Thursday, 9 June 2016

Bridal Shower Part 1 - Orange Earl Grey Cake

My very dear friend M is getting married! I’ve known this gal since we were in high school (we’re now in our 30’s to put this in context). We’ve been through a lot of fun and not so fun times (as is life) together and watched each other grow up. There have been times when we’ve been apart (she moved to Toronto for a while) and times when we didn’t get together often (I had grad school, she had a child!) but we have one of those friendships where we can jump right back in and nothing has changed. So I was delighted to help organize her bridal shower and send her on her way to her wedding in Santorini (talk about dream wedding!)!

We decided to throw her a Paris themed bridal shower since it’s her favorite place in the world and it’s where she got engaged. I decided to make an array of desserts to fit the theme, which I will post over the next little while.

First, cake! I made two cakes, an orange earl grey cake and a chocolate cake (to satisfy those for whom only chocolate will do). The orange earl grey cake was supposed to be two separate cakes (and orange creamsicle cake and an earl grey cake), but plans changed and I did a mash up - the flavours worked well together.

Check out the verdict at the end of the post!

Orange Earl Grey Cake
Orange cake layers by Tessa Huff
I baked them in two, 6-inch cake pans and the remaining batter in a small loaf pan (for snacking on).
The cakes baked for around 40 minutes or until a toothpick came out clean (started checking around 30 minutes).
When cooled, slice off the domed tops and slice cakes in half so you end up with 4 layers. (If making ahead, wrap in plastic and freeze. Defrost with the plastic on when ready to assemble.)

Earl grey cake layers by Tessa Huff
I cut the recipe in half and baked in two, 6-inch cake pans for around 40 minutes (or until a toothpick came out clean - started checking around 30 minutes).

Tea syrup by Tessa Huff
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon loose leaf earl grey tea

In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Bring down the heat to a simmer and add the tea. Let simmer for 10 minutes then take off heat and cool. Strain the leaves.
*I steeped the tea in the syrup for a week in the fridge for extra flavour

Cream cheese filling adapted from recipe by Tessa Huff
½ cup butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened and whipped with a fork
Zest of ¼ of an orange
3 Tablespoons of tea syrup (recipe above)

In a bowl, beat butter and icing sugar until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until combined. Add orange zest and tea syrup. Feel free to add more syrup to get the consistency you want (should be spreadable).

Earl grey swiss meringue buttercream
Adapted from recipe by Tessa Huff
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cup unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons tea syrup (from above)
½ teaspoon of ground earl grey tea

  1. Wipe down bowl of stand mixer and whisk attachment with vinegar to get rid of any grease.
  2. Combine egg whites and sugar in bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Place a candy thermometer on the side and whisk more or less continuously until the mixture reaches 155 degrees F.
  3. Take off the heat and whisk using the stand mixer until thick, glossy and cool. I like to put a gel ice pack around the bottom to speed up the cooling process.
  4. Meanwhile, cut butter into cubes. When the meringue is cool, change to a beater attachment and beat on medium, adding cubes of butter one at a time. Beat on high until smooth (may take a while, sometimes up to 20 minutes).
  5. While on medium, gradually add tea syrup. Stop and add the ground tea and beat to combine.

  1. Place orange cake layer on a cake board. Brush with tea syrup. Spread a cream cheese filling on top. Place another orange cake layer and repeat.
  2. Repeat with the two earl grey cake layers. Finish with the remaining two orange cake layers.
  3. Crumb coat with the Earl Grey Swiss Meringue buttercream. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to set. Add another layer of buttercream and repeat until you get a smooth coat. Decorate and enjoy! (Keep the fridge and bring to room temperature ~2 hours before eating.)

The shower came together splendidly! The bride was really happy with all the little details and had a lot of fun. I’m so happy with how everything turned out and glad that I could send her on her way with a bang! I’m still coming down from the high of the event!
Oh and the cake? It was delic. I especially liked the fluffiness of the orange cake. The earl grey flavour was a complimentary flavour.


  1. OMG!! Such a delicious bridal shower cake. Honestly loved it. Planning to arrange my best friend’s bridal shower at one of famous San Francisco wedding venues. Will have a similar cake preparation for the day. Hope will be able to make this day special.