Earl Grey Cupcakes for an English Birthday

My friend, known by many as English Ed, had his birthday yesterday, and we had the luck of having him on the continent so that we could all celebrate together. He’s returned to Canada to tour with The Electric Candles, a local band who will be playing shows in Ontario and Quebec locations during June and July. It’s his first trip back in five years, and we got to throw him a birthday at Vinyl Drip, the local all request vinyl night. It’s a great place for a Monday night get together, especially when the birthday boy is musically inclined.

I told him I would bake him a cake for his birthday, but we quickly decided on cupcakes. Being the avid baker I am, I asked him, “What kind of cupcakes are your favorite?” My mind already thinking of cool ideas, maybe I could do something with pomegranate molasses… or I could make the grape cupcakes I made for my birthday last year… what would be truly excellent?

Ed said he wanted “Normal cupcakes.” Just plain vanilla, nothing weird cupcakes. I agreed to this at first but then I heard stories of Ed’s very standard English consumption of tea. Lots and lots of tea. So, I made him Earl Grey cupcakes instead of his requested normal, vanilla cupcakes to bring a little bit of extra tea flavor for his birthday.

They were quite well received! All I did was take my standard recipe for white  cupcakes, but steeped the required milk (after bringing it to a boil) with two tea bags of Earl Grey, and let it cool back to room temperature. The Earl Grey flavor was quite subtle, so maybe next time I will use another tea bag in the steeping. If you have someone request normal, white, nothing too crazy cupcakes, you can use this recipe as written, skipping the boiling of the milk and the steeping process.

Happy Birthday Ed!

Earl Grey Cupcakes


3/4 C milk

2 tea bags of Earl Grey tea

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 C butter, softened

1 C sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 C flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

  • Bring milk to a boil in a saucepan, removing from heat once simmering and adding in the bags of tea. Allow to steep until the milk returns to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs one at a time, add vanilla to mixture.
  • In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Alternating in two batches, stir dry ingredients and steeped milk to the mixture. Try to mix minimally, just until the batter is uniform.
  • Divide the batter between 12-16 cupcake cups (depending on the size of cup you are using).
  • Bake until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted to the center of the cupcake comes out clean (~18 minutes).
  • Allow to cool completely and then ice as desired.

I iced Ed’s birthday cupcakes with a plain, normal vanilla buttercream icing, so that he at least got halfway what he wanted out of the cupcakes. I think he appreciated the tea, though.

17 thoughts on “Earl Grey Cupcakes for an English Birthday

  1. What a great idea! I bet these taste fantastic. I saw a place that had Earl Grey ice cream the other day, but I opted for the ginger ice cream instead. I think I should have gotten the Earl Grey!

    • Earl Grey ice cream sounds like a really interesting flavor. I had some truly sublime banana sorbet today with friends. I think Earl Grey ice cream might be an undertaking that I should get working on!

    • English Ed seemed to enjoy them quite a bit. He was impressed that I brought cupcakes, though little does he know that I tend to attend events with baked goods in tow. They were very fitting for his birthday.

  2. Dana

    I like to go to a very upscale tea place in paris called mariage freres and all their pastries are made with tea; I am so happy you made these cupcakes with Earl Grey (my favorite classic flavor) and so now I can do a tea pastry at home too!

    • Mmm, this Parisian tea place sounds like a good place to stop! I think what I liked about these cupcakes best is that Earl Grey tea isn’t a flavor that is too intense. The delicacy if it really worked well, I thought.

  3. They sound great! I am like you, it makes me saw whenever someone says, “Oh just bring something normal like plain…” Love the twist and you still almost kept it plain.

    • To be completely honest, there were a couple of cupcakes that stayed at home and got frosted with a pomegranate molasses buttercream. Very tangy, and so good, though the Earl Grey kind of got lost in translation. I guess I couldn’t manage almost plain the whole way through. 😛

  4. My mom loves earl grey tea. I actually found a recipe for earl grey cupcakes in a cupcake book I picked up. I might have to try them!

  5. This is a great idea! I’ve heard of different methods for getting tea flavor into cupcakes with varying amounts of success but I’ve never actually tried any myself. Earl grey cupcakes sound sooo good though!

  6. I just must say how much i love Earl Grey, and I like cup cakes, and both worlds collided in a lovely way; much in the same way a primordial rock collided with another rock and now we have the lovely moon :)

  7. I had Earl Grey ice cream when I was in NYC last summer. It was the best ice cream I have ever had. I’m excited to try these cupcakes.

    • All of this talk about Earl Grey ice cream is really making me curious about it. Perhaps I can find a recipe…

  8. I love Earl Grey Tea-I am actually obsessed with it-but I have never baked with it. Your blueberry granita sounds wonderful-I am going to make some ice cream this weekend.

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