London fog cake with earl grey buttercream — layers of rich, moist, chocolate cake covered with luxurious earl grey Swiss meringue buttercream then topped with decadent salted caramel sauce. The components work perfectly together for one amazing cake.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of 3 8-inch baking pans. For good measure, I also always line the bottom with parchment paper but you don't have to. Set aside.
Sift 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, 1 cup cocoa powder, 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¾ teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat ½ cup + 2 tablespoons oil and 2 cups sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer still running, add the 2 eggs, the egg yolk, 2 teaspoons vanilla and ½ teaspoon almond extract. Remember to scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl.
Switch to low speed and add a third of your flour mixture then half of your milk. Add the next third of your flour, the rest of your milk and the last of your flour. Make sure each addition is incorporated well. Again remember to scrape for rouge batter.
Still on low speed, gradually drizzle in the coffee (be careful, it will splatter). Mix on low-medium speed for no more than 30 seconds or until combined.
Evenly divide the batter into your 3 pans and bake for 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean or with minimal crumbs.
Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes then remove cakes from pans and cool on rack completely.
For the Earl Grey Buttercream:
In a medium saucepan, place 1 cup butter and ¼ cup Earl Grey tea and cook on medium heat until the butter melts. Switch to low heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the tea steep for another 5.
Strain the butter through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and refrigerate until the butter becomes solid again but only until the consistency of softened butter.
In the meantime, put ½ cup + 2 tablespoons egg whites and 1 ¼ cups sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using your stand mixer's whisk attachment, manually whisk the mixture until combined. Place the bowl over a saucepan filled with a few inches of simmering water (make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl) and whisk until the mixture reaches 160F (if you don't have a candy thermometer, you can check for doneness by rubbing the mixture between your fingers. If the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture is smooth, it's ready).
Attach the bowl onto your stand mixer and whisk on medium-high speed until you reach medium-stiff peaks (about 8-10 minutes). At this point, when you touch the bowl it should not be hot anymore (should feel more like room temperature).
Switch to the paddle attachment and on low speed add the 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste. Also proceed to add your tea butter and the rest of your butter a couple of tablespoons at a time until the mixture is well combined and incorporated.
Switch to medium-high speed again and beat the buttercream until smooth, glossy and creamy (about 3-5 minutes).
Trim the tops of your cakes to make them level and of equal height. Place the first piece on a cake turntable and spread frosting evenly. Repeat with the next layers until the cake is covered with buttercream.
Decorate as desired and top with salted caramel sauce.