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Darjeeling-Chocolate Layer Cake

Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell
Yield 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
While Darjeeling is a strong black tea, in this cake its flavor is muted so that it enhances the deep chocolate flavor. Sift the cake flour after measuring, not before, to achieve moist, tender results.


  • Cake:
  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 6 tablespoons loose Darjeeling tea
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • Icing:
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 5 tablespoons loose Darjeeling tea
  • 2/3 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • Remaining ingredient:
  • 2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted

Nutrition Information

  • calories 305
  • caloriesfromfat 21 %
  • fat 7.1 g
  • satfat 3.9 g
  • monofat 2.3 g
  • polyfat 0.4 g
  • protein 4.7 g
  • carbohydrate 60.3 g
  • fiber 2.5 g
  • cholesterol 29 mg
  • iron 1.9 mg
  • sodium 212 mg
  • calcium 33 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.

  2. To prepare cake, coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; set aside.

  3. Pour 2/3 cup boiling water over 6 tablespoons tea leaves in a bowl; steep 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl; cool to room temperature.

  4. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  5. Combine 2/3 cup cocoa and 2/3 cup boiling water, stirring with a whisk. Cool in freezer 10 minutes, and stir in brewed tea, yogurt, and vanilla.

  6. Place granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg whites and egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and brewed tea mixture alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared cake pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Carefully remove and discard wax paper. Cool completely on wire rack.

  7. To prepare icing, pour 1/2 cup boiling water over 5 tablespoons tea leaves in a bowl; steep 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl; cool to room temperature. Place cream cheese in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy (about 1 minute). Sift together powdered sugar and 1/2 cup cocoa. Gradually add cocoa mixture and 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons brewed tea to cream cheese. Beat just until smooth. (Do not overbeat or icing will be too thin.) Discard any remaining tea.

  8. Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup icing. Top with another cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with hazelnuts. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.