Baking this Yellow Sponge Cake with Earl Grey Pastry Cream was a bit of a stretch for me as a new recipe. New chocolate cake recipes I’ll try in a heartbeat unless there are weird ingredients required. When I think of sponge cakes I think of Twinkies. Nothing wrong with them, they’re just not my cup of tea. Speaking of cup of tea; I love to start my day with a hot cup of Earl Grey. But Earl Grey in a pastry cream? I guess if I can love milk chocolate lavender mousse Earl Grey pastry cream shouldn’t be a big deal.
Well, let me tell you it was a big deal and a delicious one at that. This is the second recipe I’ve made from the online Craftsy Class, Creative Flavors for Cakes, Fillings, and Frostings. For each base cake; chocolate, yellow and white there are lots of variations for frostings and fillings. Most of which are quite unique.
The cake recipe was easy to follow but one thing was very odd. In most cake recipes, it’s recommended that your butter is softened, not this one. The 1½ sticks unsalted butter had to be cold and cut into cubes. My thinking was that cold butter would take forever to get light and fluffy. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t. Maybe because it was cut into cubes. Whatever the reason it worked.
After baking, the cakes received an ample brushing of simple syrup. I’ve seen some bakers apply simple syrup from a squeeze bottle. That makes me a bit nervous because I wouldn’t want my cakes to be soggy. Maybe one day I’ll try that method just to satisfy my curiosity.
Anyway, about the Earl Grey Pastry Cream. The recipe calls for 3 TBS of loose tea. I figured I’d just cut open the bags and measure them out. 3 TBS of tea equals 9 bags. Next time I’ll buy the loose tea. This was only the second time I’ve made pastry cream and it’s not the daunting task that I first thought it would be. I did have to strain the mixture several times to get rid of most of the tea. The vanilla bean along with the slight orange flavor from the tea was a pleasant surprise.
To finish the cake, I made a vanilla buttercream and replaced the ¼ cup of milk that I typically use with orange liqueur and garnished it with orange slices. Yumola!
The last cake for me to bake from this series is the Perfect White Cake. I’m torn between pairing it with Tiramisu Cream Cheese Frosting or Citrus Vanilla Bean Meringue. Which one of these frostings would you most likely try?
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 7 large eggs, separated
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup plus 2 TBS sour cream
- VANILLA BEAN EARL GREY PASTRY CREAM
- 3 cups whole milk
- Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 3 TBS Earl Grey tea leaves
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 8 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup + 2 TBS cornstarch
- ¾ stick unsalted butter, cubed
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and lightly grease three 8" round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper rounds.
- Also, lightly grease the tops of the paper in the pans.
- Sift together flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and 1½ cups sugar together until smooth and no lumps of butter remain.
- Add the vanilla and 7 egg yolks and mix until just combined, scraping down sides of the bowl if necessary.
- Slowly add sifted dry ingredients and sour cream, alternating between the two until fully combined.
- Mix until batter is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer batter to a large mixing bowl.
- In a clean bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whip attachment, beat the remaining 7 egg whites, cream of tartar, and remaining ¼ cup of sugar on high speed until tripled in volume and soft, but not dry, peaks form.
- Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter, in two additions.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pans and bake until light golden brown and knife inserted into cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
- Let the cakes cool on rack for about 20 minutes, then carefully turn the cakes out of the pans on onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.
- For the Earl Grey Pastry Cream
- In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, vanilla bean, Earl Grey tea and ½ cup of sugar to a boil. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, cornstarch and ¼ cup sugar until smooth and set aside.
- Slowly pour the hot milk over the eggs, while whisking constantly, until fully combined. Return the entire mixture to the pot and cook over low heat until thickens and bubbles rise to the surface, while stirring constantly.
- This happens quickly so don’t take your eyes off it.
- Remove from heat and strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a shallow dish, add the butter and whisk smooth.
- Cover the surface directly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled and set.
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