Light and delicious, these Earl Grey cupcakes topped with fresh lavender buttercream give a unique spin to a classic recipe!
Okay, first of all, let's pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that this is the first cupcake recipe I've posted here on The Baker's Almanac. Say what?
Whenever people ask me what my favorite food is, I usually say cake.
I'm that person that could easily eat several slices of her own birthday cake without batting an eye, while simultaneously looking forward to even more leftover cake the next day. All that being said, how in the world is this the first cake recipe on TBA?
Well, if this is going to be the first, I am glad we are going in strong. Because guys: these Earl Grey Lavender Cupcakes are so. freaking. good.
Earl Grey is by far my favorite kind of tea, and I knew I wanted to try and incorporate the flavor into a cupcake. Top that cupcake with fresh lavender buttercream, and you've got a winner!
What is Culinary Lavender?
Before making this recipe, I had never baked with culinary lavender before, and I'm guessing a lot of you have not either. The most common variety of lavender that is used for cooking is Lavandula angustifolia because of its sweet fragrance.
To prepare lavender for cooking, lavender farms or manufacturers will dry the lavender out by snipping the stems off after the flowers open and hanging them to dry. And when it comes to baking with lavender, you do want to make sure you buy the kind that is specifically labeled 'culinary lavender.'
I bought my culinary lavender from Lavender by the Bay at the Union Square Greenmarket. I would recommend checking out your local farmers' market to find fresh lavender, or you can pick some up online.
Tips for Making These Cupcakes
Here are a few tips to get perfect cupcakes every time:
- After adding in each ingredient, make sure to scrape the bowl very well. This is especially important to do after adding in the eggs and dry ingredients. In order to get an even cupcake that rises well, you want to make sure all the ingredients are homogenous.
- Once you add in the dry ingredients, don't overmix. When it comes to cupcakes, you always want to mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Overmixing can cause the cupcakes to taste tough, which nobody wants.
- Use a toothpick to test if the cupcakes are done. To test if the cupcakes are done, insert a toothpick or cake tester directly into the center of one of the cupcakes. If it comes out clean with just a few crumbs, it's done baking. If it comes out liquidy, continue to bake the cupcakes and check every two minutes or so. To learn more about testing if cupcakes are done, check out this article.
Common Questions About These Cupcakes
Yes, definitely! Once baked, you can store these cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. I would recommend frosting them right before serving to have the best flavor. Alternatively, you can also freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2 months—just thaw them completely before serving.
After removing these cupcakes from the oven, I recommend cooling them in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Then, transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely at room temperature.
I decorated these cupcakes using a piping bag fitted with a star tip. However, you can decorate them however you'd like! If you don't have a piping bag at home, you can always cut a hole in a Ziploc bag and use that instead.
Love this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the comments below! And don't forget to subscribe to The Baker's Almanac for even more baking recipes and tips.Print
Earl Grey Lavender Cupcakes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 24 cupcakes 1x
Light and delicious, these Earl Grey cupcakes topped with fresh lavender buttercream give a unique spin to a classic recipe!
Earl Grey Cupcakes:
- 1 ¼ cups (283g) whole milk
- 2 Earl Grey tea bags
- ¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cups (248g) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs (100g)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups (300g) all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 Earl Grey tea bags, opened to use the leaves
- 1 ½ tablespoons culinary lavender
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups (454g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2-3 drops food coloring (I mixed blue and pink)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners and set it aside.
- Prepare the Earl Grey-infused milk: In a medium saucepan, combine milk and Earl Grey tea bags and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes are up, strain the Earl Grey-infused milk into a separate container and set aside. Discard the tea bags.
- Make the Earl Grey cupcakes: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), cream together the unsalted butter and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 5-7 minutes. Once fluffy, add in the eggs one at a time, scraping well after each addition. Next, add in the vanilla extract and scrape well to incorporate. In a separate bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and Earl Grey tea leaves (for the tea leaves, simply cut open the tea bags and use the leaves inside, discarding the outer bag). Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the Earl Grey-infused milk into the creamed butter mixture in 3 additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix and periodically scraping the bowl to make sure the mixture is homogenous.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared liners until they are about ⅔ of the way full.
