London Fog Cupcakes

I grew up in a family full of food-enthusiasts.  Every holiday was punctuated with exciting savoury meals and special baked treats, all made from scratch and using home-grown ingredients when possible.  Needless to say, I grew up to be a devotee of foodie culture.

Baking was always my favourite contribution to events; I would take great pride in making the desserts for birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  I still love to bake, although I find there are fewer opportunities as I get older and I don’t need sweets in my every day life.  The speed with which I can consume a plate of cookies or batch of cupcakes is mildly horrifying, so I find it best to save my baking efforts for special occasions.

My partner’s birthday is always an excellent occasion to flex my baking muscles and try out a new and opulent recipe: in previous years, I have made a mimosa cake, a pecan pie cheesecake, and a chocolate blood orange cheesecake among others.  This year has been quite busy, so I opted for something simple, fun, and different: London Fog Cupcakes.

The cupcakes were based off these phenomenal Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes by the ever-reliable Sally’s Baking Addiction.  They were well received, and quite delicious.  The cake was fluffy and light, and firm enough so as not to fall apart when eaten.  They had a strong vanilla presence with a subtle Earl Grey flavour.  I think the Earl Grey may have been a bit on the light side, so next time I might also add an Earl Grey glaze before icing.  Overall, these cupcakes were a success, and I plan to add them to my repertoire.

London Fog Cupcakes

Ingredients

Earl Grey Milk

  • 1 tea bag decaffeinated earl grey tea
  • 2 cups whole milk

Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 of a vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Earl Grey milk, at room temperature

Buttercream icing

  • 1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 – 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup Earl Grey milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Earl Grey Milk

  1. Put the milk in a small saucepan with the tea bag.  Heat the milk on medium high until it just starts to simmer.  I usually tie the teabag to a spoon handle balanced across the pot for easy removal.
  2. Remove from heat and let the tea bag steep for 10 minutes in the milk.  When the tea is done steeping, remove the tea bag and set the milk aside to cool to room temperature before adding to the rest of your recipe.

Cupcakes

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350C.  Grease or line with cupcake liners enough cupcake trays to produce 12 – 14 cupcakes.
  2. Prepare the dry ingredients: sift together the all purpose flour and the cornstarch.  Whisk in the baking soda and baking powder.  Set aside.
  3. In a new bowl, cream the butter.  You can use an electric mixer but I prefer to use a wooden spoon.  I find the wooden spoon gives me more control to manipulate the butter and makes the entire process way faster.
  4. Add the sugar and cream until well mixed.
  5. Add the egg whites, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds.  Beat until combined, then add the sour cream and continue to mix until well combined.
    • To remove the vanilla bean seeds from the vanilla bean, gently cut the vanilla bean lengthwise, being careful to only cut through one side of the bean.  Open the bean up like a candy wrapper and using a sharp knife scrape the seeds out.
  6. Whisk in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined, being conscience not to over-mix.
  7. Slowly add 1/2 cup of Earl Grey milk while whisking slowly until there are no lumps.  The batter will be slightly thick.
  8. Spoon the batter into the cupcake pans, only filling each cup 2/3 – 3/4 full.  Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  I often start with baking for 15 minutes and start testing from there.
  9. Set the cupcakes aside and wait until completely cool before icing.

Buttercream Icing

  1. Cream butter.  Add 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar and cream until well combined.
  2. Add vanilla and 1/4 cup Earl Grey milk and mix until smooth.
  3. Add more icing sugar, 1/2 cup at at time until you have achieved your desired consistency.  If too thick, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.  I also added a small dash of cornflower blue food colouring.
  4. Ice the cupcakes using the buttercream icing and a Wilton 1M tip.

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