Earl Grey Chocolate Cake

(courtesy of Davidson’s Organics. Makes two nine-inch round cakes)

1 tablespoon solid shortening

1 tablespoon flour

½ cup boiling water

1 tablespoon Davidson’s Earl Grey tea

1 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use solid shortening to grease two nine-inch round cake pans, and then dust both pans with flour. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Brew tea for four minutes; strain into large measuring cup and cool. Add buttermilk and vanilla.

Sift dry ingredients onto wax paper. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with flat paddle, cream butter until light, about one minute. Scrape beater and sides of bowl; beat another two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat for one more minute. Fold in one-fourth of flour mixture and one-third of tea/buttermilk/vanilla mixture. Blend and stir. Once all ingredients are added, beat on low speed just to mix until smooth.

Pour batter into pans and spread with spatula. Tap pans on kitchen counter to break up any large air bubbles. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven. Cool on wire rack for five minutes. Run small kitchen knife around edges of cake to loosen. Unmold on cooling rack and peel off parchment paper. Use cake rack to turn cake right side up. Cool before frosting.

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