Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes

earl grey tea cupcakes

I am not a big fan of tea. I am more a coffee person. However, I do like the fact that tea has a calming effect. Once in a while, I like to have a cup of warm tea, maybe in a winter afternoon.

Recently, my clients have started to throw me orders with a special request for Earl Grey tea. Earl Grey macarons, Earl Grey cupcakes……And I have all the privileges to try out new recipes.

earl grey tea cupcakesearl grey tea cupcakes

I knew it would take a lot of strong tea to bring out the Bergamot flavour. Therefore I infused a little amount of milk with four tea bags. Yes. One…two…three…four! Trust me, there is no such thing as too much flavour. Four tea bags will give you a decent amount of Earl Grey essence in the cupcake. The flavour is subtle yet satisfying.

I didn’t choose the traditional cream cheese frosting. Instead I make my buttercream frosting with an addition of a few spoonfuls of Earl Grey tea. And the tea in the icing gives an extra little zing and helps boost the flavour. Perfect cupcakes for a relaxed afternoon tea.

Ingredients (12 regular sized cupcakes):
Earl Grey Tea Infused Cake
2/3 cup whole milk
4 Earl Grey tea bags
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
Earl Grey Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

To prepare cupcake, heat milk in microwave until just start boiling. Place tea bags in milk and let it steep for 30 minutes, and the mixture is at room temperature. Discard the tea bags. Reserve 3 tablespoons for buttercream frosting.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin liners.
In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well and set aside.
Add sour cream and vanilla into the milk and tea mixture. Mix well and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix canola oil and sugar on medium-high speed until well combined. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add eggs until just blended.
With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the liquid mixture, mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.
To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn your mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla, heavy cream and the reserved Earl Grey tea, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.
Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream and serve.


  1. Hi Fanny! I tried this recipe and it was great!! Now i want to make MORE for a friend’s birthday. Can i directly multiply this recipe twice?? Please help! i want everything to be perfect :))

  2. Hi I just made these cupcakes and buttercream frosting is it ok for me to put the cupcakes frosted in the fridge will they be ok for tomorrow I need to deliver them

  3. Hi there – I was wondering if this recipe works as a full cake recipe as well (instead of cupcakes)? Obviously the baking time would be a little different.

    1. Yes Alison! You could probably bake the cake in an 8-inch cake pan for 20 to 25 minutes. Slice the cake in half horizontally and make a layered cake. :)

  4. The cake mix was too dense. My buttercream was not coming out right. Can I just use boxed white cake and add the tea and do the same for the buttercream by buying white fluffy frosting and adding the tea?

  5. This is my go-to recipe for cupcakes, it’s LOVELY! I love the buttercream, always just smooth and not too sweet. And the infused earl grey is amazing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these. I’ve tried many cupcake recipes, this is my fav. I even replaced the Earl Grey once with vanilla to make vanilla bean cupcakes. Going to make some tommorrow for my birthday! Yippie.

  6. Hi, I was thinking of substituting some of the sugar from the buttercream with condensed milk to give it milk tea taste. Is that ok?

  7. Hi :) Do you think I could use one of these instant boxed frostings and just add the tea flavoured milk in it? Everytime I made buttercream, I failed miserably and I don’t want to risk it again.

    1. Hi Hailey, I’ve never tried instant boxed frosting. Not sure if it would work with adding liquid. :(

        1. Confirm: It works. I used Dr. Oetker’s instant vanilla frosting, instead of using plain milk, I used the tea infused one. And it’s heaven! Those little guys are perfect.

  8. Hi, i’m going to try your recipe..
    can it used for a layer cake instead of cupcake?
    thanks :)

    1. Yes, Sylvia, this recipe makes a pretty moist cake base too. Should be good enough for two layers of 8-inch cake. :)

  9. I made these last night, I used 1/2 cup of butter instead of canola oil and to increase the earl grey flavor I ground up about 2 teaspoons of the tea leaves and mixed it in with the dry ingredients. The flavor was perfect and the cupcakes were moist!

    1. Hi Chelsea, I am glad that you enjoyed the recipe! Adding more earl grey flavor sounds wonderful! :)

  10. Hi Wendy, I made these cupcakes twice. They were dry the first time like yours. The second time they were moist and very tasty. And I realized I overmixed a little my first start. Maybe that’s the trick?! :)

  11. I made these and they were dry and I even baked them less time than the recipe called for and not enough earl grey taste, would definitely use more tea bags if I make them again.

  12. Hi, I was wondering if I can use vegetable oil instead of canola? Will it make much of a difference if I did? I’ve never made cupcakes from scratch so I’m a little concerned. I want to make these for Father’s Day because my dad drinks a lot of Earl Grey tea and I thought these would be perfect.

    1. Hi Bren, yes, you can use vegetable oil instead. It won’t make any difference at all. Hope you will enjoy the recipe, and your father will like the cupcakes. :)

  13. I’m planning to make these but with rose and jasmine. I’m using loose leaf so would anyone know how much I should use in place of tea bags?

