Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream


Last week was a beautiful, fantastic whirlwind.

My house was filled with out-of-town family members who had converged to celebrate the wedding of my baby brother, Luke, to the woman of our, er, his dreams, Elvi.

Luke is a poet and I do not mean that esoterically. He’s an actual poet. He’s finishing up his master’s degree in poetry this year and I am not referring to limericks.

Elvi is an artist and I don’t mean that figuratively, either. She’s a working multi-media artist who does incredible things. Everything she does looks like art, even passing communion…

If you’re thinking that the wedding of a poet and an artist would be a feast for the senses you’d be one-hundred percent right, but of all the magical things there were on that day the most wonderful of them all was the love radiating from Luke and Elvi.

Gosh, I love these two so much.

Their car did not cooperate with the wedding plans. It you-know-what-ed the bed in a big way just a couple days before the ceremony. Did they let that get ’em down? No way! My little sister and her boyfriend led a contingent of little kiddles in decorating the happy couple’s  bikes so they could ride away in matrimonial style. Off they went into the Buffalo sunset for a celebratory wedding coffee, seltzer cans rattling and streamers snapping behind them…

I think Luke summed up all our feelings with one victorious little hand gesture.

You know it, little brother. Welcome to the family, Elvi, we like you more than ice cream. I know you know that’s big…


So why the cupcakes? Yours truly was in charge of baking, decorating and bringing the wedding cake.

The wedding cake presented some -how to say it, ah yes- big challenges. Namely, it didn’t behave well but that’s a story for another day. Also, my children -shockingly- were not willing to give up eating for three days for me to perfect the cake. So selfish, those children.

In short, the cake was made, but the Earl Grey Cupcakes that were planned as “dessert insurance” (in case the cake went too quickly) were tossed onto the “good idea but not do-able in time” pile. Instead, I drank all but one batch’s worth of the tea-infused milk and just got around to making the cupcakes yesterday. What? Noooo. I didn’t do that on purpose so that I could eat a whole batch of cupcakes by myself. I’m not that kind of girl. On Thursdays.

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
These lightly Earl Grey flavoured, super-moist cupcakes are topped with a fluffy lemony buttercream. Serve these for afternoon tea or as an elegant dessert. If you want to amp up the Earl Grey presence a little more, you can use some of the chilled, infused milk in the buttercream in place of the heavy cream.
Ingredients for Earl Grey Cupcakes:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 5 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Ingredients for Lemon Buttercream:
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces by weight) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups (1 pound, by weight) powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream or chilled infused Earl Grey whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
To Make the Cupcakes:
  1. Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Scald the milk (heat until it is steaming and many tiny bubbles have formed in the milk around the edge of the pan. Add the tea bags, remove the pan from the heat and put the lid in place. Let the milk cool to room temperature like this. When the milk is cool, squeeze the excess liquid from the tea bags and discard them. Measure one cup plus 2 tablespoons of the cooled infused milk and reserve the rest.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a mixing bowl with an electric hand-held mixer) beat together the butter and sugar until lighter in colour and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat well.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Add about ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter/egg/sugar. Beat on low just until combined. Add about ⅓ of the infused milk that you measured. Again, beat just until combined, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and repeat -flour, milk, flour, milk- until both flour and milk are completely incorporated.
  7. Line 24 muffin/cupcake wells with cupcake liners and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Fill the liners about ⅔ full of cupcake batter.
  8. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until they spring back when pressed lightly or a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  9. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
To Make the Lemon Buttercream:
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer) beat the butter on high until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add in the powdered sugar until incorporated. Then, with the mixer on high, whisk in the cream or infused milk and the lemon extract until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Use an offset spatula to smear the buttercream on the cupcakes or load it into a pastry bag with a big tip to pipe on the frosting.



  1. says

    The bikes are a hilarious way to end the wedding, not to mention, to tell life where to stick it when it tries to mess with your plans. I love their attitude!

    The cupcakes look heavenly – nothing wrong with eating a whole batch yourself 😉

  2. Valerie in Colorado says

    Thank you for sharing your brother’s wedding with us! Looks like it was a truly romantic, enchanting wedding full of love! Just what wedding’s are meant to be. Very cool wedding cake! The recipe, as usual looks divine and I am looking forward to making them.

  3. Tabby says

    I drop by your blog after realizing that you make up over half of my tastykitchen bookmarks, and the first thing I see is a recipe that takes full advantage of my Earl Grey obsession (and the huge box of it I just got as a gift). I’m stickin’ around.

  4. Giselle says

    Charming wedding pictures. There’s nothing like wedding full of the kind of love beaming out of this bride and groom. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Ellen Renee says

    I adore Earl Grey tea and lemon anything but alas I can’t think of one other person in my life who would appreciate these beauties with me and I sure would never make a batch just for myself.

  6. says

    What a sweet looking wedding. How can you not adore a groom & his lovely bride who embrace the adversity of their car trouble, and ride away on bicycles? The cupcakes look wonderful, but you really have me craving Earl Grey infused milk.

  7. Elvi Jo Dougherty says

    Rebecca, my sister now! I had NO idea that you did this!!!!!! Wow! Luke and I feel SO LOVED, like rock stars!!!!!!!!! And the cake? AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

    • says

      Aaron- That is so cool! I called my brother and sister-in-law to tell them about your comment. I’m pretty sure you kickstarted a romantic Saturday evening. :-)

  8. lindsay says

    I just made these and they sort of taste like cornbread.
    …why would they taste like cornbread?

    (granted, it’s pretty good cornbread but?)

  9. Carrie H says

    I made these cupcakes yesterday and people are going mad for them!
    Only thing I did different was to add 1 tsp of crushed loose leaf tea to the batter, and 1/2 tsp to the icing.
    They are fluffy, moist, and the infused milk is heavenly! Thanks a million :)
    ps. this was my first time baking cupcakes … ever!

  10. says

    This is also my first time making cupcakes from scratch. My love and I adore Earl Grey tea. I tried this, and my boyfriend loves them, but I was having a hard time with the consistency of the icing, more than likely my error… I didn’t have an electonic mixer so I did everything by hand. Definitely a work out! Next time I may add the tea bag in with the icing for more of a kick! Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      I think your trouble comes from trying to do it all by hand, I’m sorry to say! Frosting, while it can be done by hand, is always going to be fluffier if you can have some machine beat the tar out of it for you :-) I’m glad it tasted good, though!

  11. says

    I wanted to let you know that I baked these cupcakes and they were delicious. I will definitely bake these again. Thank you so much for sharing.


  1. […] Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream – These were AMAZING. I still wasn’t totally sold on the actual cupcake– not moist and fluffy enough for me. But they were delicious, especially with the zingy lemon buttercream we made with butter, icing sugar, fresh squeezed lemon juice and lemon rind.   […]

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