Is it possible to have too much Earl Grey? My friend Aubrey and I did not think so. These incredibly rich chocolate cupcakes (or tea cakes, what’s the difference?) were infused with three bags of loose Earl Grey Tazo tea leaves and then topped with even more aromatic icing that smelled and tasted as smooth as a real cup of tea. The icing by itself is just amazing, it’s like eating a puffy, sticky cloud of bergamot almost-meringuey goodness.
It’s the second time I’ve ever made cake batter from scratch before, the first being a disastrously flat almond cake that I whipped like a dead horse years ago, and my first time using melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder (what a difference!).
In order to get the tea into the cake, we ‘brewed’ the Earl Grey into unsalted butter before incorporating it into the chocolate. We did this as per Cupcake Project’s instructions for baking with tea and infused butter. We thought we could get away without having to strain the butter by keeping the loose teas in their bags, but after a couple of minutes of waiting by the stove and stirring it without anything happening, we finally decided to just release them. Immediate effect! The butter went from golden to a more darker honey colouring and it smelled strongly of tea. It was pretty tempting to drink. Instead of waiting for it to cool down to room temperature, we mixed it in with the chocolate. Mmmmm. It tasted amazing.
Unfortunately, it seems as if we either didn’t use enough tea leaves (or they weren’t strong enough) or, most likely, the Earl Grey got overpowered by the chocolate. When you bite through the cake, without the icing, there’s just subtle and delicate hint of the Earl Grey. I suspect if we didn’t know they were infused with tea, we would have thought it was just some really fantastic chocolate. Now imagine Orange Pekoe tea……..