- Bake the cupcakes for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the lavender buttercream: In a food processor or spice grinder, pulse together the culinary lavender and the granulated sugar until it becomes a fine powder, then set it aside. If you still have larger pieces of lavender, sift the mixture before using. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), cream together the unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and salt until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the lavender-sugar mixture and mix until combined. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, scraping the mixture after each addition. Once the powdered sugar is all incorporated, add in the milk and mix until well combined. If desired, add in food coloring to create a purple color for the buttercream (I used a combination of blue and pink food coloring to get this shade).
- Once the cupcakes are cool, decorate them with the lavender buttercream as desired and enjoy!
- Stored tightly in an airtight container, these cupcakes will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days or up to two months in the freezer.
- Earl Grey: If you are using loose leaf Earl Grey tea in the cupcakes, I recommend grinding the tea to achieve a finer texture in the cupcakes.
- Freezing Instructions: If desired, you can make the cupcakes ahead of time and freeze them for up to two months. Just be sure to pack them tightly in a reusable container or bag!
- Food Coloring: The food coloring for the buttercream is totally optional—if you prefer not to use it, you can simply omit it from the recipe or use other natural flavors to modify the buttercream color.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: earl grey lavender cupcakes, earl grey, lavender
This recipe looks so good! I was wondering if was possible to switch from all purpose flour to cake flour, would that make it more soft and moist? Thank you!
Thanks, Ren! I haven't tried making this recipe using cake flour, so I can't guarantee how it would turn out.
This article talks a bit more about swapping cake flour for all-purpose flour, and it sounds like swapping cake flour 1:1 into a recipe that was developed for all-purpose flour might result in sunken cake. So I don't really recommend making this swap, but definitely keep that in mind if you give it a try. I hope that helps!
Greetings, what size eggs do you use for this recipe? Normally I use Large but my boyfriend sometimes stocks Jumbo so I like to make sure I'm using the correct eggs! I've always been wanting to bake with lavender but I haven't taken the plunge yet.
Hi, Faith! I usually use large eggs when baking, so I'd recommend using those. If you give the recipe a try, let me know what you think! 😊
Great cupcake recipe! I've used it twice so far Nd they turned out well each time - nice and fluffy with a hint of Earl Grey. You could probably add an extra tea bag to the milk if you want a stronger flavour. I can't speak for the buttercream recipe since I made a lavender swiss meringue buttercream that paired nicely.
I'm sure the recipe posted would be delicious since the cupcakes were delicious.
Thank you for the recipe, it's a keeper 😀
Thanks so much taking the time to leave a kind review, Erica! I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. 😊
I made this recipe last evening and the cupcakes turned out perfectly! I am gluten and dairy free, so I substituted all purpose gluten-free flour for the regular, coconut milk for the whole milk and plant-based butter for the regular. I followed the instructions and tips to a tee and the cupcakes were absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Leslie!
I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe, Lisa! So glad to hear the substitutions worked out for you. 😊
I made this lavender buttercream recently to pair with my own earl grey layer cake and the buttercream was fantastic! Pulsing the lavender and granulated sugar together before sifting into the buttercream is the perfect way to get the flavor without the grittiness of the lavender. Can't wait to make again in the spring and summer!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the buttercream recipe, Becca! Pulsing the sugar and lavender together is such a game changer. 🙌
These cupcakes were delicious, light and moist. Thanks for posting the recipe!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Sylvia! Thanks for rating it 😊
Can you please advise on eggfree version of same recipe
Hi there! I haven't tried making an egg-free version of this recipe, so I can't give you the exact measurements or ingredients. However, I'd love to hear how it turns out if you give it a try!
Thank you so much—these are fantastic! In fact, my son and his fiancee have asked me to bake them for their wedding in August! Literally, everyone who has tried one says it's amazing. 🤗
I'm so glad you enjoyed them, Laura! And how lovely that you're baking them for your son's wedding 🥰
What temperature and how much time would you bake them if you want to make mini cupcakes?
Good question, Faye! I haven't tried making mini cupcakes with this recipe before, but you could try baking them at 350°F for about 10 minutes. I'd definitely check on them around the 10-minute mark and then keep baking until they are done.
Hi, have you made these gluten free or have any suggestions for trying to make this recipe gluten free
I haven't tried making a gluten-free version of this recipe before, but I'd be curious to hear how it turns out!
I love this recipe!!! I made the earl grey cupcakes and loved them so much, I made another batch but replaced the earl grey with chai instead. turned out phenomenal and the flavours are strong just the way I like them.
I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Such a good idea to try using chai too. 😍
hi! im doing a cooking project in class and was wonder where to get the lavender, ive checked multiple stores and havnt been able to find any
I bought some lavender at a local farmer's market, but I think you could also buy it on Amazon!
Hi! Could I do this in a cake form? What would I change in terms of the measurements for a cake pan? Thanks!
You definitely could! I haven't tried doing this, but I know another reader said she made 2 8-inch cake layers with the recipe.
What if you don’t have a good processor to grind the sugar and lavender? What would you suggest as an alternative tool!? I really want to try these!
“Food processor” not “good processor “. Sorry if I caused confusion!
Hi, Aly! You could try using a spice grinder or even a mortar and pestle if you have one. Let me know how it works, and I hope you enjoy the recipe 😊
I love these cupcakes!!! I'm curious, about how much batter do you put in each cupcake? I only managed to get 20 standard-sized cupcakes out of the recipe and they vary in size a lot more than I would like.
I made a few modifications. I used London Fog from Harney & Sons rather than Earl Grey. I'm so glad I read the notes and pulsed it in our coffee grinder a few times to make the tea finer so nobody got a mouthful of dried tea leaves. I made Italian Meringue Buttercream and used lemon juice in the sugar syrup and it pairs so well with the lavender.
I can't wait for you to upload new recipes to try!!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! I usually like to fill my liners about 2/3 of the way full when making cupcakes. I like to use a cookie scoop when filling to make sure they're all the same size. Definitely let me know if there are any other recipes in particular you want to see from me! 😊
I made this the other night. I enjoyed it, but it came out rather " heavy". Like a muffin. I was hoping for something lighter as in a cupcake. What did I do wrong?
Hi there! This can sometimes happen if you overmix the batter -- you want to make sure to only mix until the flour has disappeared and the mixture is just combined. It could also happen if you overbake the cupcakes a bit.
I hope that helps!
I made these tonight, everyone raved about them! The earl grey and lavender complement each other so perfectly. Definitely bookmarking this one!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! 😊
Instead of culinary lavender, could you use food safe lavender oil to flavor the frosting?
I haven't tried that out, but I think it might work! Definitely let me know how it turns out 😊
Wow! I made these today and they are incredible. Highly recommend!
I'm so glad you enjoyed! 🙂
Could you use this recipe for a cake ? I want to
Make a 6in 4 layer cake. Do you think it would be enough batter. ?
I know somebody used the recipe to make a 2-layer 6 inch cake! You might want to double it to make a cake larger than that, however. Let me know how it turns out 🙂
I made a cake with 2 8 inch layers and it turned out beautifully with a little too much frosting which I froze and used in macarons later. Making it a second time today for a party.
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe so much, Sharon! And what a great idea to use the leftover frosting for macarons. 🙌🏻
Hello! If I'm taking the lavender from my garden should I dry it beforehand or leave it fresh?
I haven't tried using fresh lavender in this recipe, but I think it might be helpful to dry it out a bit beforehand. I hope that helps!
Awesome recipe! A big hit for everyone that tried it. One recommendation is if you use loose leaf tea to grind the tea leaves as there were occasionally some larger leaves that left a tricky texture.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for the recommendation - I will add that into the notes so others know to do the same.
You list salt in the recipe for the buttercream but do not say when to add it in the instructions. Is it necessary at all?
Thanks for the catch! It's definitely a small amount of salt, but I do recommend adding it in. I edited the recipe to include this in the instructions.