This Earl Grey Bergamot Loaf is a light chiffon-style cake that is full of tea and citrus flavour. Uplifting bergamot oil permeates the loaf cake and accentuates the essence of Earl Grey tea.
This post first appeared on Sift & Simmer in May 2018. Updated May 2021.
On a trip to Edmonton's Duchess Bake Shop a few years ago, I picked up some bergamot oil.
A whiff of it, and I thought about bergamot and it's pairing with Earl Grey tea -- which is one of my ALL-TIME favourite teas (besides matcha).
I love the scent of bergamot -- it's bright, citrusy and uplifting, so I wanted to make a loaf cake.
What is bergamot?
Bergamot is a very fragrant fruit that belongs to the citrus family.
It's roughly the size of an orange but is either yellow or green in colour.
It smells like lemon with floral notes.
Did you know that bergamot fruit is not edible?
Only the oils from the rinds are cold-extracted and used.
Note: Use a culinary/food-safe bergamot oil for baking. Do not use an essential oil.
What is Earl Grey tea?
Earl Grey tea is a black tea that is flavoured with bergamot oil.
Therefore, bergamot and Earl Grey are a natural pairing.
I love Earl Grey and have many recipes using this tea:
Raspberry Earl Grey Cream Puffs
Chocolate-Dipped Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies
Ingredients you'll need
- whole milk: heated, you can use any milk/non-dairy alternative you like
- Earl Grey tea: 2 tea bags, or about 4-5g loose leaf tea
- bergamot oil: use a culinary bergamot oil
- all-purpose flour: regular flour will be fine, or you can use cake flour for an even lighter texture; don't use bread flour for this loaf
- eggs: whites and yolks separated
- avocado oil: or neutral vegetable oil
- lemon/orange zest: or if you can find bergamot, you can use that too!
- granulated sugar: adds sweetness to the cake
- cream of tartar: or lemon juice, helps stabilize the egg meringue
- almond flour: for a nutty addition; you can omit and replace with the same amount of all-purpose flour
- baking powder: adds more lift to the cake
How to make the loaf
The technique is similar to making a chiffon cake, where we beat the egg whites and egg yolks separately.
It lends to creating such a lighter and airier loaf, which I prefer.
It's a little more work, but trust me, it's well worth the time.
Infuse the milk with the Earl Grey tea and leave it to steep for a few minutes.
Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, oil, sugar, bergamot oil, and lemon/orange zest.
Pour the tea-infused milk into the egg yolk mixture.
Add the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt to the milk/egg mixture. Fold with a spatula until just combined. Don't overmix.
Next, whisk the egg whites until it becomes foamy, then add the cream of tartar/lemon juice.
Continue beating the egg whites and gradually add in the 60g sugar, until it reaches stiff peaks.
Fold about ⅓rd of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. The batter will be quite stiff. The egg whites will help lighten it.
Continue folding in the egg whites in thirds until it's all incorporated into the flour mixture.
Transfer the a batter to a loaf pan. Give it a few taps to release any trapped air bubbles.
Bake at 350F for about 50-55 minutes.
Let the loaf cake cool before serving.
How to serve & store
Serve the Earl Grey Bergamot loaf cake at room temperature.
You can store the cake at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Alternatively, you can store sliced cake in the freezer for up to 3 months.
FAQ's & Troubleshooting
Can I add icing?
Sure, you can add icing on top if you'd like.
The cake batter seems thick
Yes, this cake batter (prior to adding the egg whites) will appear thick. The egg whites will loosen the cake batter and it will bake up perfectly fine.
What does stiff peaks mean?
When you can pull the whisk up and the meringue "peak" stays up, then it's stiff. If it curls over, then you can continue beating longer.
Can I omit the almond flour?
Yes, you can omit the almond flour and use the same amount of all-purpose flour in its place.
Where can I find bergamot oil?
You can find bergamot oil in specialty baking/grocery stores, or online.
Other Earl Grey recipes you may like
If you're the ultimate Earl grey tea aficionado, you may also enjoy these recipes:
Blackberry Earl Grey Cream Roll Cake
Raspberry Earl Grey Cream Puffs
No-Churn Earl Grey/London Fog Ice Cream
Tender, light, and full of tea flavour, this Earl Grey Bergamot Loaf is delicious for breakfast, snack, or an afternoon tea.
Let me know if you make this -- I'd love to see your creations! Tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Earl Grey Bergamot Loaf
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 80 ml whole milk, hot or non-dairy alternative
- 2 bags Earl grey tea
- 3 egg whites
- 3 egg yolks
- 80 ml avocado oil or neutral vegetable oil
- 115 g granulated sugar, divided
- ½ teaspoon culinary bergamot oil
- 1 zest of lemon or orange (or bergamot) optional, but will be more flavourful
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar or ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
- 130 g all-purpose flour
- 50 g almond flour or you can replace with same amount of all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C.
- Line an 8" by 4" loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Pour the milk into a microwave-safe mug. Heat on high for 30-40 seconds until steaming hot.
- Place Earl grey tea bags into the hot milk and let it steep for 5 minutes.
- Separate egg whites from the egg yolks and place the egg whites into an clean stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment. Be sure that the mixer bowl is free from any grease.
- Place the egg yolks into a large glass bowl. Add in avocado oil, 55g sugar, bergamot oil, and lemon/orange zest. Use a whisk and beat together until combined.
- While whisking, gradually add the steeped milk tea to the egg yolks.
- Next, add the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt to the egg yolk mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites using the stand mixer whisk attachment on low speed.
- Once bubbles form, add the cream of tartar (or lemon juice) and gradually increase the speed.
- Gradually add the remaining 60g sugar and beat until the meringue becomes shiny and stiff.
- Fold in about ⅓rd of the egg whites into the flour mixture. The batter will appear quite thick. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites in thirds until no white streaks remain.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Give the pan a few taps to release any trapped air bubbles.
- Bake at 350°F/177°C for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.
- Serve with tea and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
Recipe inspired from Jenny Can Cook
I love bergamot flavor, and I've infused some desserts such as ice cream and marshmallows. But I've never tried bread/baked things, and this idea sounds fantastic!
Thank you Ben! Oooh, I've never thought to do bergamot ice cream! Sounds lovely!
This loaf sounds amazing! I have such a love for earl grey so I am definitely bookmarking this to try for later!!!
Thanks Christie 🙂
I just made this yesterday and it tastes great! Mine looks nothing like yours though. The meringue kinda made a crust on top (not too mad about it though), so perhaps it wasn’t as well mixed as it should have been? The flour mixture was really doughy for me so I found it kinda tough to mix the meringue mixture into it. Any idea where I went wrong? Thanks for sharing this recipe! Such wonderful flavors!
Hi there, hmm... I haven't had the loaf form a meringue crust on me before, so it may be a case of the meringue not fully incorporated. Did you use 1 C or 1 1/2 C flour? Glad you enjoyed the flavours, though!
Can I use some zest from a bergamot too in the batter?
Yes, absolutely! I am envious that you have access to fresh bergamot!
Bergamot is one of my favorite flavors, so this earl grey loaf sounds amazing!
I love loaf cake. At snacks time, I eat this with some warm ginger tea.
Nart at Cooking with Nart
Wow, I think this is very interesting for people coming from my region. I love Earl Grey but never thought about combining it with bergamot. I'm not sure if we have bergamot here in Thailand and wonder if you could replace it with kaffir lime!
I haven't tried with kaffir lime but it sounds like a fantastic combo -- do let me know if you try it, Nart! 🙂
That loaf looks fabulous! In true Scottish style I'd want to slather it with butter.
Can't wait to try this! Such an interesting flavour for a cake. Baking this for a family picnic. Thanks!
David @ Spiced
I've never played around with bergamot oil, but I do enjoy baking with tea. This quick bread sounds quite tasty - perfect with a mid-morning cup of coffee or tea!
Thanks David! It would be perfect to a cup of tea! 🙂
Heidi | The Frugal Girls
What a perfectly delicious loaf! And I love your tip to beat the egg whites and yolks separately!
Thank you Heidi, yes, this method yields such a light crumb to the cake!
Caleb - Never Ending Journeys
Such a decadent and delicious bread! I'd love to try it with a cup of coffee.
Tasia ~ two sugar bugs
What a delicious loaf cake! I've always loved the smell of bergamot oil and it must be fantastic paired with earl grey. Sounds like it would be perfect with a cup of afternoon coffee!
Thanks so much Tasia! 🙂
Sound that this Earl Grey Bergamot Loaf is very fragrant and healthy. Will try it soon.