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Preheat oven to the temperature recommended on box cake mix directions.
Grease and flour two 8″ round cake pans. Then, trace around each pan onto parchment paper and cut out so that the circle pieces fit snuggly into the bottom of each pan. I find that this ensures your cake will easily transfer with no sticking.
Mix cake mix according to package directions and bake according to the directions for two 8″ round cake pans.
While the cakes are baking, mix the Earl Grey buttercream icing.
Add the softened butter and heavy cream to a large mixing bowl. Start creaming on medium-low speed and slowly add in the powdered sugar. Then add in the vanilla, salt, and loose Earl Grey tea. Then add in the cooled brewed Earl Grey tea. Mix until fully combined and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Once the cakes have finished baking, remove from the oven and set the pans onto a cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes. Then, carefully place another cooling rack on top of each pan and flip to transfer to the cake to the cooling rack outside of the pan. Let completely cool.
Once the cakes have cooled, you can assemble the cake and ice with the Earl Grey buttercream.
Place a small dab of the buttercream frosting onto the center of your cake stand, then place one of the cake layers onto the cake stand. Add a big dollop of the Earl Grey buttercream on top of that layer and spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake out to the edge. You can have a slight bit of overhand of frosting, which will help when icing the sides of the cake.
Next, place the second layer of cake onto the frosting and gently press it down just to make sure it sticks. From here, frost a thin layer of frosting all of the cake, top and sides. This will help seal in the crumbs, also known as a crumb coat. Once you have your crumb coat, begin to frost the cake from the top, then down the sides. Be generous with your frosting, continuing to smooth as you go around the cake.
Top with Culinary Lavender and orange zest, if preferred.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.