Earl Grey and Lemon Cupcakes

1 September 2013

The basis for this recipe comes from the Hummingbird Bakery from their Cake Days book. I first made these a while ago so when I had friends coming over for afternoon tea recently I couldn't think of a more suitable cake for the occasion. As usual, I did make a few small tweaks to the recipe (mostly the icing because some things just need to be accompanied by lemon) but I was very pleased with the end result.

For the cake:
Earl Grey tea
80g unsalted butter
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1tbs baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
200ml whole milk
2 large eggs

For the icing:
150g butter
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
270g icing sugar

You'll want to start by infusing the milk with your Earl Grey tea (the original recipe didn't do it this way but I think it gave a much nicer/stronger flavour and makes better use of the ingredients). I used a few teaspoons of leaf tea because it was what I had in the house but you could use two or three teabags if its easier, just simmer the milk with the tea for a few minutes and then allow to cool before starting on the rest of your cakes. If you want a stronger flavour you can use more tea or repeat this step a few times.

To make the cake mixture, combine the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt (as usual the recipe suggest use of an electric mixer but I managed fine mixing by hand so don't worry if you don't have one). Mix the eggs together with your tea infused milk and combine with the dry ingredients, mixing until the batter is smooth. Bake your cupcakes for about 20 minutes at 190 degrees - there should be enough mixture for about 16 but its worth noting at this point that they rose a lot more than I expected and for my second batch I only filled the cases half full rather than the usual two thirds so I probably could have gotten about 20 cakes out of the mixture. Leave the cakes to cool before starting on your icing.

For the icing, cream the butter and gently stir in half of the icing sugar. Stir in the lemon juice and then the rest of the icing sugar until thick enough to pipe. This was the first time I'd tried piping (with help from Dave) as I've just never really felt like having a go at it before and as you'll see from the photos, some of the cakes went a little better than others. I've learnt that it's definitely something you'll want to practise before trying baking for guests but it seemed the taste of the cupcakes made up for it!

They're perfect cakes for serving with a cup of afternoon tea and are a great excuse to use some adorable teacup cases.

Photos (and help with icing) from David Gurney

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