Earl Grey Cupcakes!

I own three cookbooks – Be-Ro and one of Delia Smith’s, which are both fairly practical for a student, and another called ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’, which is decidedly less practical, though probably prettier! I’m gradually working my way through the recipes although this is the first I’ve written about – Earl Grey cupcakes. I’m not really a tea person, but I do like Earl Grey so I thought they were worth a try: the flavour comes from using milk which you’ve infused with the tea, so I suppose you could use any sort of tea. The original recipe used infused milk only in the cakes themselves, but when we tasted them the flavour was quite subtle so we used it in the icing as well!

Ingredients (makes 24 fairy cakes):

125ml semi-skimmed milk

4 Earl Grey teabags

110g butter at room temperature

225g sugar (the recipe says granulated but we used caster)

2 eggs

125g self-raising flour, sifted

120g plain flour, sifted

For the icing (this is half the quantity in the original but we found it was plenty!):

55g butter at room temperature

30ml semi-skimmed milk

250g icing sugar, sifted

– Preheat the oven to 180c and line two 12-hole fairy cake trays (or one 12-hole muffin tray) with cake cases.

– Heat all the milk (125ml for the cakes and 30ml for the icing) over a medium heat until it is just about to boil, then remove from the heat, add the teabags, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

– Cream the butter and sugar. As there is a lot more sugar than butter, I find it easiest to add the sugar gradually; it takes around 5 minutes with an electric whisk. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

– Combine the flours in a separate bowl and measure out about 100ml of the milk into a jug (some will have evaporated with heating). Add one third of the flour, then one third of the milk, to the creamed mixture, beating after each addition; continue until all the milk and flour are in.

– Spoon the mixture into the cake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.

– Once cool, make the icing: beat the butter, 30ml of infused milk and half the icing sugar until smooth, then gradually add the rest of the icing sugar and keep beating. It takes 5 minutes or more; it’s ready when it’s smooth, creamy and tastes of icing rather than butter and sugar!

– Ice the cupcakes, and sprinkle demerara sugar over for decoration!