Apple and Earl Grey Tea Cake


Apples are infused with the intoxicating scent of earl grey, vanilla and orange in this delightful recipe that is perfect for chilly winter evenings. Earl grey is the hero of this cake, so using the best quality earl grey tea leaves you can find will produce the most fragrant and flavourful cake. If you can’t source high quality tea or a large reusable teabag or muslin bag to place them in, you can substitute with 10-12 regular teabags for the cake recipe, and 2 teabags for the icing. And although optional, I implore you to add the lime juice in the icing, as it balances the sweetness perfectly and enhances the lovely bergamot flavour.

Makes one 20cm (8”) bundt cake and serves 8-10 people


Apple & Earl Grey Teacake

  • 400-450g (2 large or 3 small) granny smith apples

  • 200g unsalted butter

  • 10g good quality earl grey tea leaves

  • 100g brown sugar

  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla paste)

  • Zest of 1 orange

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 150g caster sugar

  • 240g plain flour, sifted

  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

  • Dried cornflowers and rose petals (optional)

 Earl Grey Icing

  • 240g icing sugar, sifted

  • 125 ml (½ cup) boiling water

  • 2g (2 tbsp) earl grey tea leaves

  • Squeeze of lime juice (optional)

  • Pinch of fine sea salt


Apple & Earl Grey Teacake

  1. Preheat oven to 165°C (145°C fan-forced) and grease 20cm (8”) bundt or round cake tin.

  2. Wash, peel, core and dice apples into 2cm cube pieces.

  3. Place earl grey tea leaves in large reusable teabag or muslin bag.

  4. Melt butter and brown sugar gently on low heat in wide-bottomed deep saucepan, then place teabag at base of saucepan. Add diced apple and coat with butter, then zest orange over apples and swirl vanilla seeds or paste through.

  5. Allow to cook on low heat, stirring intermittently, until apples are soft but not completely cooked through

  6. Remove from heat and allow apples to steep in tea-infused butter for approximately 1 hour. Squeeze teabag to extract maximum flavour and discard tea leaves.

  7. Beat eggs and caster sugar in a free-standing mixer until thick and pale (approximately 3-4 minutes).

  8. Fold in infused buttery apple mixture until well combined, then sifted flour, baking powder and salt.

  9. Pour cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 mins, or until lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean.

  10. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the cake tin, then turn out onto wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Earl Grey Icing

  1. Cover tea leaves with boiling water and allow to steep for at least 20 minutes.

  2. Add tea to icing sugar in medium bowl, one teaspoon at a time, until mixture starts to come together as a thick, sticky icing.

  3. Squeeze lime juice into icing, if using, until icing is of a thick pouring consistency. If not using lime juice, add further tea to the same consistency, then pinch of salt.

  4. If icing is too thick, add a little more lime juice or tea. If icing is too thin, add a little more icing sugar.

  5. Use icing immediately, as it sets quite quickly.

To Serve

  1. Place completely cooled cake on serving plate and drizzle with earl grey icing , then sprinkle with dried cornflowers and rose petals.