for 12 portions
non-stick cooking spray, for lubrication
2 cups of whole milk (480 ml)
3 tablespoons Earl Grey tea, divided
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup honey (335 g)
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour (375 g)
2 teaspoons of baking yeast
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ Vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped off
6 oz. blackberries (170 g)
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar (360 g)
18 oz. blackberries (540 g), halved lengthwise, plus 6 whole and halved ounces (170 g), divided
10 edible flowers, such as purple and white pansies
Earl Grey tea, for the garnish.
parchment paper round, 22 cm (9 in)
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Grease 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Prepare the cake: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and 2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea. Simmer, then remove from heat, cover and let steep for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Strain the brewed milk through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl and discard the tea leaves. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric hand mixer until pale and frothy, 2-3 minutes. Add the honey and beat to blend. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate before adding the next one. The mixture will look curdled at this point, but will expand. Sift in half the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and beat until well blended. Add the infused milk and beat to incorporate. Sift in the remaining flour and beat until well blended. Add the vanilla seeds and the remaining tablespoon of Earl Grey tea and beat to blend. The dough will be relatively thick.
Divide the dough evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula.
Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes, until they are safe to handle. Turn cakes out of their moulds and let them cool completely on the rack for 25-30 minutes.
Prepare the icing: In a small food processor, blend the blackberries into a smooth purée, about 30 seconds. Pass the blackberry puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula to push the mixture through. Discard the seeds and set the purée aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Sift powdered sugar, 1 cup (120 g) at a time, and beat to blend. Stir in blackberry puree.
Assemble cake: Place cardboard circle on cake turntable. Spread a little icing in the center and center 1 of the cakes on the circle. Using an offset spatula, spread about 1 cup (115 g) of icing evenly over the top of the cake. Spread evenly in a layer about ½-inch (1 ¼ cm) thick. Arrange half of the halved blackberries, cut sides down, on top of icing, pressing gently into icing. Place another layer of cake on top and repeat icing with another cup of icing and fill with remaining blackberry halves.
Cover with the remaining cake layer. Pour 11½ cups (115 g) of icing on top. Using the offset spatula, spread the icing in an even layer on top, starting in the centre and working toward the outer edge. Cover the sides of the cake with icing, from top to bottom and along the sides. Remove and set aside excess icing. Holding a workbench scraper against the side of the cake, slowly rotate the turntable to help spread the icing in a thin “bare” layer. Remove excess frosting from the scraper if necessary. Use the offset spatula to add icing to the sides to cover particularly bare spots and to smooth the top and edges of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes, until the icing is set.