Crunchy Bottoms

Striking the caloric balance. Barely.

Earl Grey and Lemon Cake

Earl Grey and Lemon Cake

It’s been raining, and as you’re reading this, you probably rolled your eyes because chances are, it’s still raining.

It rained continuously for 16 odd hours on Sunday, and I’m not counting in Saturday because it was a start-and-stop thing as if the sky thought it would be funny to sprinkle a little of this and that every now and then like Tinkerbell on crack. I spent the entire day frolicking around in the now severely eroded and muddied wreck that is Fort Canning Green at the Laneway Music Festival. I can’t imagine what it looks like now.

And since the sky didn’t look like it was going to let up (and it didn’t. Surprise!) I had to busy myself with other activities that didn’t involve my snuggly microfleece Uniqlo jacket, the blanket and the bed.

So I made a pot of tea, a delicately floral French Earl Grey, and I thought something was missing.

And so I made cake.

Not just cake to have with tea, but cake with tea, like tea in cake, because just cake and tea is boring.

Earl Grey and Lemon Cake

Now, I drink my tea as is – no sugar, no milk, no nothing.

But then here I am throwing tea into butter and sugar and lemon and walnuts and all sorts of other things just because I wanted cake. I wanted something light, elegant, dainty, mildly sweet and flowery. I was this close to flinging in a couple of tablespoons of dried lavender but then I remembered that time when I combined everything I loved into one cake (and apparently I love a truckload of things) and my oven shat out a circular brick.

So Lavender, rain check (no pun intended)?

I had a little trouble with the baking time because the top of the cake started browning far too quickly before it was even baked through. And there was also the little…commotion…when Mommy walked into the kitchen and saw me using TWG’s French Earl Grey instead of “[using] cheap NTUC brand la!”. Well I gave her a slice after, and then all was well, of course.

Earl Grey and Lemon Cake

Feel free to use any type of Earl Grey you have. I used French Earl Grey from TWG. I know they have a couple more types of Earl Greys but the French Earl Grey was the most floral and strong, yet not unpleasantly so. Twinings will work great too. If you’re using tea leaves from teabags, they should be fine enough so you don’t have to do any chopping.

This isn’t one of those tender and moist kind of cakes, but I love it for its lightness and simplicity. It’s best while it’s still warm, the crust still slightly crisp and the interior soft and crumbly. What I really mean to say is that paired with a hot cuppa on a dreary, wet day, this hits the spot like nothing else and I guarantee it.

Makes 1 loaf tin of cake


  • 165g butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 160g cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 130g icing sugar
  • 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 50g honey
  • 1 1/2 tbs Earl Grey tea leaves (chopped, if yours comes in larger leaves)
  • zests of 2 lemons


  1. Preheat oven to 170C.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder in a bowl. Whisk in the Earl Grey tea leaves and lemon zest.
  3. Cream butter and icing sugar together using an electric mixer till pale yellow and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is incorporated well before adding the next.
  5. Add in the honey, vanilla extract, flour mixture and salt and mix for another 3 minutes.
  6. Using a spatula, fold in the walnuts gently.
  7. Line your baking tin with parchment paper if yours isn’t non-stick, and fill the tin with the batter till about 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes, watching that the top doesn’t brown too much. If it does, cover the top with tin foil and continue baking till a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few crumbs.
  9. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

17 responses to “Earl Grey and Lemon Cake

  1. notabilia February 2, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Love! I am home all weekend and have some Earl Grey tea. I know what I’m doing on Saturday…

  2. Vegolicious February 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I love early grey tea and I love that you’ve combined it into a lemon cake. Sounds like a definite winner to me.

    I’d love for your to submit them to Vegolicious, a vegetarian food photo gallery where readers can browse beautiful photos to discover new recipes and wonderful blogs. If you would like to share this recipe with our readers please submit a photo along with a link to this post.

  3. Kasey February 4, 2011 at 3:07 am

    This sounds like the perfect thing for a rainy weekend! I love tea flavors in cakes (and chocolate, too!)

  4. Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls February 4, 2011 at 4:04 am

    This looks incredible! Great pictures and beautiful looking bread!!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xx
    Delightful Bitefuls

  5. Christine Leow February 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you! More to come on bread! Hopefully. Your chocolate bread looks gorgeous too!

  6. Ash February 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Is this what you made for me?

  7. Rene May 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    This cake looks good! Would love to bake this for my husband’s birthday. Just a question – would this be very sweet? My husband is diabetic so could I reduce the sugar to maybe half cup? Can I use granulated sugar in place of icing sugar? Thank you!

    • Christine Leow May 4, 2011 at 11:51 pm

      The fine particles of icing sugar just helps the sweetness distribute better. But yes, granulated sugar will do as well. Reducing the sugar shouldn’t have any major effects on the cake, but I should point out that the cake isn’t all that sweet all that sweet as it is. Perhaps reducing the sugar to 80g would do. =)

  8. Renee May 6, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Thank you so much! Just another question, is the texture of the cake similar to that of a sponge cake? Sort of airy, fairy light or like a pound cake which is more dense?

    • Christine Leow May 6, 2011 at 12:55 am

      It’s definitely denser, nothing like a sponge cake. That said, this is one of my favourites because it’s pretty light. Just the right amount of moistness too!

      • Renee May 7, 2011 at 1:49 am

        that’s great! i’ll be making this on saturday and i’ll let you know how it turns out. finally, may i substitute say 1/3 or half the flour for whole wheat flour instead? Since cake flour has more starch than whole wheat flour, would reducing the starch somewhat affect the texture of the cake?

  9. Christine Leow May 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Renee: The texture of the cake will be denser since the cake flour helps to lighten the overall crumb. It’s not the starch in flours that affect the texture of cakes but the protein content. Cake flour has less protein content than regular all-purpose flour so it gives cakes that lighter, fluffier feel. Whole wheat flour has slightly more flavour but will make it a tad denser. It won’t make any drastic changes. Let me know how it goes!

  10. katertot710 September 5, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Is there a recipe with US measurements?

  11. Pingback: Earl Grey and Poppyseed Lemon Drizzle Cake | closerbyteaspoons

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