I spent 23 years of my life hating cake. 23 YEARS!
I was always the kid who had birthday cookies. Or birthday pie. Or birthday "something other than cake". Then, around my 23rd birthday, I made a red velvet cake for a friend and the world as I knew it had changed. The cake was the perfect combination of not-too-sweet, tangy (from the cream cheese frosting), and substantial—unlike the grocery store cakes I had tasted all my life.
I didn't grow up with a baking mom. But don't cry for me. My mom kicks ass at about a million other things. All it means it that I've had a lot of making up to do for the last nine years. A lot.
So much making up to do, in fact, that I even had a small cupcake business when we lived in Kentucky. Pretty big step for a kid who hated cake all her life. I just knew that I had to share this new-found love of cake with the world—or at least my town.
Recently I got to share my love of cake with some friends of ours who got engaged. My husband and I knew about the proposal before the question was popped and it was like knowing the best secret in the world—unless you hate love; in which case, forget you.
I was nervous all night, knowing what was about to happen. Then around 8:15 on February 13—when I felt like I was going to pee in my pants and couldn't take it any longer—he got down on one knee, in front of all their friends, and asked her. And she said, "Well, of course!"
And then it was time for cake.
I guess the cake could've come in handy if she said no, too. Nothing like a whole chocolate cake to help you eat your feelings.
This cake may sound posh— as they say across the pond—but the flavors are simple and delicate. I had never had Early Grey and chocolate together, but this cake was so delicious that it might be my new go-to chocolate cake.
Earl Grey is black tea with the addition of bergamot oil. Yum. I topped the cake with a thick ganache made with more tea steeped in cream and bittersweet chocolate. Yum again.
And without further ado. Let's make a cake.
TO MAKE THIS RECIPE YOU WILL NEED:
6 Earl Grey tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea
1 cup water boiling water
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
FOR THE GANACHE:
1 tablespoon loose Earl Grey tea or 2 tea bags
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
1 cup heavy cream
Prepare your pan: I normally wouldn't explain this so much, but my first attempt yielded a cake that wouldn't budge from the pan. Lucky husband. An extra cake! The second time I buttered the crap out of the bundt pan and then sprinkled cocoa powder over it until every nook and cranny and was covered. Do this. Trust me. It came out with ease.
Preheat your oven to 350°.
Make the tea: Steep tea in water for 3-5 minutes.
Dries: In a medium bowl, whisk flour, soda, powder, and salt until well combined.
Wets: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one and at a time and continue beating until well combined, another couple minutes. Stir in melted chocolate. Add dries to wets and mix until just combined. Mix in tea and sour cream.
Bake a cake: Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto cooling rack.
Make the ganache: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and let the tea steep in the hot cream for a couple minutes. Place chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over top. Let stand for 10 minutes without stirring. Stir gently until chocolate is melted and combined with cream. It'll thicken as it cools. Wait until the cake has cooled and the ganache is of pouring consistency, but thickened, and pour it over top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.
recipe adapted from Real Simple.