For the Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 3 cups white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup strong, black coffee, cooled
For the Frosting
- 2 cups unsalted butter , room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 bag earl grey tea
- 3–4 drops lavender extract (a little less than 1/8 teaspoon)*
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease 3 8″ straight edge cake pans. Line with parchment paper and grease. Set out butter and cream cheese to soften for frosting.
- Infuse the cream: In a small sauce pot, scald the cream (do not boil!). Remove from heat and add lavender extract. Open the earl grey bag and empty contents into the cream. Let sit for 10 minutes to infuse the cream. Strain the cream into a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside. (some earl grey contents is fine).
- In a large bowl, cream sugars and beaten eggs until light and fluffy. Whisk in oil, vanilla extract, yogurt, buttermilk and coffee until completely combined.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder, mixing until fully incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until smooth.
- Pour batter into greased layer pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake. Set on a wire rack to cool, at least one hour, or frosting will melt.
- Make the frosting*: In a standing mixer, whisk butter and cream cheese until light and creamy. Add powdered sugar, infused cream,vanilla paste, and vanilla extract. Whisk until completely smooth.
- Assemble the cake: When the cake layers are cooled, place one of the cake layers with the flat side down on a plate or cake stand. With an offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top of this frosted layer and spread frosting. Add on the final layer, flat side up to make the cake even, and top with remaining frosting, evenly spreading on the top and sides of the cake. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to an hour, until frosting is set.*
- Garnish as desired (I topped it with dark chocolate shards, silver decorating sugar, in season berries and a dusting of powdered sugar, plus a few strawberry blooms and culinary lavender buds).
*You can make the cake layers a day ahead of time: After baking the cake layers and letting them cool, remove from their pans, wrap up in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to frost (no more than 24 hours ahead).
*If you can’t find lavender extract, culinary lavender buds will also work. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of them to the cream along with the earl grey tea bag contents.
*This amount of frosting ingredients will give you enough to frost the tops of each 3 layers and do a crumb layer for the rustic “naked cake” look. If you want to fully frost the cake, double the ingredients for the frosting to ensure you have enough.
*In between the layers of cake, I sprinkled milk chocolate chips on top of the frosting for an extra bite of deliciousness.