Domestic Goddess Adventures: Earl Grey Cupcakes + Honey-Lemon Buttercream

Pardon the grainy picture but I’m so proud of my first attempt at being a domestic goddess — baking earl grey cupcakes + honey-lemon buttercream. (Also Jane reminded me that I never had home economics classes — those were replaced with art lessons — hence my general ineptitude around the kitchen!)

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The last time I properly baked was when I was 9. Whenever we went to my grandmother’s place in Kuala Lumpur, I would rally my older cousin to help me make all kinds of cookies, package them into pretty wrappings and ribbons, and sell them to my relatives. (Then I’d get my sister to pick up all the cookies they left behind… THEN RESELL THEM mwahaha. My mom’s scolding was my first lesson in business ethics.)

Anyway, I am not sure what has gotten into me this year. The whole of last semester I resisted cooking, moaning and whining every time Alan told me to do so. Suddenly I find myself in the kitchen pretty often — so far, my dishes are still limited to variations of pasta: mainly aglio olio, pesto and carbonara (made from scratch!!!). Then last week I found myself overcome by a desire to bake… And promptly ordered a whole bunch of baking must-haves (cupcake tin, liners, frosting pipers).

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An Amazon box is a cheap and ugly substitute for a cooling rack!

People normally start with traditional cookies or cupcakes, right? Not me! I decided to be damn gei kiang and go for something suitably complicated. Okay, it wasn’t that hard in the end. But as I was prepping, I was wondering if I should halve the recipe.

Me: Should I make 48 mini-cupcakes? Or 24?
Darren: 24 la, what if you screw up?
Me: Well, it’s going to be pretty hard to mess up cupcakes. Baking is a science.
Darren: Ya, but you’re an arts student.

Super burn! Anyway as it turns out my cupcakes did turn out fine and Darren said “you should have baked 48” … SO SUCK ON THAT! Anyway I don’t think this is going to turn into a cooking/baking blog anytime soon (although I do need to put my new $42 mixer to good use) but I wanted to include the recipe to immortalize my first attempt at baking in years.

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Honey-Lemon Buttercream
Instructions are for 48 mini-cupcakes (12 full-sizers)
I took freaking 3 hours to make this but I’m a noob — pros could do it in 45 mins I guess

Earl Grey cupcake recipe from Chelsea Bakes

  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced fat milk
  • 4 Earl Grey teabags (I used Twining’s; I would probably up it to 5 to make the taste stronger)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (may be omitted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove and pour into a glass measuring cup and add the tea bags. Cover with a cloth and allow to steep for 30 minutes, then discard the tea bags and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Line mini muffin pans with cupcake liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the two flours together and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Add the almond extract and one egg; beat for about a minute, then add the second egg and beat for another minute.
  4. Add one-third of the flour mixture and beat until combined, then add half of the milk mixture. Add the second third of the flour and beat, then the rest of the milk and beat, and finally the rest of the flour. Do not overbeat the batter.
  5. Use a small cookie scoop (about 1 tablespoon) to fill the liners no more than 2/3 full. (I used a normal spoon; also lightly butter your cupcake liners before you scoop them in, it makes it way easier to remove and eat later.) Bake for about 14 minutes until slightly raised and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

N.B. If you’re a noob like me, WAIT for the cupcakes to cool completely. I didn’t for the first three and was wondering why my frosting was turning into goo.

Honey-Lemon Buttercream Recipe
(I tweaked the original a lot: heavily reduced the sugar and up-ed the honey AND lemon — also we don’t like that much frosting)

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 Tbsp honey
  • 3-4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Directions:

  1. Beat the softened butter and honey together in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add the lemon zest, vanilla and salt and beat to combine.
  2. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all the sugar is mixed in, beat on high for 30 seconds to make sure the frosting is very creamy.
  3. Fill a piping bag with your favorite tip and decorate however you please!

AND DONE! Verdict: My cupcakes turned out slightly biscuity on the surface and soft below (I would probably add more butter if you want them moist-er). In any case my roomies finished all the cupcakes so Achievement Unlocked.

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Naked cupcake!

I’m going to try making Chocolate Bacon Beer Cupcakes (go big or go home right?) and Pineapple Tarts next. Let me know if you ever try making this 🙂

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