Let me tell you a little story.
Two years ago, a naive eighteen-year-old girl was preparing to begin a new chapter of her life at university. She wasn’t nervous or scared, but instead was excited to be more independent and self-reliant. Little did she know how much dedication, organization, and energy was required to be successful. When September hit, she was faced with the long and painful hours spent reading, the early mornings required to beat the traffic rush, and the chaotic atmosphere of students rushing here and there. Although stress quickly hit and a few breakdowns transpired, she found great comfort in the hours she spent in the coffee shop on campus, sipping away at her new found favourite hot drink. She made it through that year (and the next) with a little help from the pure sweetness that London Fogs brought to her study hours.
Okay, so London Fogs are not the only thing that got me through my first two years of school, but they definitely contributed. I have vivid memories of sipping the sweet drink while fighting my eyes to stay open as I read my astronomy textbook. And modern art history textbook. And arts and culture textbook. You get the point.
You may be reading this and thinking to yourself “What in the world is a London Fog?”. I don’t blame you for asking. It is essentially a sweetened earl grey tea latte. Put simply, vanilla syrup is added to earl grey tea and steamed milk. It is sweet and frothy and every sip is as good as the last. The only thing I can really say is: de-lish. If you haven’t tried one, you need to.
So that brings me here. The other night, I was tossing and turning into the late hours of the night. Millions of thoughts were running through my mind. From mental checklists to cupcake flavour combinations, my brain could not settle itself down. But I guess I can’t complain because I came up with some fabulous ideas for future baking projects, one of which being this one.
A couple weeks ago, I was scanning through one of my favourite blogs. I was introduced to the possibility of using tea in baked goods when I came across a recipe for Earl Grey and Poppy Seed Muffins. I wanted something sweeter than muffins though. I wanted cupcakes. So I adapted my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe to include earl grey, whipped up a batch, and swirled each with some delicious vanilla buttercream and chocolate sprinkles. Then I ate one. Or two.
So let’s make some, yeah?
Pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Continuously whisk the milk to prevent it from burning on the bottom of the pot. When it begins to steam, add the tea bag and continue to whisk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally. Simmer it for two minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cover, allowing the milk to sit for three minutes. Remove the lid and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first three ingredients in a small bowl. Cream the butter and the sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Alternatively beat in the flour mixture and the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake for 20 minutes. Cupcakes will be slightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, cream together 3/4 cups of softened butter and 1 and 3/4 cups of icing sugar. Add a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat until light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag adorned with a preferred decorating tip. Cover the tops of cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.
That’s all there is to it. Whether you are an avid tea lover, an adventurous flavour seeker, or just simply willing to try something new, you will love these cupcakes! The earl grey flavour is not overpowering at all and combines perfectly with the vanilla. The buttercream is very sweet, so I suggest going easy on the swirls of frosting. Overall, the flavours combine together quite nicely and create a delicious (and in my case nostalgic) treat.
As I baked these up, I couldn’t help but wonder what other flavours besides vanilla would go nicely with earl grey. I also tried thinking of what other flavours of tea would bake nicely into a cupcake. What do you think? Green tea? Herbal teas? Something fruity?