The first time I had Earl Grey tea was at my friend Tarn’s house when we were teenagers. Whenever I smell that heavily perfumed bergamot orange aroma it makes me think of her. When I lived in Vienna my good friend Claire and I used to drink mug after mug of Earl Grey in our apartment, always with a slice of lemon squeezed in. That was great until we started leaving dirty mugs with dead lemon rinds in them around the place…
I had been wanting to make these cupcakes for a while, so Sunday afternoon seemed like a good enough time. This recipe is the Hummingbird Bakery recipe from the Laura Ashley website. The Earl Grey flavour is very subtle, so I might try it again with another teabag.
3 Earl Grey teabags
3tbsp just-boiled water
80g unsalted butter, softened
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
200ml whole milk
2 large eggs
50ml whole milk
500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter, softened
To make the cupcakes:
Place the teabags in a bowl and add the just-boiled water, then leave to brew for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
Use a hand-held electric whisk or freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment to mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
Pour the milk into a jug, add the eggs and whisk by hand. Add the brewed tea, squeezing every last drop from the teabags into the milk mixture, then set the teabags aside for the frosting.
Pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Then mix on a medium speed until smooth and thick. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and beat until all the ingredients have come together and the batter is smooth.
Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling each two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch, then leave to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.
To make the frosting:
While the cupcakes are cooking, place the used teabags in a small bowl with the milk for the frosting and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the teabags and give them a good squeeze to extract maximum flavour.
Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is still powdery. Pour in the tea-infused milk while mixing slowly, then increase the speed to high and whisk until soft and fluffy.
Divide the frosting between the cold cupcakes, I used a piping bag but you can just swirl the frosting on the top with a knife.
The cakes were really delicious, very moist and just with a hint of Earl grey flavour. Do you like how my patty pans say ‘cupcake’ on the side? Just to avoid any confusion…
I decorated my cupcakes with those edible flower things from the supermarket. Not sure the Earl would approve of such girly looking cupcakes. Oh well.
I’m going to take some to my friend who has had a baby, I can’t wait to meet him! This business of people-making; so odd and amazing.