Sunday, 11 July 2010

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Although I cannot say I am a big tea drinker I do quote often partake in some of it's more fragrant and floral relatives like herbals and fruit infusions, green teas and I have recently grown a liking for earl grey with a slice of lemon. Such a lovely combination, as the earl grey itself has bergamot notes which the lemon enhances wonderfully so you can imagine sitting by a swan filled pond at a stately home under a white parasol. I hope I'm not the only one who gets this excited about teas!

Concidering the images these flavours brought up for me I think they will be the perfect flavouring for some of the cupcakes I am taking to one of my best friends' wedding next Saturday. These are the test batch and I think they turned out almost perfectly. I may use less frosting next time as the delicate floral taste of the cake needs to shine through a little more! I may even make myself a batch to eat plain - did I really just say that? I'm so addicted I'm pretty sure I bleed buttercream...

I'll be taking three batches to the wedding - these earl grey babies, chocolate and salted caramel as Jon the groom loves them and a batch of my victoria sponge cupcakes - vanilla cake stuffed with jam and topped with a good swirl of creamy vanilla buttercream. I think I'm going to make some cute toppers for the salted caramel cupcakes too, Jon is an awesome artist and drew a cartoon of himself and Sarah for the invitations so I think I'll use that and maybe draw up some monograms. I'll get some photos as long as I remember this time, I've been forgetting to photograph stuff a lot recently, boo.

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Makes 12 standard American size cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
120ml semi-skimmed milk
1 earl grey teabag (or a homemade one using loose tea leaves like I made, see notes below)
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp earl grey tea leaves, ground as fine as you can get them in a pestle and mortar with the salt
40g butter, softened
1 egg

Frosting Ingredients
125g butter, softened
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
500g icing sugar
a few drops of yellow food colouring (optional)

Cupcakes Method
Preheat the oven to 170 C / 325 F and line a muffin tray with 12 standard American size cupcake liners. Set aside.

Slowly heat the milk in a small saucepan until just to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the earl grey teabag. Leave to infuse for 5 minutes then remove, squeezing what you can from the teabag, and leave to cool completely.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, ground tea leaves and salt, add the butter and beat for 2-3 minutes until it reaches a sandy consistency.

Whisk the egg into the cooled tea infused milk and then slowly add to the dry ingredients mixing until well combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and then mix again for a further 2-3 minutes until it has thickened slightly.

Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through, until the cake tops have gone slightly golden and spring back when pressed lightly. Leave to cool in the tray for ten minutes, then remove and leave to completely cool before frosting.

Frosting Method
Beat the softened butter with the lemon zest and juice until combined and then add the icing sugar in 3-4 batches, making sure each is mixed in well before adding the next. After all the sugar is combined add your few drops of colouring and mix until blended.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with either a piping bag and nozzle or a spatula or knife and then decorate as you wish.

Earl Grey Cupcakes

As I was using loose tea leaves I made my own taebag for infusing the milk. Just cut the top from a standard tea bag, empty all the leaves into the bin and then fill with 1 tsp of earl grey leaves. Fold over the top and sew closed with white cotton - you could just staple it down as long as you knew your staples were very clean!

I used what is called a French icing tip for these cupcakes, they make tight stripes in the icing which look sharp to me like the lemon flavour.

If you can't find icing roses you could always use sugared jelly lemon slices which you can find in most supermarkets' baking section.

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

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