I love to bake. I learn through trial and error and from my baking-pro of a mom. When I was pregnant last summer, my brother-in-law introduced me to Cupcake Wars (very manly right? wink wink). Prior to my exposure to the show, I had never really cared for cupcakes. Of course, once seeing the baking champs, my pregnant belly began to crave nothing but cupcakes and, for the first time ever, I started making cupcakes from scratch. My great aunt came to visit me over the weekend and I decided I needed a special dessert for her. My mother graciously lent her kitchen to me and babysat as I tried my hand at a new recipe: Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting, filled with white chocolate ganache. If the kitchen hadn’t gotten so hot (we’ve skipped spring and hopped right into summer), they may have turned out prettier. However, if sweet is your thing, these tasty little cakes are for you!
The original recipes that I followed for the cupcakes are found here and the icing here. I tweaked the cupcake recipe slightly to get a stronger taste. The white chocolate ganache recipe is from the Cake Bible.
Earl Grey Cupcakes
Ingredients: 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, 2 cups white sugar, 4 eggs, 3 cups self-rising flour, 1 cup milk, 3 teabags of Earl Grey
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare cupcake tins with liners. The recipe will make at least 24 cupcakes but, as you will see, I could have made more if I had reduced how much batter was put into each cup. If I make these cupcakes again, I’ll definitely aim for +30 cupcakes.
Prep 1 cup of milk by heating slightly (microwave ~1min.) and steeping with one teabag of Earl Grey tea. You want the milk to have time to cool so that it doesn’t cook the eggs when added to the batter.
In a bowl, begin beating 1 cup of butter. When the butter is creamy, add 2 cups white sugar and mix until fully creamed (~5min). Slowly beat in 4 eggs, one at a time allowing each egg to be fully incorporated into the batter. Once the batter is smooth, add 1.5 cups of self-rising flour and two tablespoons of dry Earl Grey tea–I cut open two teabags to use. Mix well. Alternating in parts, add milk and an additional 1.5 cups of self-rising flour into the batter. Mix until just combined.
Fill cupcake tins 1/2 to 2/3 full. I overfilled my tins and got cupcakes that looked more like muffins because they ballooned over the edges of each cup.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating tins halfway through the baking. Check with toothpicks to make sure that they are completely baked. Cool on a wire rack before icing. If, like me, your cupcakes rise too much, you can prevent them from tearing when removing them from the tin by first running a butter knife under their top edges.
When cooled, use a cupcake-corer, apple corer, or knife to cut a hole in the center of the cupcakes for the ganache (I also cut the large tops off of my cupcakes to make them more aesthetically appealing).
White Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients: 3 ounces white chocolate, 1 cup heavy cream
Using a double boiler, begin melting 3oz white chocolate chips (or crumbled bar) with 1/4 cup heavy cream. Stir constantly. As the chocolate starts to melt, remove from heat and continue stirring until the mixture is liquid. Set aside until completely cool.
In a chilled bowl, beat 3/4 cup of cream until the mixer starts to leave marks. Add chocolate mixture and beat to a stiff peak. Refrigerate until ready for use.
To fill cupcakes, I put the ganache into a sandwich bag and cut off one corner. I squeezed the ganache into the cupcakes as if I were using a pastry bag.
Ingredients: 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, 5-6 cups confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
Prep milk at least an hour ahead of time to allow it to fully cool. If it’s warm, it’ll melt your butter and ruin the icing.
Heat 1/2 cup of milk for 2 minutes in the microwave. Allow 1 tablespoon of lavender to steep in milk until the milk is well infused with flavor–at least 30 minutes but the longer the stronger the flavor. You can use a coffee filter and twist-tie to make a makeshift lavender tea bag or use a tea ball. My mother is the queen of teas, so she has create-your-own bags that I used (I also used lavender from her garden).
Beat 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter until creamy. Slowly mix in 3 cups of sifted confectioners sugar until well creamed. Little by little, add lavender infused milk (fully cooled!) and an additional 2-3 cups of sifted confectioners sugar until desired stiffness is reached. I added 2-3 drops of red and blue food coloring to create a soft lavender color to the icing.
Get creative and ice those yummy cupcakes! I topped mine with sugared violets that my mother and I had picked and prepared earlier in the week (paint with pasteurized egg whites and sprinkle with sugar; allow to dry).