4 Years / Black Tea Cake with Lavender Frosting

Today is A Little Baker's 4th Birthday!

I was a freshman in college when I ventured into the food blogging world in January of 2013; completely mesmerized by a new school, new friends, and a new east coast life. This blog was going to be all about documenting my culinary classes, which I surely did; however, I was utterly unsatisfied with posting iPhone photos and Johnson & Wales textbook recipes. It was repetitive for me and the recipes were too complex to gain any sort of readership. So instead of telling everyone how to make entremets with tools that are impossible for the home cook (and also wtf is an entremet, anyway!?) I decided that I would dedicate the minutes outside of my 50 hour work week to testing recipes and writing about how cold and tired I was during the wintertime in New England.

I launched my blog on January 4th, 2013. In the first post I ever wrote, I declared my goal of publishing a cookbook by the end of 2016...oh dear.

We have just entered 2017 and I am standing here without a book, without a manuscript, and without a proposal. What can I say? My 'stars in my eyes' 18 year old dreams can't always come true according to schedule. I'd love to think that the age 22 me has a better grasp on how to set a realistic goal, but oh, I fear the despair I would feel if the deadline arises and I, once again, don't have a book with my name on it. Please excuse me while I have one of those — I have no idea what I'm doing with my life — moments.

Ok. So maybe that was an overreaction. I suppose we can't all publish books at 22 years old *tear.*

Jess! Shake it off! It's ok! Look at how far you've come since the atrocious photos featured in this mother's day post made back in May of 2013....I cannot even. Here are some things I have accomplished in the wake of this blog:

- created an archive of 125+ recipe posts
- learned how to properly use an SLR camera
- taught myself basic html enough to develop a decent-looking template
- graduated college!
- became a freelance writer
- made A Little Baker business cards
- met a couple of my favorite bloggers
- became well-versed in vegan baking
- gained a following that consists of more than just my mom

(ps: thanks mom, for remaining my biggest fan)

I mentioned a few days back in my new years eve post that I wasn't too keen on setting new years resolutions, as I believe that each day comes with a restart button. That remains true. I should reiterate, however, that goals are perfectly exceptional and pretty dang important.

Today, on my four year blogiversary, I'd like to share with you a few of my hard-thought goals for the future of A Little Baker:

- publish one post each week
- feature playlists inspired by a recipe or an experience
- collaborate and make more photos/videos with my talented artist friends
- decorate more cakes!
- develop unique recipes using higher quality ingredients
- capture photos with cameras BESIDES my iphone
- invest in more props/camera equipment
- here goes nothin'....publish or be in the process of writing a cookbook/food memoir.....by 2019.


I've been introducing playlists into my recent blog posts and am looking forward to doing so more often! Hope you enjoy these jams, they pair excellently with a dance around the kitchen mid-baking.

This cake was decorated using citrus and florals sourced from the La Cañada Flintridge Saturday morning farmers market. For info on how to make your own candied orange and/or lemon slices for your cake, please check out Simply Sated's guide to candied orange slices!

I'm extremely grateful that my job gives me access to extraordinary teas. For this recipe, I used Kilogram Tea's Yunnan Purple. I highly recommend using high quality black tea loose leaves for this recipe over something like Lipton. You will surely recognize and appreciate the difference. Cheers!

Black Tea Cake with Lavender Frosting
Adapted from: addmorebutter

for the cake —
- 1/4 cup black tea leaves 
- 1 3/4 cups milk 
- 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon baking powder 
- 1/2 teaspoon salt 
- 1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) softened butter, unsalted 
- 1 1/4 cup sugar 
- 4 eggs 
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

for the lavender buttercream —
- 1 cup butter 
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender 
- pinch of salt 
- 4- 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
- 3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. Grind the tea into a powder using a food processor or blender.
  3. Combine the ground tea leaves and milk in a saucepan and heat until the milk comes to a scald. Set aside and allow the milk to steep until completely cooled back to room temp. (about 15 minutes). 
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.  
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. 
  6. Add eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture. Then mix in the vanilla. 
  7. Add the flour alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth. 
  8. Evenly distribute batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick into the center comes out clean. Remove cakes from pans and place on a cooling rack until completely cool 
  9. Make the frosting. Beat the butter, lavender, and salt with an electric mixer until creamy. Then, add the sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix in vanilla and whipping cream and beat until a spreadable frosting forms.
  10. Trim the tops of the cooled cakes and fill with frosting and additional lavender. Then, cover in remaining frosting. 

The majority of these photos were taken by the lovely: Sophia Schrank

1 comment

  1. applause on the accomplishments and on this fantastic post! looking forward to weekly posts, yummy recipes, and more grooves.


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Maira Gall