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Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes

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Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes
Earl grey tea is a classic flavor that can be a great pick-me-up in the mornings and an equally tasty way to unwind in the evening. The next time you’re having a cup of tea, you might want to consider pairing it with these Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes. The soft, tender cupcakes are made with a tea-infused milk and are laced with bits of tea leaves, which give the cake both an attractively specked look and a delicious Earl Grey tea flavor.

The recipe starts by infusing a small amount of milk with Earl Grey tea. I used tea bags, but you can use loose leaf tea for this process, if you prefer. I used two teabags for a half cup of milk to ensure that the milk was able to pick up plenty of flavor without pulling any bitterness out of the tea. A steeping time of 20-30 minutes is all you need to get a nice flavor, and the milk can steep at room temperature (and it should be at room temperature for the recipe, anyway!). I also used whole milk, however other types of milk can be used in this recipe.

Tea shows up again as a mix-in for the cupcakes. Cutting open a tea bag, I poured a small amount of the tea leaves right into the batter. Unlike loose leaf tea, the tea in tea bags tends to be very, very fine and mixes into a batter like this one easily without adding any additional texture to the cupcakes. It brings in some additional Earl Grey tea flavor, too.

Earl Grey tea is a black tea that is primarily flavored with bergamot orange and you can taste that orange peel in the finished cupcakes. A little bit of vanilla extract blends well with the orange and brings in a creamier note to the tea flavor. Once baked, the tender cupcakes should be cooled and topped with your favorite frosting. I used my  Two-Ingredient Vanilla Buttercream, which adds a nice sweetness without competing with the flavor of the tea, but I would recommend any vanilla frosting you like!

Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes
1/2 cup milk
2 earl grey teabags
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp earl grey tea (from a cut-open tea bag)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a measuring cup, combine milk and tea bags. Allow to steep for 15 minutes, then remove tea bags and gently squeeze any milk out of them.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract and loose earl grey tea. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the tea-steeped milk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture and mix only until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Divide batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Top with Two-Ingredient Vanilla Buttercream or your favorite frosting.

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