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We already know that Earl Grey and Chocolate are a wonderful combination – you only have to try my lovely Earl Grey Chocolate Brownies to work that out! And really, what better way to exploit any chocolate-paired flavour, than in a good old chocolate sponge? From orange to pisachio to banana, if it goes well with chocolate, you can bet your bottom dollar it’l be great in a chocolate sponge. So that is pretty much the thinking behind today’s experiment; an absurdly yummy take on a traditional chocolate sponge.

Just like last week’s banana bread, the Earl Grey lends an incredible moisture to the finished product, although unlike the banana bread, the Earl Grey flavour in this cake is fairly potent. If you prefer a subtle flavour, I’d suggest using 3 teabags rather than 5, which will give your cake more of a hint of Earl Grey than the full-bodied Earl Grey twist we enjoyed with mine.

I found this recipe on Lucy’s Table; the recipe is perfect and produced a beautiful sponge consistency, although the resulting cake was MASSIVE. Since mine was a Birthday cake, there were plenty of people around and it was appropriately consumed, however I have now modified the quantities in the recipe to create a more reasonably sized cake, in case you aren’t planning on feeding an army. For the original quantities, check out the original recipe.

The original recipe also suggests a ganache topping, but I opted for a simple chocolate buttercream instead; worked a treat!

Ingredients
  • 155ml boiling water
  • 4 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 170g  flour
  • 2/3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 85g plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 170g sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 110g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 155ml buttermilk (or 150ml milk mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Chocolate buttercream, amount to taste
Method
  • Pour boiling water over the teabags and allow to brew
  • Pre-heat oven to 180oC and grease two 9-inch cake tins
  • Strain tea bags from water, leaving very strong Earl Grey tea
  • Sift 85g cocoa powder into a bowl and add the tea; mix until completely smooth
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl
  • Beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy; add eggs and beat until fully combined
  • Add cocoa-tea mixture, buttermilk and vanilla and mix well
  • Add flour mixture and fold until completely combined; do not over mix
  • Pour half of the mixture into each tin and bake for 30-40 mins or until a skewer when inserted comes out clean
  • Allow cake to cool completely before icing and serving.

 

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