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Earl Grey and Lemon Thyme Butter Cake Recipe - the PERFECT afternoon tea cake

Written by Alexandra Liddy


Posted on June 21 2019

These decorative cakes might look traditional, but our version - which pairs Earl Grey and lemon thyme – is anything but.

earl grey bundt cake recipe

Thyme for tea?

This fresh and light cake would be perfect for your next brunch or afternoon tea, and the beautifully intricate shape of our fluted cake pan will ensure your creation is an absolute showstopper.

lemon thyme butter bundt cake recipe

Earl grey and lemon thyme butter cake recipe

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Serves 8-10

4 Earl Grey teabags
175g / 1½ sticks butter, softened
1 ¼ cups superfine sugar
3 eggs
3 cups self rising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 175C / 350f. Place teabags in a bowl filled with ½ cup boiling water. Leave to steep until cold. Remove teabags. Generously grease a cake pan (for this recipe we used the Ciroa Swirl Pan). Set aside.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on low speed for 2-3 minutes then increase speed and beat for 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold through flour, milk and cold tea, alternating until just combined. Fold through lemon thyme.
  4. Spoon mixture into grease cake pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Serve lightly dusted with icing sugar and edible flowers (if desired).


  • Once you have poured the cake batter into the pan, tap on your bench top a couple of times to remove any air bubbles and ensure the mixture has reached into all the crevices. This is especially important when the pan has an intricate design.
  • Before putting the pan in the oven, use a spatula and ‘sweep’ the mixture from the centre ring to the edges (so it is slightly higher around the outer edge), this will prevent it from doming too much in the middle and help it to rise evenly.
  • Once the cake is cooked, before inverting onto a wire rack, slice along the base with a large serrated knife to ensure the base is flat when turned out.
  • If you have any issues with the cake sticking to the pan, you can lightly coat the inside of the pan with oil (using a pastry brush) then dust the pan lightly with sugar (you can tip the sugar inside the pan then gently shake the pan around to distribute the sugar evenly). This will help prevent the cake from sticking to the pan and will also give the cake a slightly sweeter flavor.
  • Cakes baked in this style of tin are best baked in the centre of your oven, so make you’re your oven racks are placed appropriately before preheating your oven.

ciroa bundt pan

Decorating ideas

With this style of cake, the form of the cake itself is the focus.  However, there are a number of easy ways to provide some added visual interest co your cake without taking away from the beautiful shape.

A pretty yet simple option is to lightly dust the cake with powdered sugar.  You can do this by sifting the sugar directly over the cake, either with a sifter or a wire mesh strainer.  Make sure the cake is fully cooled before dusting the cake so the sugar doesn’t melt.

After dusting the cake, you could decorate with a sprinkle of non-toxic flowers – we have used pansies but there are many other types that work well such as violas, nasturtiums, chamomile, rose petals and strawberry blossoms. 

Another option for this cake would be to add a lemon glaze by combining confectioners sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl to make a thick but pourable glaze.

Once the cake has cooled you simply spoon the glaze on top of the cake, one spoonful at a time, letting it drizzle down the sides of the cake.

bundt cake recipe

For a more decadent take on this traditional cake, see our recipe for chocolate buttermilk cake with rich caramel sauce.

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ciroa bundt cake pans




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