Strawberry + Earl Grey Upside-Down Tea Cake

This recipe came together after we discovered that our neighborhood supermarket carries frozen local strawberries by the bag. They’re not expensive, but they’re also not very large or very sweet, making them less than ideal for pie-making, but just about right for this upside-down tea cake. Strawberry and earl grey go very well together, but we think you can go ahead and try other strong teas if you’ve got them.


For the topping:
3 1/2 cups strawberries
1/2 stick / 4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 bag of earl grey

For the cake:
2 sticks / 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 bag of earl grey tea
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the strawberry + earl grey syrup:
1 cup strawberries
1 bag of earl grey tea
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

Make your topping. Grease and flour two 9×2 inch cake pans. Place parchment paper on the bottom. Combine butter and sugar in a saucepan. Stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Pour into prepared cake pans. Arrange strawberries over the butter and sugar mixture in a single layer.

Make your cake. In one bowl, combine and whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Set aside.

Combine milk, lemon juice and contents of the earl grey tea bag. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with your electric mixer at medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar. Beat for about 3 minutes or until it has become creamy and light-colored.

Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you do. Beat on high speed for 30 seconds after each addition. Beat for 1 minute after all eggs have been added. Add the vanilla and orange extracts.

Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir by hand to finish. Be careful not to overbeat.

Assemble your and bake. Pour cake batter on top of strawberry topping. Divide evenly between the two pans. Smooth with spatula if necessary. Bake at 176°C/350°F for 40-45 minutes (rotate halfway through if necessary) or until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the cake pans for at least 10 minutes. Unmold and serve.

Make the syrup. Combine strawberries, sugar, salt, vanilla, tea bag contents and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the strawberries have softened and the liquid has thickened and colored. Remove from heat. The syrup may be served warm or chilled. You can use it on your upside-down cake and many other things.


Have some cake. It’s perfect for an afternoon tea snack.


2 thoughts on “Strawberry + Earl Grey Upside-Down Tea Cake

  1. Have you been to Delicakes? I think that was my first brush with tea-infused pastries and cakes. This one looks really nice 🙂 I cannot bake so I will just stare at your pictures.

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