Earl Grey Tea Cake

You should know one thing about the Turks: We are crazy for tea, or what we call “çay”! Turkey’s Black Sea region has one of the high tea production capacities in the world and we are in the top list of the nations which consume most tea per capita.

We love coffee, and enjoy Turkish coffee most every day but tea… the brown-reddish color drink in tiny glasses that warms up our souls, clears our throats, and quenches the thirst. Even on the hot summer days, tea kettle is put on the stove for breakfast, again in the afternoon, and then after dinner. When you walk into a mom-and-pops type of store, you are always offered tea even if you are there for a minute to get your shopping done:”Please have a glass of our tea!”

This is another classic from the “ladies get-togethers” of my mom  and my grandma. Since tea was always steeping in our house, maybe this was a way to use up the last dark, bitter portion of tea left in the kettle. You know, old generations hate to waste anything. Or maybe, someone just could not get enough of tea, it had to be in their cake as well!

We use regular loose leaf black tea from the Black Sea region of Turkey, and add a pinch of Earl Grey tea to give the bergamot taste and steep it in the stacked kettles. But with an Earl Grey teabag, this cake became much easier. One good thing about this cake… It is not the typical tooth dropping sweet,fluffy, frosted cake. It is dense, smells like bergamot orange and has caffeine integrated in its DNA already. Add dark cocoa, and you get a deep chocolate flavor as well. It is kind of a “manly” cake if I may say so. We also made it with just cinnamon and walnut minus the dark cocoa. With that option, the cake has a great light brown hue.

To intensify the orange flavor, also zest from one orange can be added to the batter. Especially if you do not have Early Grey at hand and want to make the cake with regular black tea.

Please have a glass of our tea…and a slice of our cake!

Early Grey Black Tea

  • 1 teabag of Earl Grey black tea
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2-1/4 cups of cake flour (I use King Arthur brand)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup Hersey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 cups of chopped hazelnuts
  • Zest from one orange (optional)

1. Steep the teabag in 1 cup of hot water for 15-20 minutes.

2. Beat eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl until all blend well.

3. Discard the teabag. Add cooled black tea and butter, continue beating until everything is well combined.

4. Add cake flour, baking powder and cocoa. Stir until all well blended.

5. Stir the chopped hazelnuts. Pour the batter in a bundt pan or 9-inch cake pan.

6. Bake at 350-degrees for 45 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes clean. (Do not preheat the oven.)





  1. by Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen
    1:51 am
    Oct 13, 2011

    Yay, a tea post! I’m a tea fiend; iced tea is my weakness/vice. I don’t feel like my day is complete without a cold glass of tea. The cake sounds scrumptious!

    By the way, I’ve never told you this but my husband is madly addicted to Turkish Coffee. He has a cup every morning. He’s also hooked several of his friends on it. I call it liquid speed. One sip and my heart is racing!

  2. by Ilke
    6:09 am
    Oct 13, 2011

    I love it, liquid speed :) Perfect nickname for it!

  3. by Parsley Sage
    8:26 am
    Oct 13, 2011

    Ha! A manly cake :) This sounds fabulous. Now I need to go find somewhere that serves Turkish tea!

  4. by Liz
    9:31 pm
    Oct 13, 2011

    What a lovely cake with the gentle dusting of powdered sugar. I drink hot tea all year round…and it would go fabulously with this cake :)

  5. by Laura Rees
    8:50 am
    Oct 14, 2011

    That looks so nice and simple, and I have much love for Earl Grey. I wonder how it might taste with chai?

  6. by Ilke
    12:51 pm
    Oct 14, 2011

    Hi Laura,
    I bet it would taste slightly milky, spicy with chai. Would be a great trial!

  7. by Lemon
    1:26 pm
    Oct 14, 2011

    This cake looks beautiful. The idea of a black tea chocolate cake sounds great. Myself, I love tea, once I made earl grey biscuits, but never tried out a cake with chocoalte, yum.

  8. by Lisa @ Tarte du Jour
    6:07 pm
    Oct 14, 2011

    I love the Turkish tea traditions! This tea cake looks heavenly… a great salute to the Turks and their tea!

  9. by Jay
    9:30 pm
    Oct 14, 2011

    that looks so delicious…excellent clik..
    first time here…love your space…
    very interesting posts..with nice presentation..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  10. by Peggy
    4:45 pm
    Oct 15, 2011

    I definitely wish I incorporated more tea into our meals. This cake may just have to do the trick though =)

  11. by Cathy
    7:25 am
    Oct 16, 2011

    I just tried this recipe and made a perfect cake! I also replaced cocoa powder with cinnamon and it was absolutely delicious! Thanks for the recipe Ilke!

    P.s if I was to decorate this cake what would you suggest?

  12. by Ilke
    7:50 am
    Oct 16, 2011

    Hi Cathy! I am so glad it turned out good. I will have to remind myself how the cinnamon version tastes and make that soon!
    I normally just dust powdered sugar and not very well-versed on different types of icing. When I do have to choose, I go with creamcheese icing for regular cakes. But I would think something like buttercream icing or regular icing would do. Also my another favorite to cover chocolate cakes is chocolate ganache. Just melt chocolate in a bit of heavy cream, then whisk until it cools. You can put a 1 or half a tablespoon unsalted butter to make it shiny as well. Let me know what you find that pairs well with this cake. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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