I confess, I'm ridiculously excited about the royal wedding this Friday. Maybe not get up at 4am excited, but, I've-got-my-DVR-all-ready-to-go-and-can't-wait-to-see-her-wedding-dress excited. What can I say, I am from the generation of women who were little girls when we watched Princess Diana get married so long ago, and it made a lasting impact on us-- the pomp and pageantry and that huge white train.
If you are looking for a wedding-watching treat or are hosting an all-out bash for the occasion, you may want to try these delicious little cupcakes. I was intrigued by the idea of what an Earl Grey cupcake would taste like so I thought, what better opportunity to try this recipe than during the week of the royal wedding festivities.
Well, I'm really glad I did, because I absolutely loved these cupcakes. Basically you steep Earl Grey teabags in milk that has simmered. When this mixture is added to the batter, it gives the cupcake a faint citrusy taste from the bergamot organge rind that is the signature flavor of Earl Grey tea and when combined with the almond extract, the result is a very pleasing mildly flavored cupcake. When I first saw a recipe for Earl Grey tea in a cupcake, words like "bitter" and "overpowering" came to mind but nothing could be further from the truth. The taste reminds me a little of the Italian cookie called a Pignoli which is made with almond paste and pine nuts. If you don't like Earl Grey, you could easily substitute this recipe with your favorite blend. These cupcakes are then topped with a sweet vanilla buttercream which I tinted with a little violet food coloring. I'm definitely making these again-- it was nice to try a new flavor combination that I enjoyed so much. These were sweet but not overly so, and I think they would be nice to take to a brunch or tea.
Note: This recipe makes about 10-12 cupcakes, so if you are making these for a crowd, you should plan on doubling both the cupcake and icing recipes. Also, the original recipe calls for using 4 Earl Grey teabags, but I used 3 teabags. I was very happy with the flavor of my cupcakes so I will probably use 3 the next time I make these.
For the Cupcakes:
1/2 cup milk (2% or whole), at room temperature
4 Earl Grey teabags (*I used 3)
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup, plus 2 tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup, plus 2 tbs. self-rising flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from the heat and add the teabags. Cover and leave to infuse for about 30 minutes, then discard the teabags.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Add the almond extract, and the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
Sift the two flours together into a separate bowl. Add one-third of the flours to be creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the infused milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added.
Spoon the mixture into the cups, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown. To check they are cooked, insert a wooden skewer in the center of one of the cupcakes to see if it comes out clean.
Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool. Frost when completely cool.
For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
8 tbs (1 stick ) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup whole or 2% milk, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
few drops of food coloring, optional
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract, and half the powdered sugar until smooth- this can take several minutes if using an electric hand mixer. Gradually add the remainder of the powdered sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy. Add any food coloring, starting with one drop at a time, until your icing reaches the desired hue.
Adapted from Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery