Cupcakes are one of my favourite things to bake. I love the whole process of them, and the way they all comes together. They should have a soft and springy sponge, a secret centre and then lashings of thick frosting on top. They’re a complete indulgence and so therefore need to make an appearance in my afternoon tea collection.
I haven’t made these little treats in a while because, and for those who attended my birthday last year know this, I made 4858659 garishly pink ombre and gingerbread cupcakes. I then baked a batch of about 30 for Halloween and a following 5000 for Christmas so as you can imagine I didn’t want to see another one for a very long time. Obviously that time has come so I went all out with these Earl Grey ones.
I’m not a big fan of Earl Grey tea, and despite all the health benefits (lowers ya cholesterol don’t ya know) I just can’t bring myself to drink it. I find it way too overpowering in its liquid form, too perfumey, but I enjoy it in other things and think that it flavours these cupcakes beautifully. I played on the bergamot pretty heavily by adding a whisky marmalade centre and topping it off with orange blossom icing so if you’re not a fan of the fruit then it’s probably best if you stay away from this recipe and maybe go and make some of these instead!
Also, if you’re wondering where my fabulous pack of teas came from then you can pick up yours at Whittards. They’re my go-to place and it’s worth it for the delicious packaging alone.
MAKES 12 CUPCAKES
- 3 Earl Grey tea bags
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup whisky marmalade
- just over 1 cup unsalted butter
- 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom extract
- mixed peel, to decorate
1) Preheat the oven to 180C and line a muffin tin with liners.
2) In a small saucepan, warm the milk until it has almost boiled. Add the Earl Grey leaves and whisk regularly. Remove from the heat and strain half of the leaves out and leave to cool.
3) In a mixer, add the butter. Sift in the flour, sugar, and baking powder and then mix until sand-like.
4) In a jug combine eggs and the cooled milk.
5) With the mixer on low, add half of the liquid mixture and then turn to high to combine. Once all the lumps have gone, lower the speed and add the remaining milk. Turn the speed up again and mix until everything is smooth.
6) Fill the muffin liners 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
7) For the filling, heat the marmalade in a saucepan until runny. Cut small, round holes in the tops of your cupcakes (KEEP THE MIDDLE SPONGE BIT) and then spoon in a bit of marmalade in each. Place the cut out sponge back in its place.
8) For the frosting, gradually mix the icing sugar, butter and orange blossom extract on a low speed until there is no longer big lumps of butter remaining. Beat until light and fluffy.
9) Top the cupcakes with 1-2 teaspoons of the frosting and using a palette knife, swirl it around until the sponge is no longer showing. Top with some mixed peel and voilà! Have your cake and eat it.