Tea cakes, tea cakes, pretty little tea cakes.
Blue. Baby blue. I like blue at tea time.
Have you had Earl Grey tea? I could leave the tea, but I tell you I'm crazy about that bergamot orange.
Have you heard of a bergamot orange? They're pretty, yellow little things. Less sour than lemons but more bitter than grapefruits. I guess you don't really eat them plain, but they make a lovely jam.
Or tea cake.
These cakes require a doily. Do you have a doily?
No? No tea cakes then.
Them's the rules.
Earl Grey Tea Cakes with Lemon Icing (adapted from Foodie with Family)
1 cup whole milk
3 Earl Grey tea bags or 5 tablespoons loose leaf tea
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream or chilled infused Earl Grey whole milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Scald the milk (heat until it is steaming and many tiny bubbles have formed in the milk around the edge of the pan). Add the tea bags, remove the pan from the heat and put the lid in place. Let the milk cool to room temperature.
When the milk is cool, squeeze the excess liquid from the tea bags or strain out the loose leaf tea and discard. Measure 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the cooled infused milk and reserve the rest.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a mixing bowl with an electric hand-held mixer) beat together the butter and sugar until lighter in color and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter/egg/sugar. Beat on low just until combined. Add about 1/3 of the infused milk that you measured. Again, beat just until combined, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and repeat -flour, milk, flour, milk- until both flour and milk are completely incorporated.
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full of cupcake batter.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until they spring back when pressed lightly or a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
To Make the Lemon Icing:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer) beat the butter on high until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add in the powdered sugar until incorporated. Then, with the mixer on high, whisk in the cream or infused milk and the lemon extract until the icing is light and fluffy. Use an offset spatula to smear the buttercream on the cupcakes or load it into a pastry bag with a big tip to pipe on the frosting.