Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Every year, MAWA holds its annual Over the Top art auction and cupcake party. I have attended for the past four years and each year I donate 4 dozen cupcakes. Not being one to repeat myself, I try to come up with new flavours every year.

The first year was my famous chocolate with 7 minute frosting and pink/orange sprinkles; year two was chocolate cupcakes with mocha buttercream and a mini powdered donut; three was cherry almond cupcakes with vanilla Swiss buttercream, and fresh banana cupcakes with cinnamon Swiss buttercream.

This year, I went a little outside the box and did an Earl Grey tea cupcake with lemon buttercream, and an Oreo cupcake with vanilla buttercream (and an Oreo on top!)

I can only assume that the Oreo cupcakes were a hit, because they were long gone by the time we got there. LONG GONE. That’s ok, though, because I was really excited about the Earl Grey cupcakes. Like, really, really excited… excited enough to skip lunch, which, for me, is huge.

Once we arrived at MAWA, I made my way to the first cupcake tower and quickly spotted my target. (It was easy to find in its fancy black and white damask cupcake liner.) One bite, and it was LOVE.

The cake itself is fairly dense, but moist, and with just the perfect amount of Earl Grey tea flavour. The lemon buttercream is the perfect complement, which makes complete sense if you think about it. In addition to steeping the tea bags in the milk, I added the contents of one bag to the batter. Not only did it amp up the flavour, the little speckles in the cake looked lovely. And, in the interest of quality control, I had TWO… just to make sure they were blog-worthy.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2012/08/10/earl-grey-cupcakes-with-lemon-buttercream

Earl Grey Cupcakes:
1 ½ cups milk
6 Earl Grey tea bags
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk to steaming. Remove from heat and add 5 of the tea bags, reserving one. Let the milk/tea steep until the milk has cooled to room temp. Measure out 1 cup plus 2 tbsp of infused milk. Discard tea bags.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two 12-well muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a mixing bowl with an electric hand-held mixer), beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and beat well.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the contents of the reserved (dry) tea bag.
  6. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in mixer bowl and beat on low speed until just combined.
  7. Add half of the infused milk, beating until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and repeat with remaining dry ingredients and milk.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Makes 24

Lemon Buttercream:
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer), beat the butter on high until it is light and fluffy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until incorporated.
  3. Scrape down the bowl and switch to a whisk attachment. With the mixer on medium, add the lemon juice one tablespoon at a time until incorporated.
  4. Increase speed to high and continue to whisk for 3-4 minutes, or until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
  5. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.


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