Chamomile Poppyseed Cake with Grapefruit Curd
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This vanilla poppyseed cake combines sweet chamomile tea infused buttercream with tart homemade grapefruit curd. It’s a taste of Spring in one delicious bite.
So, I’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off. Like, a lot of The Great British Bake Off. All I can hear is Paul and Mary in my head saying things like, “See there, that’s got a nice crumb structure” and “All we’re asking for… is perfection.”
It was only so long before I was going to succumb to this baking madness and come up with some crazy flavor combination myself. It had to be a little bit over the top. It had to be seasonal — helllllo Spring! And it had to look like an angel from above put it’s British Bake off seal of approval on it.
And thus, the Chamomile Poppyseed Cake with Grapefruit Curd was born!
Now, I’m not sure if any angels were involved in the making of this cake, but I can tell you it tastes pretty heavenly. Crumbly vanilla poppyseed cake. Creamy chamomile-infused buttercream. Cold, tart grapefruit curd. Just imagine that combination layer after layer after layer after layer (there are 4 layers so that’s a fairly accurate description TBH).
I don’t love excessively sweet cakes and this one does a great job of balancing the sweetness of the buttercream with the tartness of the grapefruit curd. And I don’t know why but poppyseeds always add a bit of a savory flavor to me which I love.
Anyway, let’s get down to the details.
I’ve been on a bit of a chamomile kick so that was a must. I’ve found the best way to get tea flavors into a cake is in the frosting. If you infuse butter with tea and then use that butter for your frosting, the flavor stays fairly prominently. I’ve tried this before with my Chocolate Cake with Tea-Infused Berry Frosting. I chose to use Mighty Leaf’s Chamomile Citrus Tea in this recipe because I’ve been a little obsessed with it recently, but you can use any chamomile tea you like or pure chamomile flowers.
I use a fairly basic buttercream frosting for this recipe and the sweetness of the frosting contrasts nicely with the sharp grapefruit curd. If you’ve ever made lemon curd, this is exactly the same except using grapefruit juice instead of lemon juice.
I am using 6-inch cake pans for this cake because... well, because small cakes are cute. That’s pretty much my only reason. I baked this cake in two 6-inch cake pans and then sliced those to make 4 layers. If you don’t have 6-inch cake pans, you could use two 8-inch pans and bake for a shorter amount of time.
A note on timing:
This cake is more manageable if you make some of the parts in advance. You can make the grapefruit curd up to a week in advance. You can infuse the butter for the buttercream with chamomile tea up to 3 days in advance. You can even make the cakes a day or two before you plan to put the cake together, just wrap it well in plastic wrap.
I highly recommend using a digital scale to weigh your ingredients — it’s shocking how imprecise cups and tablespoons can be. Also fewer dishes to wash. This is the most recent version of the scale I use — I've had it for years and love it.
Never frosted a cake? Or never done it well? Here’s a great post on how to ice a cake. Also note the “frosting dam” method in there.
Curious which flour is best?
- This is how to make your cakes come out of the oven with flat tops.
Vanilla Poppyseed Cake
Makes two 6-inch cakes (cut later into four layers). Recipe modified from The Cake Blog.
Chamomile-Infused Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough to cover the top and outside of the cake plus the “frosting dam”. You can steep the butter in tea up to 3 days in advance.
I used this recipe from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt, adjusted slightly to use 1/3 cup cornstarch to make the curd a bit thicker for cake.
- My Life in France by Julia Child (I actually just finished it and it was hilarious and lovely and completely Julia)