    1. Hi Jane, it’s two to three teaspoons of loose leaf inside each tea bag. For mild flavour tea, like rose and jasmine, I would go for three teaspoons. Hope it helps. :)

  14. Love this recipe! I’ve made it three times so far and I think that whIle the cakes are perfect if you follow exactly what’s written here, I’ve found that there is lots of excess frosting. What I do instead is half the butter and sugar amount and double the Earl gray infused milk amount to really get the tea flavor infused in the frosting

  15. I just tried this recipe and all I could taste was VANILLA! is the Tablespoon of Vanilla extract a mistake?! I thought it seemed excessive…

    otherwise, it was moist and delicious!

    1. Hi Jenn, did you infuse the tea long enough? I’ve made these for so many times with the same amount of vanilla, and the earl grey tea flavour is always there. You could cut down the vanilla to 1/2 tablespoon or even one teaspoon if you want. :)

  16. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it sounds delicious! I was wondering if I could use half & half instead of heavy cream for the frosting, Would it still work?

    1. Hi Samantha, yes, you could use half and half or even milk. The whole point is to make the frosting a little more fluffier. Hope you will enjoy the recipe and happy holidays! :)

  17. Hi Prav, me and my sister made these cupcake last weekend, and we had great success. I was wondering if you mixed your batter for too long. When I started baking, I came across the same rubbery and tough results for my muffins and cupcakes, and now I realized overmixed batter is always a big no-no!

  18. Hey all..Would just like to get some feedback..I see that you all have stated that your cupcakes turned out perfect..Mine was really dense (and rubbery if you know what I mean)..Any idea on why it turned out as such? Would appreciate your comments. Thank you (:

  19. Hi Fanny, can I subsitute cake flour with plain flour? Or is there any other subsitution?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Evelyn, yes you could! If you want, you could also substitute a little all purpose flour with corn starch. Measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and place it back in your flour canister. Replace the removed all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift it a few times before using. :)

  20. hello fanny, greetings from jakarta indonesia.. =) i tried your recipe yesterday.. love it.. i did made some minor changes tho.. i changed the sugar to dark brown sugar as i think brown is healthier than white but just that the color of the cupcakes turned to be very brown.. well..i think white is so much prettier though.. =) i also torn one teabag and poured the tea leaves into the flour.. it turned out pretty good as you can feel the slight crunchy tea leaves as you bite the cupcakes.. and love all your photos too.. they are artistically beautiful.. thank you so much fanny… will be trying your other recipes too.. =)

    1. Hi Felicity, I am so happy that you liked the recipe. And the tea leaves addition sounds great!
      Thank you so much for your kind words. Let me know how it goes with other recipes! Cheers!

  21. Hi Fanny !

    Needless to say, I enjoyed your recipe immensely ! This recipe is perfect for baking cupcakes to bring to a family gathering or even a potluck (: I was just wondering how you made the decorations for the cupcakes to look like roses. Do you use some special piping tip or did you just use the star-tip nozzle? I would really like to know… they’re beautiful (:

    1. Hi Victoria, thank you! I am so happy that you enjoyed the recipe. I use a closed star tip to pipe a small amount of buttercream into the centre. Starting from the middle and slowly work your way around going anti-clockwise until you reach the outer edge of your cupcake. The key is to apply even pressure to ensure an even swirl all the way around. :)

    1. Hi Rachel, it might not be as moist. As long as you beat the butter long enough until it becomes fluffy, it should be fine.

  22. This is a much overdue thank you! Your recipe is amazing, the cake comes out moist, airy and light. I’ve made this over and over for the past year or so and it was always perfect. I’ve tried different types of tea and they all work great. My favourite, besides Earl Grey, are Lavender, Moroccan Grean/Mint tea, and rose water infused tea.

    1. Hi Faisal, I am so happy that you like the recipe and enjoy the cupcakes like we do. And the other tea flavours you suggested sound wonderfully delicious!

  23. I’ve made this recipe so many times and it works great with lots of different types of tea! I’ve used chai and english breakfast and I’ve taken out some of the flour and added some oatmeal and they were delicious! This is my go to recipe for cupcakes for sure!

    1. So happy to hear that, Ashley. Hey, have you tried it with dried lavender? I infused the milk with dried lavender and put it in the batter for a cupcake recipe, and it worked wonderfully!

  24. Yay, Roslyn, I am so happy to hear that!
    When baking with coffee, I like to use espresso powder, and mix it with a very little amount of water to make it super strong. That way, the coffee flavor will be more prominent. Hope it helps.

  25. I just baked these and they were such a hit! I used a swiss meringue buttercream instead and it was heavenly. Would you know if this would work just as well with coffee instead of Earl Grey? =)

  26. Just made these and they came out PERFECT! Four teabags gave just the right balance of flavor ( I used double bergamot Stash tea). I also substituted greek yogurt for sour cream because that’s what I had in my fridge and it came out really well. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  27. This Earl Grey flavoring has been everywhere! I cannot wait to try these cupcakes – they seem to have much more flavor than other recipes I’ve seen. Thanks so much!

    1. You are very welcome, Manda. Let me know how you like them. :) And remember FOUR tea bags! LOL!

  28. I am a HUGE fan of Earl Grey tea. I would love to have these for an relaxing afternoon tea. :)

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