Coffee houses have been slowly but surely adding more teas to their menus in recent years. As someone who loves the smell of coffee, but not the taste, I always order tea. If I want to treat myself, I get either a chai latte or a London fog latte. I love the London fog flavor profile of Earl Grey tea with vanilla. So I came up with this recipe for Earl Grey Pound Cake with a honey lemon glaze.
This Earl Grey loaf cake is great for breakfast, brunch, or as a dessert. And, of course, it makes a perfect accompaniment at tea time. Its subtle notes of bergamot, vanilla, and lemon make it a more sophisticated pound cake.
Since Earl Grey pound cake travels well, it makes for a good Mother’s Day gift to all the mother figures in your life. It could also be a get-well gift, paired up with a pretty mug and assortment of teas.
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To Bundt or Not to Bundt, That is the Question
I originally experimented with this recipe a while back. I made enough to fill my heritage Bundt pan. Bundt cakes are deeper than layer cakes, so they take longer to bake. The problem was that in order to bake it long enough to be fully cooked all the way through, the outside would end up being too tough. While it had the right flavor, it was a challenge to cut.
Fast forward a few months, when I saw this Nordic Ware citrus blossom loaf pan and knew I had to have it. Lemons seem to be a huge decorating trend this year. Combine that with my love of baking with lemons and tea, and I knew I had to go back to the drawing board with my London fog latte pound cake recipe.
True London Fog Latte Flavor
I wanted this pound cake to have enough Earl Grey tea flavor to be noticed, but not so much that non-tea drinkers would be overwhelmed. I decided to try the technique I used with my lemon chamomile cupcakes. After warming up some milk, I steeped six tea bags for several minutes while I prepared the rest of the batter. The result is a fragrant steeped milk that gives just the right amount of character to this cake.
A London Fog latte also includes vanilla, so vanilla extract is a natural addition to the recipe. I experimented with also adding some almond extract, but that changed the flavor profile and overwhelmed the subtle notes of tea.
Since honey and lemon are classic additions to tea, I decided to incorporate them into a glaze. The glaze is brushed on while the cake cools. It is different from the thick, opaque white glazes that coffee houses use on their loaf cakes. I find those glazes to be very sweet and overpowering to the flavor of the cake itself.
If you are making the cake for tea lovers, I recommend adding two or three drops of bergamot essential oil to the glaze. Bergamot is a citrus fruit native to Italy. It is what gives Earl Grey tea its unique aroma and flavor.
The Young Living Bergamot Vitality Oil that I use is edible. (Note that not all brands of bergamot essential oil are edible. Some are meant to be used in a diffuser only.) If you are interested in purchasing Young Living Bergamot Vitality Oil and would like to become a member so that you can get the wholesale discounted price, click here. (Disclosure: This is my Young Living Distributor link.)
If you don’t have bergamot essential oil, you can steep one or two Earl Grey tea bags in the hot water that is used in the glaze. Before adding the other ingredients, reheat the steeped tea so that it is hot again. The sugar and honey will dissolve better in hot tea.
Scared About Sticking?
Years ago, while taking a cake decorating class at a craft store, the instructor introduced us to baking spray. This little miracle in a can makes greasing and flouring baking pans so much easier. No more trying to get shortening into all the little nooks and crannies of sculpted Bundt pans or loaf pans. Instead, you spray this combination of non-stick cooking spray with flour already in it. In just seconds, the pan is fully coated.
Another benefit of baking sprays is that the flour in the spray does not leave a residue. Contrast this with using a combination of shortening and flour. That sometimes leaves clumps of white flour on the finished cake.
If you are using a loaf pan with a design, you can highlight the 3D shapes of your Earl Grey pound cake by dusting it with powdered confectioner’s sugar right before serving. To help apply an even dusting, use a powdered sugar shaker.
Earl Grey Pound Cake
- Loaf pan approximately 6 cup capacity
- Electric mixer or stand mixer
- ⅓ cup milk (any kind)
- 6 Earl Grey tea bags
- 2 sticks unsalted butter softened (1 cup)
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup sour cream (regular or low fat)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (preferably pure)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Baking spray with flour
- ¼ cup hot water
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- 2-3 drops Bergamot essential oil optional OR 1-2 Earl Grey tea bags
- Confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Microwave the milk in a liquid measuring cup for 30 seconds. Steep the tea bags in the warmed milk while you prepare the next steps.⅓ cup milk, 6 Earl Grey tea bags
- If the butter is not soft, put it in the microwave for 20 seconds at 30% power. Repeat in 20 second intervals until soft but not melted.2 sticks unsalted butter
- Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter in a bowl by beating it on medium speed.
- Add 1 cup of sugar, and beat on medium speed to incorporate it into the butter. Then beat in the remaining ½ cup of sugar.1½ cups granulated sugar
- Add the eggs one at a time, and continue beating on medium speed.3 eggs
- Add in the sour cream and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure even mixing.½ cup sour cream
- Remove the tea bags from the milk. Add the steeped milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice to the mixture, beating at medium speed until incorporated.1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp lemon juice
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.2¼ cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt
- Add ⅓ of the flour mixture at a time to the batter and mix at low speed just until incorporated. Repeat until all of the flour mixture has been added to the batter.
- Thoroughly spray the loaf pan with baking spray (includes flour in the spray).Baking spray with flour
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Even out the top with a rubber spatula. Gently tap the pan on the counter to get rid of air pockets.
- Bake at 350°F for 60 to 85 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the highest part of the cake and see if the batter is no longer wet. Or, use a baking thermometer to see that it comes out bright red.
- Put the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Use a serrated knife to remove any cake that has risen above the rim of the pan.
- To remove from the pan, invert it onto a serving plate. If it does not easily come out of the pan, gently run an offset spatula or butter knife along the edges.
- Make the glaze by combining the hot water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, and bergamot essential oil in a small bowl, Brush the glaze generously on the top and sides of the warm pound cake. (If you do not have bergamot essential oil, steep 1-2 Earl Grey tea bags in the hot water before adding the other ingredients. Remove the tea bags before brushing the glaze on the cake.)¼ cup hot water, 3 tbsp granulated sugar, 1 tbsp honey, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 2-3 drops Bergamot essential oil
- If desired, dust the top of the loaf with confectioner's sugar immediately before serving.Confectioners sugar
- Since pound cakes are denser than layer cakes, they take longer to bake. Begin testing for doneness at 1 hour. If the toothpick comes out wet, continue cooking in 5-minute increments. Avoid overbaking, or the crust will brown too much and can be hard.
- I usually do not have trouble removing cakes from the pan if they have been generously sprayed with Pam Baking Spray before putting the batter in.
- You can evenly dust with confectioners sugar using a powdered sugar shaker.
- Serve with fresh berries and whipped cream.
- Store leftovers in an airtight cake carrier for up to 3 days.
- The part of the cake that was sliced off when leveling it in the pan is great to use in a parfait.
- The leftover glaze can be stored covered in the refrigerator. It can be used to sweeten tea.