Sunday, 18 August 2013

Earl Grey Cupcakes

When I went to see my family in Yorkshire back in July, my niece Beth* made these, and they made for the most delicious dessert on the night of my arrival. I had never tasted anything so delicately delicious before, and knew I had to try and make them myself one day. When it was my Mum's birthday on Monday, it seemed like the perfect occasion, and Beth was so kind to email me the recipe:

Most of you will have all the necessary ingredients at home, I guess, unlike myself who keeps a very low stock of things and never buys milk unless specifically requested, and eggs rarely.

For the sponge, you need

6 Earl Grey teabags
6 tbsp just-boiled water
80 g softened butter
280 g sugar
240 g flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
200 ml milk (whole milk, not skimmed; the batter will be all the more creamy for it)
2 eggs (room temperature, not straight from the fridge)

For the frosting:
50 ml milk
500 g icing sugar
160 g softened butter

Start by boiling water. Place teabags in a bowl and add the just-boiled water; leave to brew while preparing the dough.

Preheat oven to 190 Celsius / gas 5, and line muffin tin with muffin cases.

The recipe now says to mix butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on low power until it has the texture of fine breadcrumbs; pour milk into a jub, add eggs and whisk by hand; add brewed tea, squeezing every last drop from teabags into milk mixture (set teabags aside, you will need them for the frosting). Pour 3/4 of milk mixture into dry ingredients, mix on low speed to combine. Mix on medium speed until smooth and thick. Scrape sides of bowl, add remaining milk mixture, beat until all ingredients have come together and the batter is smooth.
Well, that's what the recipe says, and it does sound rather elaborate! What I did was this:

I put all the ingredients in one big bowl and mixed them with my electric whisk - it did not take long at all before it was very smooth and looked like this:

Divide batter between paper cases, filling each 2/3 full (this made 22 cupcakes for me - I had to make them in two batches since my muffin tin only holds 12). 

Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes or until risen, golden-brown on the surface and springy to the touch. Leave to cool a little bit in the tin before removing them from the tin to a cooling rack (or board, in my case).

Now it is time to use the teabags once more. Place them in a small bowl and add the milk for the frosting. Leave to infuse; the recipe says for 30 minutes, but even after just a short time, the milk will take on a caramel-brown hue from the remainder of the tea in the bags. Remove the teabags, squeezing them well to extract maximum flavour.

Whisk icing sugar and butter first, then add the tea-infused milk; slowly at first, then increase speed to high and whisk until the mixture is soft, smooth and fluffy.

Apply frosting to cupcakes; I used a teaspoon, Beth used a piping bag (I don't have one).

It is a LOT of frosting - I went round and round again with my teaspoon, and maybe will reduce the amount of frosting next time I'll make these; some of my Mum's birthday guests weren't keen on that much buttery-sugary cream. But I liked them very much, and am already thinking about trying the same recipe with different kinds of tea, such as peppermint. Beth says she'll make them with an orange fruit tea, which sounds nice, too.

For Mum's birthday buffet, we put them on a three-tiered cake stand, the same one you can see here. That birthday is worth its own post, so you'll see more of that soon.

Thank you, Beth, for having made these when I was staying with you last month, and for giving me the recipe!

*I do have Beth's permission to mention her name, don't worry.


  1. cup cakes are all the rage at the moment.
    These look delicious.

    1. I found them delicious, too, and was quite unhappy that nobody else seemed to think so.
      Are they still all the rage? I thought that had already passed two years ago. Anyway, these were the first ones I ever made - up until then, I'd made muffins but never cupcakes.

    2. That's not true, that nobody found them delicious, but everybody had eaten so many of the other stuff and was filled up, so there was no more space for the cupcakes. We also offered fruit-salad and little brownies, which was a bit less mighty for the moment. :-)
      Later, they enjoyed them very much, and there was nothing left over at last!

  2. Earl Gray Cupcakes? Oh, I must tell my mother-in-law about this recipe, I bet she would like it!
    I think I could make this gluten free for Richard, I will have to let you know how we get on.
    I just made the Peanut Butter "Miracle" cookies for Richard last night, I might have to do a post about them, it has taken me 30 years but I think I have perfected it! ;-)

    1. I am quite sure they were perfect already before the 30 years were over, Kay :-)

  3. I love the flavor of Earl Gray tea! I'll have to try this recipe when something special is happening. Thank you, Meike!

    1. You are welcome, Kristi; I hope you'll like them as much as I did!

  4. Meike I just checked my tea supply to see if I had Earl Grey. Know I know this sounds like high treason, but I would like them better with no frosting at all..
    but just the cakes with tea would be enough. Thank you for this interesting recipie.

    1. No, Julie, it does not sound like high treason to me - simply call them muffins when you make them without frosting, and you're fine :-)

  5. I enjoy Earl Grey tea but am not a great cake eater. The idea is rather intriguing though and out of the ordinary.

    1. For me, it's the other way round - I hardly ever drink tea (unless I am cold or have a funny tummy) but am very much a cake eater.

  6. The idea of tea in the cupcakes is a new one on me, i'll share the recipe with my Little Girl, who has taken up an interest in baking, and who loves tea.

    1. Let me know whether she'll like these, please!

  7. These cupcakes look delicious and the Earl Grey tea is an inventive addition.