One of our favorite teas is Earl Grey. So, it was guaranteed to have a major role in a dish for the tea party. We actually started this recipe backwards. We started off making a delicious Meyer Lemon & Rosemary Marmalade, and then had to figure out a way to work it into the menu (our recipe was adapted from this bergamot marmalade recipe from David Lebovitz). The result ended up being a sweet, smooth and slightly savory desert.

Geek Alert

For those of you who are unaware, Earl Grey is a black tea that is infused with the oils of bergamot oranges which are a sweet citrus fruit. The tea blend was named after after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830s and author of the Reform Bill of 1832, who reputedly received a gift, probably a diplomatic perquisite, of tea flavoured with bergamot oil. For more information on the tea check out the wikipedia page.

If you were enticed by the wikipedia page above, you will notice that there is a note on how to bake with Earl Grey in the article; put loose leaves in melted butter or hot cream and strain leaves once flavor is infused. We decided to make this according to somewhat regular cake proportions but changed it by steeping the tea in the milk and allow it to cool before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. We also thought that honey would be a nice flavor addition, and added a little in place of some of the sugar.

Technical Tip

When you infuse the milk for this recipe, you will want to add a little more milk than the recipe calls for. This will account for some of what you will likely lose in the heating and steeping process. Do not allow the milk to boil, just bring it to the point just before boiling, remove from the heat and then add the tea leaves. After steeping. strain the milk into a liquid measuring cup. This helps you verify the amount of flavored milk you have before adding it to the cake. If you find you are a little short add some un-steeped milk to get the proper measurement.

Once the cupcakes cooled, we plunged the center and filled them with the marmalade. They were then topped off with a honey and vanilla flavored version of our european buttercream, and decorated with little chocolate flowers that we made with a chocolate mold or pretty pink nonpareils.


Earl Grey & Honey Cupcakes
Recipe type: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yields: 24
  • 1 cup* whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons ear grey tea
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare cupcake pans with liners.
  2. In a medium saucepan place milk, honey, and earl grey tea over medium-low heat and warm until just before milk starts to boil. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then strain out tea leaves and allow milk to cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth.
  5. Add vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined.
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture and the cooled milk to the butter mixture until just combined.
  7. Fill cupcake liners ½ way and bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
*Add a little more milk for the steeping process to make sure you have 1 cup milk to add to the batter, as you will lose some in the tea leaves and through evaporation.