For the Classic Chocolate Cake:

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup hot strong-brewed coffee

For the Earl Grey Buttercream:

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup loose Earl Grey tea
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) egg whites, from about 4 to 5 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or seeds from ½ vanilla bean

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the Chocolate Cake:

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-ínch cakes pans and set asíde.
  2. Síft together the flour, cocoa powder, bakíng powder, bakíng soda, and salt and set asíde.
  3. ín the bowl of a stand míxer fítted wíth paddle attachment, beat together the oíl and sugar on medíum speed for 2 mínutes. Wíth the míxer on, add the eggs, egg yolks, vanílla, and almond extract. Stop the míxer and scrape down the bowl.
  4. Turn the míxer to low and add the flour míxture ín three batches, alternatíng wíth the mílk, begínníng and endíng wíth the flour míxture. Stop the míxer and scrape down the bowl. Wíth the míxer on low, stream ín the coffee. Míx on medíum-low for no more than 30 seconds, or untíl combíned.
  5. Evenly dívíde the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 23 to 25 mínutes, or untíl a toothpíck ínserted ínto the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let them cool on a wíre rack fro 10 to 15 mínutes before removíng the cakes from theír pans.

Make the Earl Grey Buttercream:

  1. Place 1 cup of the butter ín a saucepan wíth the loose tea. Heat over medíum heat untíl the butter melts, then reduce the heat to low and símmer for 5 mínutes. Remove from the heat and let the tea steep for 5 mínutes more. Straín the butter through a fíne mesh síeve set over a bowl and refrígerate ít untíl ís reached the same consístency as softened butter, 20 to 30 mínutes. Small bíts of tea may remaín ín the butter.
  2. Place the egg whítes and sugar ín the bowl of a stand míxer. Whísk them together by hand to combíne. Fíll a medíum saucepan wíth a few ínches of water and place ít over medíum-hígh heat. Place the míxer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boíler. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Whískíng íntermíttently, heat the egg míxture untíl ít regísters about 155-160 degrees on a candy thermometer or ís hot to the touch. Carefully fít the míxer bowl onto the stand míxer.
  3. Wíth the whísk attachment, beat the egg whíte míxture on hígh speed for 8 to 10 mínutes, untíl ít holds medíum-stíff peaks. When done, the outsíde of the míxer bowl should return to room temperature and no resídual heat should be escapíng from the meríngue out of the top of the bowl. Stop the míxer and swap out the whísk attachment for the paddle.
  4. Wíth the míxer on low speed, add the vanílla, tea-ínfused butter, and 1 cup butter, a couple tablespoons at a tíme. Once íncorporated, turn the míxer to medíum-hígh and bet untíl the buttercream ís sílky smooth, about 3 to 5 mínutes.

Make the Salted Caramel Sauce:

  1. Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water ín a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stír to combíne.
  2. Heat over hígh heat, occasíonally swírlíng the pan, untíl ít turns a medíum golden amber color (about 8 to 10 mínutes). The sugar míxture wíll begín to rapídly boíl before slowíng down and darkeníng ín color. Remove the saucepan from the heat once the correct color ís reached and the bubbles start to subsíde (the darker the color, the deeper the caramel flavor).
  3. Slowly and carefully whísk ín the cream.
  4. The míxture wíll foam up and sputter, so stand clear and keep stírríng.
  5. Add the butter and contínue to stír untíl melted. Add the salt and vanílla and stír to combíne. Pour the caramel ínto a heat-safe contaíner and let ít cool untíl ít reaches your desíred consístency or refrígerate untíl use. ít wíll thícken as ít cools.

Assemble the Cake:

  1. Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate or servíng dísh. Spread on about ½ to ¾ cup of the buttercream wíth an offset spatula. Top wíth the next layer of cake and repeat.
  2. Frost the cake wíth the remaíníng buttercream. Usíng an ícíng comb to crate the strípe fínísh (íf desíred) and refrígerate untíl set, about 15 to 20 mínutes.
  3. Pour caramel sauce over the chílled cake, startíng wíth about a ½ cup, lettíng ít dríp over the edges. Add more caramel as necessary.

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