Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Living in the UK, I’ve come to learn that the British value their cup of tea. So when I came across this recipe for Earl Grey cupcakes, I had to pay sugary tribute to the afternoon cuppa. My only challenge was converting a vegan recipe to a normal one, but it worked out well. I think my favorite part of the cupcake is the super fresh lemon-y taste from the buttercream, and the hint of tea that starts to work it’s way through your tastebuds as the cupcake melts in your mouth. These cupcakes do not rise very much, but are super soft due to sifting in the dry ingredients, so be sure to fill the cases up to just below the brim.


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 Earl Grey teabags
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar (sifted)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 375° F (approx 190°C). Place cupcake liners into a the pan.

2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the milk until just before boiling. Add the tea bags, the orange zest, and the lemon zest; stir and remove from the heat. Cover the pan and let sit for 10 minutes. After that time, remove the tea bags, being sure to squeeze all of the liquid out of them.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, yogurt, sugar, vanilla and tea mixture until all yogurt lumps disappear. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, in a separate bowl then sift into the wet mixture. Mix until all of the large lumps are gone.

4. Fill each of the cupcake liners with the batter to just below the brim. Bake for 15-20 mins, or until a cake tester comes out clean when pushed through the center. Let rest in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the frosting, cream the butter in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Gradually sift in the icing sugar, scraping the bowl with a spatula in between each addition. Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest, then continue to mix on the high setting until the frosting becomes light and airy.

6. Fill a piping bag with the buttercream and pipe onto the top of the cupcakes.

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