In the search for something simple but interesting to bake, I happened upon a recipe by the Primrose Bakery for Earl Grey cupcakes – a must for a tea jenny like me! (For those of you not familiar with the Scots dialect, “jenny” means a lot of or a great number of. Hence, a tea jenny is someone who drinks a lot of tea). Indeed, my cupboards are bursting at the seams with countless varieties: flowering, loose leaf and bags. And visitors who come into my home and refuse a cup are generally met with a mixture of suspicion and horror!
Despite the array of colourful and delicately scented infusions, I regularly opt for a good old mug of builders brew or a refreshing cup Earl Gray. There is something decidedly British in doing so! And what better way to extend British tradition than to enjoy afternoon tea with cake ….
Ingredients (makes 12)
125 ml milk,
4 Earl grey tea bags,
110g unsalted butter,
225g granulated sugar,
2 large eggs,
¼ tsp almond essence [optional],
125g self-rising flour,
120g plain flour Butter cream icing,
115g unsalted butter at room temperature,
60 ml semi skimmed milk,
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract,
500g icing sugar
A few drops of lilac food colouring
Preheat oven to 180c/ gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases. Heat milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and add teabags. Cover with a lid for about 30 mins. Cream butter with sugar in a bowl until the mixture is pale and smooth. Add almond extract and eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Scrape bowl with a spatula to make sure that the mixture is well combined. Combine the flours in a separate bowl. Add a third of the flour to the butter and sugar mixture and beat well. Pour in a third of the milk/tea mixture and beat. Repeat until all the flour and milk has been added. Carefully spoon mixture into cupcake cases, filling each one two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 mins. Test to see if they are cooked. Leave in tins for 10 minutes, then place on wire rack to cool.
To make the butter cream: beat butter, milk, vanilla and half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the rest of icing sugar to produce a creamy and smooth consistency. Add a drop of colouring and beat thoroughly. When cool, ice the cupcakes and sprinkle with a little extra granulated sugar.