This moist and easy lavender earl grey cake might just be the most flavorful and fun cake you've ever tried! Steeping the lavender and tea in milk creates a fragrant and herbal flavor that is delicate and decadent all at once. With just 20 minutes prep and 30 to bake, you'll have this cake ready in under 1 hour!
Lavender earl grey cake is a popular choice for weddings and showers. It's a beautiful and unique floral flavor that can be frosted and decorated in many different ways. This serves 24 when cut as a wedding cake so it is great for a crowd.
Ice cake layers and outside with this easy Lavender Buttercream made just for this recipe!
This was inspired by my Strawberry Rhubarb and Lavender Shortcake and pairs well with this Easy Homemade Strawberry Peach Lemonade. For more lavender goodness, you might also like the comforting Traditional Lavender Milk Tea or the luxe Lavender Lemon Drop Martini.
Gorgeous floral flavors highlighted with vanilla extract and earl grey flavor make a perfect cake for any bridal or baby shower.
- Culinary Lavender - For the best flavor and purest lavender, be sure to buy culinary grade lavender or use your own if you grow it. My own dried lavender is what I've used here but fresh is delicious and if you have it, use it. (Note: Do NOT use lavender essential oils for this. It can leave a soapy flavor that is unpleasant.)
- Earl Grey Tea- Regular or decaffeinated are both fine. Use a nice quality tea that you like the taste of. Earl grew is black tea flavored with bergamot. Bergamot and lavender are a wonderful flavor combination.
- Butter - I've used unsalted butter here. If you use salted, reduce or omit the added salt in the recipe.
See recipe card for quantities.
How To Video
Don't be daunted by the amount of steps. This is a simple, moist cake that combines the wet ingredients together, then the dry. The dry then get added to the wet and voila! Steeping the lavender and tea is the only extra step from a regular, basic cake recipe.
1. Preheat oven to 325º
Heat milk in a small saucepan to steaming, and remove from heat.
Add earl grey tea and dried lavender to milk and steep while it cools back down to room temperature.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
4. Add oil and beat well for another 1-2 minutes.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Mix until it's a creamy and fluffy consistency, then beat in vanilla extract. A stand mixer with a paddle attachment works great for this batter.
6. Remove tea bags from milk, and strain into "wet" ingredients to remove lavender buds. Mix again until well incorporated.
7a. Stir in half of flour mixture, mix in and add remaining half.
7b. Beat for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
8. Divide batter evenly between two greased + floured or parchment lined 8” round cake tins.
Bake in center of oven for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove and let cool.
9. To ice cake, spread a thin layer of icing on it a cake plate. This will “glue” your cake to the plate, preventing sliding.
10. Level first cake layer if necessary, brush away crumbs, and place, top side up, on cake plate.
11. Spread a layer of icing ¼ to ⅓ inch thick on cake layer.
12. Level the second layer if necessary, and place on top of iced layer, top side down
Ice with a thin layer of crumb coat, let crust (dry until dry to a light touch).
13. Repeat with a thicker layer of frosting for a top coat, smoothing with an offset spatula.
Note: This is the traditional method of icing a layer cake. If you want a “naked” or more rustic look, a second coat may be unnecessary if you brush away loose crumbs adequately.
Easy Decorating... Or Get Fancy
Finish by decorating or garnishing. Sprinkling a few lavender flower, candied lemon peel, sugared violets or lemon sugar are all nice, easy ways to add simple decoration to your cake.
Or get fancy with your star tipped icing bag and pipe stars or flowers around the bottom and top edge before adding a custom decoration on the top.
Baking cakes is a science so be careful when making substitutions. Here are a few that will work.
- Tea - If you're out of earl grey tea, you can sub regular black tea or even chai (without any extra sweetener). If you want to omit it altogether, see lavender vanilla cake variation below.
- Pan Size - For larger or smaller pans, see the 6" pan and cupcake options below. To make a 9 x 13 recipe, add approximately 10 minutes to the baking time and check with a cake tester. Once it comes out clean or with a few crumbs, it is done.
