I do have an obsession over cupcakes. I used to prefer muffins until I tasted the real good cupcakes. Cupcakes come in all types – those with buttercream (like the ones I made this time around), fluffy frosting or fondant. They are a huge cheer up to anyone because they mostly look pretty. Currently, the Georgetown cupcakes still remain my benchmark for top notch cupcakes and if I re-visit D.C, that’s one shop I’m definitely re-visiting.
I have always wanted to be a master of cupcakes. But it’s easier than it sounds really. Baking cupcakes require a lot of patience – to get the frosting right and texture of the cake. It also requires a fair amount of tools such as pipping bags, metal frosting spatulas, cupcake liners, muffin pans of various sizes, proper electric hand mixer and ingredients such as decorative sugar pieces, food coloring and flavoring and a lot of creativity and courage. I was so enthusiastic about it that I own two cupcakes recipe books and have marked out the ones that I want to try out but have yet to actually start experimenting. It might turn out to be an expensive hobby and fattening to those who have to try my cupcakes i.e. B.T.
Inspired by my old school mate, J’s, attempt in Earl grey and lemon cupcakes which looked extremely delish, I decided to give it a go. The result wasn’t perfect – not sure whether it was my toaster oven and I merely spread on the frosting instead of making it high and pretty. But I think good enough for sharing (with recommendations for further improvement).
What worked? The frosting. I think I’ve perfected the limonata/lemon frosting in terms of taste. It was so lemoney, it delivered a lovely punch and was totally scrumptious. The consistency and texture of the frosting could be further improved on I feel – perhaps thicker with more effort in the beating of the mixture.
What didn’t quite work? The cake itself was actually quite moist but we could barely taste the Earl Grey. I think I would use 2-3 tea bags in future or try the alternative method that I found in the recipe good – milk infused with Earl Grey tea. Also, I will need to work on the uh final look of the cupcake. Mine doesn’t look enticing at all.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s sharing the step by step pictures and recipe.
Early Grey and Lemon cupcakes (makes 10-12 depending on size of cupcake cups)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup castor sugar
2 eggs (small)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2-3 tea bags of quality Earl Grey tea
Ingredients: Lemon buttercream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
For the cupcakes –
1) Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake pan with 10-12 cups.
2) Beat butter and sugar together till mixture is pale and smooth.
3) Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
4) Mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt,tea).
5) Add 1/2 of dry mixture to creamed mixture and mix well.
6) Add milk and mix. Add remaining dry mixture and mix till well combined.
7) Spoon mixture into cupcake cups till 2/3 full.
8) Bake for ~20-25 minutes till slightly raised and golden brown. Inserting a wooden toothpick should come out clean.
9) Cool thoroughly before frosting.
For the lemon buttercream –
1) Cream butter.
2) Add icing sugar and beat till fluffy.
3) Add lemon zest and juice and beat till smooth.
4) Spread over cooled cupcakes.
* As mentioned above, the tea flavor in the cake wasn’t as strong as I hoped it to be. According to my cupcake recipe book Earl Grey Cupcakes recipe, everything was done similar except this step –
Instead of adding the tea to the mixture itself – which did give it a lovely speckled look, there is an alternative method that might result in a stronger tea taste. Heat the milk until it is just about to boil, remove from heat, add tea bags and allow to infuse for 30 minutes. I plan to try this out the next time as it makes sense. Tea flavoring is released when it is infused so this method might allow the flavoring to come through stronger.
** I also discovered that there is a technique in frosting cupcakes so that it looks nice and high. I think another alternative is to pipe it out of a pipping bag using a patterned tip.