Do you ever just have a lazy weekend? I’m talking barely venture outside, mostly stay in your pj’s, sleep in kind of a weekend. I didn’t set out to do that, but now it’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve resigned myself to just relaxing and enjoying it. (To be fair, I did get several hours of grading and reading done yesterday.)
When I’m sitting on the couch reading, or as a reward after a particularly dense article, I like to get a London Fog Latte– also known as an Earl Grey Latte (usually with a little vanilla). It’s creamy, warm, and comforting. Perfect for the rainy drizzly days its name invokes. It didn’t quite rain this weekend, but it is definitely grey and dreary.
Instead of making a simple tea latte though, I crafted this Lemon London Fog Cake. I thought lemon would help brighten it up just a little, and I hadn’t tried my hand at lemon cake yet.
The initial inspiration for the recipe came from Hummingbird High’s 2-Layer Lemon Cake with Earl Grey Tea Frosting. Follow that link for really excellent instructions for the cake, the lemon glaze, and the Earl Grey Tea frosting. I had originally planned to add a couple of teaspoons of loose leaf tea into the cake batter, but I forgot. And, you know what?, I’m really happy with how it turned out just lemon. If you’re looking for a really prominent tea flavor though, I’d suggest adding the extra tea.
To build the cake I added lemon glaze to the first layer, then piped a double border of this vanilla bean buttercream (I cut the ingredients in half to make a smaller batch, but left the vanilla measurements for a whole recipe.) I added lemon curd within this border and then crumbled (most of) a half batch of this London Fog Shortbread on top. The second layer of cake also got some lemon glaze and then I frosted the whole thing with this amazing Earl Grey Meringue frosting that went along with the cake recipe. (Despite being a little worried about overbeating the egg whites and pouring boiling sugar syrup into my precious mixer, it went smoothly and the results are an amazing not-to-sweet tea-heavy frosting that spread like an absolute dream. I mean seriously, I may now find more excuses to make meringues!)
I added some little dollops of vanilla bean buttercream on top and around the bottom as a border. I set some mini shortbread cookies around the center and added a sprinkling of lemon zest. I do think this is probably the prettiest cake I’ve ever made! (I know I still have a lot of decorating to learn, but I was proud of this one.)
The cake is light with a medium-weight crumb and has a distinct lemon flavor (not too tart and not too sweet). The lemon glaze keeps it nice and moist and adds another punch of tartness. The vanilla bean buttercream is thick and rich, and tastes like a deep vanilla ice cream. The lemon curd is sweet and tart and adds even more lemon flavor and moisture. The London Fog shortbread adds a little bit of texture without being too crumbly, and the Earl Grey frosting is creamy, dreamy, silky perfection– it tastes just like a London Fog latte. All together, every bite is full of wonderful citrus, vanilla, and tea flavors that blend into by far one of my favorite cakes I’ve made this year.
I bet it’d be perfect paired with a real London Fog Latte!
(Maybe I’ll give the latte/cake pair a shot this week after one of my project meetings. I’m pretty nervous about it. We’ll see how it goes… I’ve been working ahead to clear most of the rest of that day in case I need some time to question my life choices or anything.)