There’s something nostalgic about earl grey lemon loaf. It’s the warmth and comfort that comes with sitting down following a brisk afternoon walk with a cuppa, and a slice of cake. There’s a reason I named my blog a cup of tea and cake. I love the fact that food brings us closer. It’s a means to forging friendships, nurturing relationships, evoking laughter and creating lasting memories – some that we can taste for years to come.

A peppermint pretzel at Christmas reminds us of the woodland walks and cosy fires. A thick slice of pizza with marinara sauce takes us to a night in with the girls. But tea and cake; they’re the epitome of comfort. Two things that work so well together and invite us to sit down with a friend to share our secrets – happiness and heartbreak. a cup of tea and cake was born out of the idea of sitting down with an old friend over tea and cake for a chat that leaves you feeling full and gemütlich, as my Omi used to say. This earl grey lemon loaf is simple enough to make.

Earl grey lemon loaf

What makes this loaf extra special?

The milk is heavily infused with TeaPigs Darjeeling Earl Grey tea – a zesty burst of citrus bergamot and lime flavours. It’s a tea with a touch of elegance and perfect for when you’re in need of a little refinement in life. I naturally paired the exotic, floral tones with lemon zest in the cake and a syrup that makes the cake beautifully moist.

By using quality, real tea with amazing whole tea leaves and beautiful blue cornflowers, you create a beautifully full flavour that complements the citrus flavours entirely. If you’re looking for a chance to sit down and savour a moment, this cake is perfect. Small moments like this in life can make a huge difference. I’m a true believer that tea and cake encourages more people to engage with one another. No airs or graces. Just honest heart-to-hearts.

Earl grey lemon loaf

Ingredients and alternatives:

  • Flour: I don’t like to try and recreate self-raising flour by combining plain and baking powder. Rather, I suggest using the correct amount of each of the flours. If you do want to substitute plain for self-raising, simply add 1.5tsp baking powder to the mix.
  • Eggs: I use large eggs in this recipe, but you can also choose medium instead.
  • Milk: for a creamier, fuller flavour, use whole milk. Alternatively, skimmed or semi-skimmed or plant-based milks will also work.
  • Sugar: while you can use granulated sugar instead, it has larger crystals than caster sugar. If you’re really stuck, it’s fine to use but I prefer caster sugar for an even bake and better absorption when creaming with the butter.
  • Tea: my preference is TeaPigs Darjeeling or Strong Earl Grey. They both have beautiful exotic and floral notes that complement this cake but you can also use regular English Breakfast or other black leaf teas in this recipe.
Earl grey lemon loaf
Earl Grey Lemon Loaf

Earl Grey Lemon Loaf

A zesty loaf made with milk fragranced with darjeeling earl grey tea, and finished with a lemony syrup that makes the cake beautifully moist.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Course Dessert
Servings 8 people


For the cake

  • 125 ml whole milk
  • 4 Earl Grey tea bags  I like Whittard's Darjeeling or Earl Grey
  • 115 g unsalted butter softened
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 125 g self-raising flour
  • 125 g plain flour
  • Zest 1 lemon You'll also need the juice

For the syrup

  • 3 lemons juiced
  • 6 tbsp icing sugar sifted

For the icing

  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 200 g icing sugar sifted


  • To begin, place the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Take it off the heat and immerse the Earl Grey tea bags in the hot milk. Cover the pan and set aside for 40 minutes.
  • Squeeze the teabags out of the liquid and set aside to cool some more.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line a 1L loaf tin with baking parchment.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric whisk for about 5-7 minutes. Scrape down the bowls from time to time to make sure everything is nicely incorporated.
  • When it’s light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then add the lemon zest and vanilla extract, mixing again to combine.
  • Add half of the flour and half of the tea-infused milk, mixing until combined. Add the rest of the flour and milk and mix until there are no traces of flour in the bowl.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for 1hr 15mins – 1hr 30mins until golden brown and a cake skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, with only a few crumbs clinging to it.
  • Make up the syrup in a small bowl by sifting the icing sugar and adding the juice of 3 lemons. Mix until smooth and runny.
  • Once the cake has finished baking, remove it from the oven, place on a wire rack and prick all over with a skewer.
  • Pour your syrup over the entire cake so it soaks it up while warm.
  • To make the icing, mix the lemon juice and icing sugar together into a smooth paste. It should be quite gloopy so it doesn’t dribble too much down the sides {though a little dribble is okay}.
    N.B. You might not need all the lemon juice so add half and then add a bit more sparingly until you get the consistency you want.
  • Pour over the loaves and leave the icing to set for about 30 minutes.


I like to use TeaPigs Darjeeling Earl Grey for this loaf, or their Strong Earl Grey for a fuller flavour. 
Keyword cake, darjeeling, earl grey, lemon, loaf, milk, tea

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