These Earl Grey Cupcakes are infused with the fragrant earl grey tea leaves and then have the surprise filling of sweet blackberry curd. They’re then topped with swirls of cream cheese frosting and the combination results in a flavour bomb perfection in your mouth. It’s hard to stop at one.
I think it’s official- these cupcakes might just be my favourite flavour combination to date. I am obsessed with anything with earl grey tea in it. I love love love the subtle, fragrant citrus hit that infuses into the cupcake. It’s such a particular aroma and taste recognisable anywhere!
Inside the cupcake you get the surprise addition of blackberry curd ... a sweet curd with a slight tang, it makes a beautiful flavour combination with the earl grey. The cupcake sponge and blackberry curd aren’t overly sweet so I didn’t want to use a standard vanilla buttercream as I find it lends itself to being a bit too sweet sometimes. Cream cheese frosting on the other hand adds all the creaminess without the overly sweetness - it’s perfect! Totally more-ish. The best addition to this style of cupcake.
How do you infuse the tea to make Earl Grey Cupcakes?
Earl Grey can be quite subtle in flavour so in this recipe I wanted to get maximum flavour by adding the fragrant bergamot infused leaves twice into the cupcakes.
The first way is by infusing the leaves into the milk that’s going to be added to the cupcakes. You do this by adding some tea bags to the milk you’re going to use in the batter. Gently heat the milk until its warm and allow the teabags to brew slowly. By then letting the milk cool with the tea bags in it, the infusion process continues. Once cool, remove the tea bags and you’re left with an earl grey flavour bomb in your milk!
The second way is literally to add the contents of two tea bags into the cupcake batter. You’ll see the black specks of the tea leaves throughout the cupcakes so there’ll be no doubt that you added Earl Grey to your cupcakes. You can smell it, see it and taste it!
Is Blackberry Curd easy to make?
If you follow my step-by-step method you’ll realise just how easy it is to make this divine curd. I’m a true curd fan. I believe it can be the best addition to so many types of desserts, tats, cakes, donuts, pancakes ... the list goes on.
And on top of that there are so many fruit variations that you can try. Lemon, raspberry, passionfruit, orange being just a few.
So how do we make it?
- Let's make the blackberry juice first. Use frozen blackberries (cheaper win win) and add two cups to a medium saucepan over medium heat along with lemon zest and water. Let the blackberries de-frost slowly and then bring the mixture to a simmer and allow the blackberries to soften.
- Using the back of a spoon ‘mush’ the blackberries into the saucepan. This breaks and bursts all the little bubbles around the blackberries and allows for all the juice is released.
- Over a bowl sieve the contents of the pan so that you’re left with a beautiful purple juice and you can discard the pulp.
- Now for the curd. In a clean saucepan over low heat, add the sugar, butter, corn starch and lemon juice and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is combined
- Add the beaten eggs in a slow but steady stream whilst whisking continuously until fully combined. Then add the blackberry juice and bring the heat up to low-medium. Stir continuously as the mixture slowly heats and then thickens but make sure you scrape down the sides of the saucepan and the bottom. This ensures and even heat throughout the curd so that no areas stick to the pan.
- Once the curd coats the back of a spoon then remove from the heat and pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.
And there you have it, a bowl of sweet with a slight tangy, delicious blackberry curd. The recipe makes more than you need but if you are going to the effort of making it then there may swell be left overs!!
Earl Grey Cupcake with Blackberry Curd and Cream Cheese Frosting
Earl Grey cupcakes
- 5 earl grey tea bags
- 240 ml whole milk
- 110 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 220 g sugar
- 1 large egg, whisked
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 225 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 250 g frozen blackberries
- 120 ml water
- 1 lemon, zest
- 30 ml lemon, juice
- 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, whisked together
- 120 g caster sugar (superfine)
- 30 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon cornflour (corn starch)
Cream cheese frosting
- 55 g unsalted butter, room temperature¼ cup
- 225 g cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 480 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar), sifted
- Mint leaves, to decorate, optional
- Blackberries, to decorate, optional
Earl Grey cupcakes
- Place the 3 tea bags and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and gently bring to a simmer. Place lid on the saucepan, remove the pan from heat and set aside for the tea to ‘brew’ until the milk is cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Prepare the cupcake pan by placing the cupcake paper cases into the pan moulds.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; this takes about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat for a further two minutes. Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt and the Earl Grey tea leaves of the remaining Earl Grey teabags. Pour ¾ cup of milk into the mixture and stir until combined.
- Pour mixture into cupcake cases until ⅔ full. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack.
- Combine blackberries and lemon zest into a small saucepan with 100ml of water. Over low heat, bring to a simmer and cook until the blackberries are soft and broken up with a wooden spoon.
- Place a sieve over a medium-sized bowl, remove the pan from the heat and push the blackberries through the sieve with a spoon. Discard the pips/pulp and set aside the strained blackberry juice.
- Add sugar, butter, cornflour and lemon juice into a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the butter has melted and combined.
- Add the eggs, whisk continuously but gently, then add the blackberry juice. On a medium to low heat, slowly bring the temperature of the mixture up until it starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. This takes 5-10 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the pan so that the mixture heats up evenly.
- Pour into a medium bowl and cover by placing cling film directly onto the curd so that a ‘skin’ doesn’t form. Set aside to chill.
Cream Cheese frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese for 3 minutes until well combined. Add vanilla extract and salt and beat till mixed in. With your mixer on low, gradually add your icing sugar into the bowl until fully combined.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, with a teaspoon, scoop out a hole in the cupcake centre. Spoon blackberry curd into the hole until level with the top of the cupcake. (You can save the scooped out sponge to nibble on now or later!).
- Using a piping bag, or smoothing with an offset spatula, decorate each cupcake with the cream cheese frosting.
- Optional: Top the cupcakes with an individual blackberry, mint leaf and a dollop of curd. Pour yourself a cup of tea and take a huge bite of that cupcake and enjoy!!
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.