I added the blood orange glaze as I love the natural colour that blood oranges give to everything and I wanted to make the most of them still being in season. Next time I'll add the zest to the loaf also.
But the glaze isn’t essential, this Earl Grey Cake recipe is still a winner without it!
STEP 6. Add powdered sugar and orange juice into a bowl and whisk together. Make sure to sift the powdered sugar otherwise, you may get a lumpy glaze! (Image 11)
Add Greek Yogurt to the glaze. I add yogurt to the glaze as I love the tang that cuts the sweetness of the icing sugar. But it will make the glaze a bit runnier (Image 12).
TIP: If you prefer a thicker glaze then omit the yogurt or increase the amount of powdered icing sugar you use, by 30g (¼ cup) at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
STEP 7. Pour the blood orange glaze over the cake, leave it to set for ten minutes or so, slice, and serve alongside a cup of tea! (Image 13)
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- Weigh your flour. Use digital scales for accurate measurement. Too much flour will lead to a dry sponge that can crack when rolling.
- Don't overmix. Once the dry ingredients are added to the mixture, fold through gently to knock out the air. Mix until a few flour streaks remain. It's tempting to keep mixing the beautiful batter, but it'll result in a chewy sponge, and we definitely don't want that.
- Don't overbake. We've added yogurt into our sponge to create extra moisture and then we've been careful not to over-mix the batter. It would be such a shame to overbake the loaf and ruin it. Insert a toothpick into the sponge and it should come out with a few moist crumbs only. Cover with foil if the top browns too quickly and continue baking.
📋 Recipe FAQs
It's basically black tea leaves that have the oils from the bergamot orange added to the leaves. That’s what gives the taste and smell such a beautiful, fragrant flavour. It's our favourite tea here in the UK so if you’ve never tried it I strongly urge you to!
Yogurt adds moisture through the extra fat content. Along with the oil, this results in a cake that will always be moist. This then makes it last longer! Bonus!
One hundred percent of course! I would recommend a 23cm (9-inch) cake pan. Check the cake for 35 minutes and bake until done.
❄️ Storage and Freezer Instructions
To Store: The Earl Grey Pound Cake is best stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
To Freeze: The Earl Grey Loaf is best frozen unglazed. Either freeze as a whole wrapped well in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Or slice and wrap individual slices in plastic wrap. The yogurt cake can be frozen for up to 2 months. Leave it out on the countertop to thaw overnight. Once completely thawed, make the glaze and decorate prior to serving.
🍰 More Simple Cake Recipes
If you tried this Earl Grey Tea Cake recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you!
Earl Grey Tea Cake Recipe
Earl Grey cake batter
- 2 large eggs
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 240 g Greek yogurt (or plain natural)
- 180 ml vegetable oil (or canola)
- 250 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 6 g Earl Grey Tea leaves , ground
- 180 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- 30 ml fresh orange juice, blood orange or navel orange
- 15 g Greek yogurt
Earl Grey cake batter
- Heat oven & prep pan: Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Grease with butter a 2 lb loaf pan 23 x 14cm (9 x 5.5-inch) and line the base and sides with parchment paper.
- Whisk eggs & sugar: In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract and whisk until pale and light - this takes approximately one minute.
- Mix in yogurt & oil: Add the Greek yogurt and oil and whisk until fully combined.
- Sift in dry ingredients: Sift into the bowl the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add the ground Earl Grey tea leaves. (See note)Fold together gently: Using a spatula, fold gently until a few streaks of flour remain.
- Bake: Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake on the centre shelf for 50-55 minutes until golden brown and the sponge springs back or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly then cover it in aluminium foil and continue to bake. Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes, then remove from the pan to cool completely.
Orange Glaze, optional
- Whisk: Add powdered icing sugar and orange juice into a small bowl and whisk together. Add Greek yogurt and whisk until combined. If the glaze is too runny, then add more powdered sugar 30g (¼ cup) at a time, and mix until desired consistency is reached.
- Pour: Pour glaze over the cooled cake and set aside for ten minutes for the glaze to harden. Slice and serve.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.