- Dairy-Free - If you can't tolerate dairy, swap dairy milk for regular, unsweetened almond or soy milk and use hard baking margarine instead of butter.
Want a tall triple layer cake or a tower of cupcakes? What about a vanilla cake with floral notes? Check out these simple variations.
- Triple Layer Cake - You can bake this tea cake in three, 6” round cake pans for a triple layer cake. It uses the same amount of batter. For 6” layers, you’ll reduce the baking time by 5 minutes.
- Lavender Earl Grey Cupcakes - Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease and flour them. Fill muffin tins ¾ full and bake 18-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs on it.
- Lavender Vanilla Cake - Simply omit the tea (steep just the lavender buds in the milk), add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the wet ingredients and otherwise make as directed for a tasty lavender vanilla cake.
Regular bowls and a hand mixer work fine. If you have a stand mixer with whisk or paddle attachment, that is great too, and easier on the arms.
A medium or large saucepan is great for making the milk tea but you could also scald your milk in the microwave, then add the tea leaves and lavender to steep.
This cake will keep well, covered in the refrigerator. 3 days is maximum for peak freshness but this will keep safely for up to 7 days if unfrosted. After 3 days, the cake will start to lose moisture and dry out.
If frosted, place an upside down bowl or other cover over and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Lavender earl grey cake freezes really well. To freeze, first make sure cake is completely cooled. To freeze unfrosted cake, wrap snugly with plastic wrap, ideally with 2 layers of wrap or placed in a airtight container after wrapping once. Frozen unfrosted, this cake will last up to 6 months in the freezer.
To freeze frosted cake, first freeze uncovered until icing is frozen, then gently but securely wrap the cake well in plastic wrap and/or an airtight container. Frozen frosted cake will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
When ready to use, thaw loosely covered at room temperature for 3 hours, then frost or decorate if required.
A day old cake is much easier and firmer to frost than one freshy baked. If you are decorating this for a shower or other event, it's best to make it the day before decorating to help prevent crumbs in the icing.
Also, take your time and enjoy the baking. Taste the creamed butter and sugar to make sure it's ok 😉
Thanks so much for reading along, I hope you loved my lavender earl grey cake. If you did, I'd love if you could give it a star rating on the recipe card.
Cheers and sweet dreams, Friends!
Lavender Earl Grey Cake
- 4 Bags Earl Grey Tea or 3 tablespoons of earl grey loose leaf tea
- 2 tablespoon Lavender Buds
- 1 cup Milk I've used whole milk but any will work
- 2 ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
- ½ cup Oil
- 1 ½ cup Sugar White granulated
- 3 Eggs (at room temperature) Size large eggs
- 2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- Preheat oven to 325º and make sure eggs and butter are out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
- Heat milk to steaming, add tea and lavender and remove from heat. Let steep and cool to room temperature. Once cool, remove tea bags from milk, and strain to remove lavender buds and reserve.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a larger bowl, beat sugar and butter together until combined well, add oil, and beat for another 1-2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition adding vanilla with the last egg.
- Add lavender tea steeped milk mixture to wet ingredients and beat well until fully combined.
- Stir in half of dry (flour) mixture until partially combined, add second half and beat until smooth and glossy.
- Divide batter evenly between two greased and floured or parchment lined 8” round cake pans. Bake in center of oven for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Loosen edges of cakes with a butter knife, then turn onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
How to frost cake
- Select a cake plate, or other surface, and spread a thin layer of icing on it. This will “glue” your cake to the plate, preventing sliding.
- Level first cake layer by slicing any high parts off horizontally if necessary. Brush away crumbs, and place top side up on cake plate.
- Spread a thin layer of icing (¼ to ⅓ inch thick) on first cake layer.
- Level the second layer if necessary, and place on top of iced layer, top side down.
- Ice with a thin layer of crumb coat, let crust (dry slightly), and repeat with a thicker layer of top coat, smoothing as desired.