Earl Grey Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla “Buttercream”

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Building on my last post, I’ve been on a little bit of a tea-kick. David’s Tea Cream of Earl Grey is one of my favourites, and incorporating it into some of my favourite recipes has been a unique challenge. I modified my vanilla cupcake recipe I’ve been using for nearly 10 years to add the strong earl grey flavour, giving these cupcakes a unique depth.

It took a few tries until this experiment was a success! After all, this is why we chose to call this blog The Science of Baking.


For the Cupcakes:

1/2 cup earl grey concentrate (2-3 tbsp. earl grey tea and 1/2 cup boiling water)
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) nondairy margarine, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 eggs
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the icing:

1 cup (2 sticks) nondairy margarine (softened)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk


Preheat oven to 350° and line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

1) Steep Earl Grey tea (in filter) with 1/2 cup boiling water. Allow to cool
2) Add the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on medium speed until well combined (about a minute).
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3) Add margarine, a few cubes at a time until mixture resembles coarse sand.
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4) Add eggs one at a time
5) Slowly pour in almond milk, vanilla and earl grey concentrate. Beat for 2 minutes until smooth (works best with a mixer), scraping sides of bowl as needed.
6) Fill liners 2/3 full (about 1/4 cup batter) and bake for 15-20 minutes until tops are golden brown and centre is set.
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Allow to cool completely before frosting.
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7) Make the Frosting: Cream margarine. Add vanilla and gradually add sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add almond milk and beat until fluffy. If desired, add food colouring.FullSizeRender 26.jpg
Makes 24 cupcakes. These freeze well unfrosted in a ziploc style bag. As well, the batter can be made in a 9 x 13 sheet pan (bake for 35-45 mins) or 9-inch circular pans (bake 25-35 mins) to make a cake.

Science Fact of the Week:

Similar to our friends the blueberries, Pure Vanilla Extract is rich in anti-oxidants such as vanillin. Using imitation vanilla decreases the anti-oxidant quantity, and therefore decreases potential health benefits. Vanilla has been shown to be anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory,and anti-bacterial. As a result, it may reduce one’s risk of certain cancers. 

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