Earl Grey Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey-Lemon Buttercream
I miss my little yellow teapot. Though, it was never really mine. It belonged to the little townhouse I rented in Ireland. Every morning I would wake up, often before my roommates, and I would patter downstairs to the kitchen, crank up the heat, make myself a bowl of porridge oats, and brew a steamy pot of Earl Grey tea in that little yellow teapot. That tea was a necessity for many reasons. First of all, we had no coffee maker and, call me a snob, I refused to touch the Nescafe instant coffee jar in the cupboard. More importantly, that pot of Earl Grey did wonders against the dreary gray drizzle that is as common in Ireland as it is here in Seattle. The steam would work its way down my chest and into every limb, warming every inch of me in defense against the cold.
Needless to say, I have a soft spot for Earl Grey and all his bergamot loveliness.
I recently came across “We Should Cocoa”, a fairly new food blogging challenge that pairs chocolate with a special ingredient every month and asks you to come up with a recipe using the two (click the logo to check it out!). When I found it, the February challenge had just been revealed and to my delight the secret ingredient this month is “tea”. There was no doubt in my mind which tea I would be using.
If you’ve never tasted the exceptional pairing of citrusy Earl Grey and sensual chocolate, your are in for a real treat. The two flavors reveal each others’ subtle undertones to expose a perfect harmony of flavors. These cupcakes are dark and rich, yet slightly floral and bright on your tongue. I’d be happy to eat them plain, but some prefer their tea with honey, or honey buttercream in this case, with just a touch of lemon to play off the citrus notes of bergamot.
This month’s challenge was hosted by Choclette of the Chocolate Log Blog. Check out her site at the end of the month to see a round-up of all the recipes my fellow food bloggers came up with!
© Copyright 2011 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart
Yield: 1 dozen
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 5 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 7 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 Tbsp Earl Grey Tea Leaves, finely ground
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper cups.
- In a small saucepan, combine the butter, oil, cocoa powder and water. Using a coffee/spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, finely grind the tea leaves into a powder. Sift into the saucepan to remove any larger pieces. Heat over medium heat, while whisking, until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl (or a stand mixer). Add the buttermilk and egg and stir gently to incorporate. Pour in the chocolate mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees about halfway through. Let cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before removing. Cool completely before frosting.
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 6 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 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.
- 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.
- Fill a piping bag with your favorite tip and decorate however you please! You can also garnish with some Conversation Hearts or other cute candies for a Valentine’s Day treat! Enjoy!