I recently made a few cakes for Bloom Workshop’s event in Seattle and I made a dark chocolate, earl grey and lavender ganache that I just loved, so I decided to dedicate a whole cake to that delish flavor combination. The cake is subtly flavored with black tea and bergamot, it’s filled with a whipped bittersweet dark chocolate, lavender and deep, citrusy bergamot ganache and covered with a salted caramelized white chocolate ganache. I topped it with lavender meringues, culinary lavender and some simple, lovely flowers.
The cake recipe is so easy to make and doesn’t require the use of a mixer. The butter is melted, dry ingredients sifted, wet ingredients mixed together, then everything is mixed by hand just until combined. It’s a lovely, chocolaty, buttery cake.
I used Smith Teamaker’s Lord Bergamot tea which I absolutely love, but any good quality earl grey will do. If you’d like to use the cake recipe with other fillings, etc, substitute strong coffee for the tea and it will simply accentuate the flavor of the dark chocolate.
The cake recipe is adapted from Linda Lomelino’s book, Lomelino’s Cakes. The merengues are from Sweetapolita’s cookbook and the caramelized white chocolate recipe is by David Leibowitz, I simply turned it into a ganache.
- 2 c (240 g) all purpose flour
- ½ c + 1 tbsp (48g) good quality cocoa powder (I use valrhona)
- 1.5 c (297 g) sugar
- 1½ tbsp baking powder
- 1½ tbsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, melted
- 1 c buttermilk at room temperature
- ½ c + 1 tbsp strong earl grey tea, from about 3 tea bags
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter 3 x 6 inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, dust with flour and tap out the excess.
- Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.
- Combine the buttermilk, melted butter, tea, vanilla and eggs in a small bowl and beat gently.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir gently just until combined. Do not over mix.
- Distribute evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pans, then check every 5 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
- Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn cake out onto the rack to cool completely.
- 3 egg whites at room temperature
- pinch cream of tartar
- ¾ c (155 g) superfine/caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp lavender extract, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Wipe a stainless steel mixing bowl and whisk attachment with lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Beat the egg whites on low speed for about 30 seconds, until foamy. Stop the mixer and add the cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium and beat until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and add the sugar a spoonful at a time. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy and thick, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 30 seconds. Add a few drops of lavender extract and beat until well combined, then taste. Add more if necessary.
- Fit a large pastry bag with the tip of your choice and pipe quarter-sized meringues onto the parchment paper about ½ inch apart.
- Bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and leave the cookies in for an additional hour to dry. The cookies should be crisp, sound hollow when the bottom is tapped but not browned or discolored. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- 1 c heavy whipping cream
- 3 earl grey tea bags
- 7 oz good-quallity dark chocolate
- 4 drops lavender extract, or to taste
- Scald the cream in a small pot over moderate heat, swirling occasionally. Remove from heat once small bubbles appear in the center. Steep the tea bags in the hot cream for 10 minutes, then squeeze the excess liquid from the tea bags and discard them.
- Melt 7 oz dark chocolate, then whisk in the cream and the lavender extract.
- 9 oz good-quality white chocolate
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ c heavy whipping cream
- pinch of flaky salt
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Distribute chocolate in a rimmed baking sheet or cake pan and drizzle with 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove it from the oven and spread it evenly with the back of a wooden spoon or a spatula. Continue baking for an additional 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. The chocolate may look grainy or chalky, but keep stirring and it will smooth out.
- Continue cooking until caramelized and the color of peanut butter. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Place caramelized chocolate and heavy whipping cream in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender or blend in a food processor until smooth. Add more cream if necessary, until ganache is a pourable consistency. Stir in a pinch of flaky sea salt.
Assembly // level the cakes and place one layer on a cake stand or plate. Spread with a thick layer of dark chocolate ganache, then generously drizzle caramelized white chocolate ganache over the dark chocolate. Place second layer on top, press down gently, then repeat. Place the final layer on face down (so the smooth side is facing up) and pour white chocolate ganache over, spreading with a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon until there is a thick layer on top and the ganache has drizzled down the sides. Decorate with meringues, flowers, etc! Store in the fridge but allow to come back to room temperature before serving. Best served within 2 days.