Tea and Cupcakes

I have been looking forward to today’s post because it was inspired by and requested from a reader/friend! During my Jane Austen seminar class in college, one of our “tasks” (which was really more like the best assignment I could possibly imagine) was to view film adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels. The purpose was to see how modern audiences interpreted Austen’s novels. Some of the interpretations were pretty hilarious, including, a Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice, “Bride and Prejudice.” The film is absolutely terrible but I would actually recommend it if only to get a good laugh at the Bollywood interpretation of Mr. Collins–he is, in any culture, completely ridiculous.

To get us through some of the more pathetic interpretations of Jane’s work, one group meeting I made Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes. I had actually forgotten about them so when Jordan mentioned I should post about the treats I jumped at the chance!

Earl Grey Tea CupcakesI’m actually not the biggest tea fan. I like the occasional cup but my main squeeze in the caffeine category is definitely coffee. I absolutely adore these little cakes though so regardless of whether you give a nose-crinkle at the mention of Earl Grey, give these a try!

Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes

cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup 2% milk at room temp.
  • 4 Earl Grey teabags
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbls granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbls self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour

Icing:

  • 16 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

There are two ways to approach a tea-infused batter. One way, is to actually pour the ground tea straight into the batter. The other way is to steep the tea-bags in some hot-milk and then add the liquid to the batter. I’ve tried both ways and the liquid gave me a stronger flavor but nothing overpowering. If you want something quicker though, just tossing in the tea works as well.

Earl Grey Tea Cupcake RecipeTea InfusedIf you want to try steeping the tea, heat 1/2 cup milk until just boiling and then turn off the heat and add the teabags. The recipe said to leave them in for about 30 minutes. I only let them sit for about 15 minutes though and the batter was still very flavorful.

  • Cream the butter and sugar together for about 3-5 min. on an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and mix after each addition:

Vintage Mixer

  • Sift the two flours together and then alternate between pouring the flour mixture and the infused milk into the sugar, butter, and egg mixture. (confession: I like seeing the little tea-bits in the batter so even though I used infused milk, I also added about half a tea-bag of the actual ground tea)

Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes

tea infused batter

  • Spoon the batter into a lined muffin pan and fill each cup about two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for anywhere from 22-25 minutes until golden brown and you’re done!

Earl Grey Tea CupcakesEarl Grey Tea Cupcakes

For the icing, the recipe called for a vanilla buttercream but I chose just to do a simpler, homemade whip-cream topping. Just pour the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together and put the electric mixer on high until it gets stiff. I added a little blue and red food coloring to get a lavender color. If you don’t like whip-cream, you could do a cream cheese frosting too and it would be delicious. Of course, when I was all finished I had to make a cup of tea to go with them:

Earl Grey Tea

Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes

Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes

Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes I got my recipe from Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas’s book Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery. I tweaked a few things like the icing, throwing in the ground tea, and leaving out some almond extract. I thoroughly enjoyed my version. It’s a very unusual flavor I’m sure you’ll love even if you aren’t a tea-lover. Jordan loved it and remembered it over a year later! I’m so happy I made them last night because today is a cloudy Thursday and has the perfect conditions for a little tea in the cupcake form.

– <3 A. 

Handmade Dolls

The first raindrops fell since I don’t know when yesterday. Needless to say I could have counted them on one hand, but I am going to be optimistic and count that as the official advent of colder days, necessary sweaters, and excuses for keeping my slippers on longer than usual.

November is proving to be quite the party at my house. With two birthdays in as many weeks and more birthdays and Thanksgiving on the horizon, I am reminded why I love this time of year: so many excuses to decorate, dress up, light candles, make gifts, and plan get-togethers it’s absolutely terrific.

Here’s a picture-review of the recent festivities to see you into the weekend as well as inspiration for a little project in case you have a rainy afternoon this weekend that needs filling:

The party was terrific. I made pumpkin spice latte cupcakes that turned out more like muffins but were no less delicious.Email me if you want the recipe. I could argue that these should be a new pantry-staple, at least for the month of November, but I think I should probably restrain myself.

Handmade dolls

Lately I’ve been seeing the cutest pictures of little, handmade creatures all over Pinterest and the blogs I visit. I wanted to figure out how I could do it myself– even if it didn’t turn out quite as well, I think creating them is so much more fun than just buying one. So, here’s my attempt:

This project does require a bit of planning if you want to create your own image for some custom fabric. Otherwise, you could just buy fabric with an image you like and cut it out.

This was my inspiration:

Nokona loves attention so he was a very willing muse. After I drew a funny cartoon of my little-buddy, I headed over to spoonflower. Spoonflower.com is my new favorite toy. Upload an image into their fabric shop, edit it however you like, and they will send you your cartoon in fabric form:

This was my first attempt using spoonflower so all I ordered was a tiny little test-swatch to see what it would really look like. It was awfully cute when I saw it though so I decided to turn the pretty much unusable piece of fabric into a doll:

I cut out two of the image repeats…

…and then sewed them together like you would if you were making a pillow with the right-sides together:

Don’t forget to leave one side un-sewn, you’ll need an opening to turn the fabric right side out again and then stuff it full of pillow-stuffing. Once its stuffed, just sew up the remaining open side and you’re done!

If you have a little-someone in your family, I think this would be such a cute just-because gift. If not, its a fun creative exercise that pretty much anyone can do.

Have a happy weekend everyone! Hope there will be a lazy afternoon to fill with a little creativity, or, at least a little pumpkin-spice.

– <3 A.