I love a good cup of tea. Possibly more than is healthy. I get through about ten cups a day, from the spectrum of black through to white, from loose-leaf to bags. When it comes to tea I’m an equal opportunity drinker. A Saturday treat is buying a new variety from the supermarket. When I moved back to the UK from China, I left personal items behind so that I could pack my hand luggage with tea. Phew, it feels good to get that off my chest. I like tea.
This recipe was the result of a lack of other ingredients. The only recipe I was equipped for was basic cupcakes. I then adapted it to include tea. Seemples.
This recipe is adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking.
125g butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup caster sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup milk
6 Lady Grey teabags
2 cups icing sugar
20g butter, melted
2 tbsp hot water
Method (makes 24):
1. Preheat oven to 180 oC. Line two 12-hole muffin pans with cases.
2. Warm the milk and add teabags. Allow to steep for 10 minutes.
3. Combine ingredients in medium bowl; beat with electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are just combined. Increase speed to medium; beat about 3 minutes or until mixture is smooth.
4. Drop rounded tablespoons of the mixture into each case; bake about 20 minutes. Stand cakes about 5 minutes, then cool on wire racks.
5. Top cakes with glace icing.
To make icing:
1. Place sifted icing sugar in small bowl; stir in butter and enough of the hot water to make a paste; spread atop cakes.
I’ve halved the recipe. As much as I might want them, I don’t need 24 cupcakes.
Steeping the teabags in milk. This is where it all went a bit off piste. Adapting a recipe is nerve-wracking. It could be great – resulting in glory and deliciousness, or it could be grit-biscuits all over again.
A close up of the tea-infusion. Looks enticing, no? In fact, it looks like the many cups of almost-finished tea that have ended up dotted around my flat. This particular specimen looks like one that’s been sitting there a few days – although the teabag would be crispier by now.
I am the Damien Hirst of butter.
A quarter tsp of vanilla essence. The back of the bottle says that it includes ethanol. Isn’t that like pure alcohol?
According to fount of knowledge that is Wikipedia:
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a powerful psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. It is best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages and thermometers. In common usage, it is often referred to simply as alcohol or spirits.
And we’re putting this in cakes? Wowsa.
In it all goes. No sieving this time. Boo! It looks a lot like primary school cooking classes.
I always feel like it’s cheating to use the electric mixer. It makes it too easy. Where’s the sweat? The toil? And yet, my pathetic upper body strength rules out using a wooden spoon. I’ve also noticed a strong correlation between (a.) the using of the electric mixer and (b.) the getting of cake mixture in hair. Science.
To this. It’s pretty much exactly like Blue Peter here.
The original recipe was for 24 cakes. I halved the recipe, but then didn’t seem to have enough to make 12. So I made six big ones instead.
The error of my ways has become clear. There was too much mixture which (I think) is what has made them over-rise and crack on the top.
Poor little guy.
Making the glace icing. I can’t believe it requires a whole cup of icing sugar. Aren’t I sweet enough?
This icing lark couldn’t be any easier. I was pretty ambivalent with the spatula and it still formed icing in no time.
This is the baking equivalent of papering over the cracks – but better, because I can also eat the evidence.
This might be the ethanol talking, but I think the cake has almost an almost Von Trapp Family feel to it – all full-fat milk and girls in gingham.
Partners in crime.
Very good. While the cakes don’t smell of anything, the tea notes are subtle but definitely there in the taste. It adds a slight citrussy-spiciness. I’m glad I went with the icing – it jazzes up the whole cake, and stops it becoming too bland.
I still can’t get my head around measurements. I thought by halving everything in the recipe, I’d end up with half the number of muffins. But perhaps I just overfilled the cases, and there should have been enough for 12.
It couldn’t be any quicker or simpler to make. It mostly involves ingredients you probably already have, and you could substitute any type of black tea for flavour.