Recipe: Earl Grey & Lemon Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream

Great British Bake Off’s Benjamina Ebuehi whips up the perfect recipe for a Mother’s Day treat: Earl Grey and Lemon Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream 

Great British Bake Off's Benjamina EbuehiI bake a cake for my mum every Mother’s Day. Each year is an opportunity to try something different and surprise her with a new creation. During my time as a student my budget couldn’t stretch as far as spa days or fancy restaurants, but I knew I could rely on some freshly baked goods to put smile on her face. And each year, she always appreciates the effort and time that’s gone into it.

This year, I’m going for an ‘afternoon tea at home’ spread, with my Earl Grey and lemon cake topped with a white chocolate buttercream. A fabulous cake for tea lovers, the fragrant and delicate sponge has been infused with Darjeeling Earl Grey before being soaked in a citrussy lemon syrup. The creamy white chocolate buttercream brings it all together and adds just the right amount of sweetness to this floral springtime bake.

To really enjoy the flavour of this cake, make sure you use a good quality loose leaf tea and allow it to steep in the warm milk for at least 20 minutes. This cake can be made a day or two in advance, giving you more time enjoy the day with the special women in your life.

Mother's Day cake recipe: Benjamina Ebuehi's Earl Grey cake


  • Cook Time 35-45 minutes
  • Serves 8-10


240ml Whole Milk
5 Darjeeling Earl Grey Tea Bags
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste or Extract
220g Unsalted Butter
300g Caster Sugar
Zest 1 Unwaxed Lemon
3 Eggs
300g Plain Flour
2 ½ tsp Baking Powder

For the Lemon Syrup:
50g Caster Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
3 tbsp water

For the White Chocolate Buttercream:
200g White Chocolate, plus extra to decorate
180g Unsalted Butter, softened
250g Icing Sugar
1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C/160°C Fan. Grease and Line an 8 inch/20cm cake tin

2. Heat the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in the teabags. Cover the pan and allow to steep and cool for at least 20 minutes. Steep for longer if you’d prefer a stronger flavour.

3. Squeeze the teabags to get all the liquid out and remeasure the milk. Add enough extra milk to top it back up to 240ml.

4. Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside

5. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest using a stand mixer or a handheld electric whisk until light and fluffy.

6. Add in the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. If the mixture looks as though it’s curdling add in a tablespoon of flour and continue to beat.

7. Add in half of your flour and mix until combined before pouring in the milk. Stir in the rest of the flour.

8. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35-45 minutes until the cake is fully cooked and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

For the Lemon Syrup:

1. Heat together the sugar, lemon juice and water for 3-4 minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved.

2. Poke holes all over the surface of the cake before pouring over the warm syrup.

For the Buttercream:

1. Melt the white chocolate in a microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool.

2. Whisk the softened butter for 3 minutes using a stand mixer or electric whisk until it’s pale and creamy. Add in the icing sugar and beat for 5-6 minutes.

3. Pour in the melted chocolate and stir until combined.

4. Spread the buttercream on top of the cooled cake and decorate with white chocolate shavings.

By Benjamina Ebuehi

Just be careful you don’t end up with a soggy bottom…