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These Earl Grey Lavender Cupcakes brilliantly combine a moist cake batter infused with the light flavor of Earl Grey and lavender. Top them off with ruffles of buttercream and candy pearls or molded chocolates.
I’m a simple girl, with simple needs. This year for Mother’s Day, I told Jason that I wanted breakfast + Netflix in bed. It may not sound like much, but when most of your mornings begin with a little face 3 inches away from yours, whisper-shouting “Mom! It’s wake up time! Let’s play!”, simple things like not having to play pirates before 9 am are the ultimate luxury.
Maybe you have a mother in your life who deserves a little luxury, too. Maybe you can’t arrange for breakfast + Netflix in bed, and maybe you can’t guarantee a pirate-free morning, but you can give her a little something special. Maybe she’d like some Earl Grey Lavender Cupcakes?
These cupcakes are all decked out in their fanciest clothes, to celebrate all the mothers/aunts/grandmas/women out there! They start with a moist cake batter, infused with Earl Grey and lavender flavor. I actually used Earl Grey Jasmine tea bags, so they had even more of a floral aroma. The tea is steeped in the milk that goes into the batter, so it’s still a light flavor, not too overpowering or assertive.
The ivory-colored buttercream gets a similar tea-and-lavender treatment, and is piped onto the cupcakes in big, ruffled mounds. It’s an Italian meringue buttercream, which is the fiddliest variety to make, involving a candy thermometer (groan) but also the most stable variety. Which is good, because it was literally 90 degrees F in my kitchen when I was photographing these, and the ruffles were only drooping a little. (Unlike the photographer, who was drooping and sweating in a most unladylike fashion…)
You might recognize these cameo chocolates from a few days ago—learn how I made them, including making the custom mold, right here! I brushed the edges with a very light layer of silver luster dust, just to make them gleam a bit. I still wanted the chocolate color to show through, but I wanted them to echo the gold touches of the original cameo brooch.
Some of the other cupcakes got a sprinkling of silver chocolate pearls. If you’ve never had these, let me tell you, they are awesome. As in, don’t keep an open container near you while you’re working, because it will soon be empty. They’re little chocolate nibbles that have a crunchy center, so they’re basically like tiny bites of shiny, silvery candy heaven. They’re also gorgeous, and I thought they went well with the fancy jewelry theme of the cupcakes. You could also try experimenting with other easy to make decorations like Chocolate Feathers or Chocolate Leaves!
The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s very flexible. If you’re not an Earl Grey person, but have another favorite tea, you can swap that in instead. Or you can leave out the tea entirely, and have a very respectable vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. Or maybe you just want to fill a cupcake liner to the brim with silver chocolate pearls—I can’t argue with that decision. If you love these cupcakes, you won’t want to miss some of my other favorite cupcake recipes: Zucchini Cupcakes, Rosette Cupcakes & Chocolate Cupcake Recipe.
☕More Lovely Desserts
- Lavender Lemon Bars
- Lemon Meringue Teacup Cakes
- Lavender Latte
- Lemon Tea Cake
- Lavender Hot Chocolate
- Lavender Rose Ice Cream
Lavender Simple Syrup
Earl Grey Lavender Cupcakes
For the Earl Grey Lavender Cupcakes:
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp milk
- 4 Earl Grey tea bags
- 2 tbsp culinary dried lavender
- 13.5 oz all-purpose flour, (3 cups)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 14 oz granulated sugar, (2 cups)
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
For the Earl Grey Lavender Buttercream:
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 Earl Grey tea bags
- 1 tbsp culinary dried lavender
- 21 oz granulated sugar, (3 cups)
- 8 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 18 oz unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
To Make the Cupcakes:
- Place the milk in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat it for 90 seconds, or until it is hot but not boiling. Add the tea bags and dried lavender, stir briefly, and cover with a piece of foil. Infuse the hot milk for 12-15 minutes, until the milk is a caramel color and very fragrant. Pour the milk through a wire strainer into a measuring cup, to remove the tea bags and lavender. Squeeze the bags over the milk to extract all of the flavor. You should have 1 cup of milk. If you have a little more, discard the extra, and if you don’t have enough, add a bit more milk until it measures 1 cup. Cool the milk until it is room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350, and line cupcake tins with paper liners. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside for a moment.
- Combine the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix it in as well.
- With the mixer on low speed, add a third of the flour mixture, and once it is incorporated, add half of the milk. When that’s mixed in, add half of the remaining flour, then add the rest of the milk, and finish by adding the last of the flour. Stop the mixer when there are a few streaks of flour remaining. Use a spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake tins, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the tops are golden brown and spring back lightly when pressed. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting them.
To Make the Buttercream and Assemble:
- Place the water in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, and heat it for 90 seconds, or until it is hot but not boiling. Add the tea bags and dried lavender, stir briefly, and cover the bowl with a piece of foil. Infuse the hot water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour the water through a wire strainer into a medium saucepan, to remove the tea bags and lavender. Squeeze the bags over the pan to extract all of the flavor.
- Add the granulated sugar to the water and stir. Place the pan over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Insert a candy thermometer and cook until it reaches 245 degrees F.
- While you are waiting for the sugar syrup to reach the proper temperature, place the room temperature egg whites in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When the water mixture is around 220 F, start whipping the egg whites. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat until the whites look foamy. Stop the mixer briefly and add the cream of tartar. Turn the mixer back on and begin to whip on medium-high speed until the whites are stiff but not crumbly. You can turn the mixer off if the egg whites are finished before the syrup is ready.
- When the whites are stiff and the sugar syrup is 245 degrees, turn the mixer back on to medium-high and pour the syrup into a cup or pitcher with a spout. Slowly and carefully pour the hot syrup down the sides of the bowl into the egg whites while the mixer is running. The whites will rise in volume. After all of the syrup is added, and the whites are large, shiny, and voluminous, turn the mixer to medium-low and whip until the sides of the bowl feel room temperature, not warm. This may take anywhere from 10-20 minutes.
- Once the egg white mixture has cooled, gradually add the butter bit by bit until it is all incorporated. It should be cool but pliable to the touch—not melted or greasy, but not rock-hard either. Occasionally as you’re adding the butter, take a break and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. As you add the butter the egg white mixture will deflate and might look soupy or curdled. If it looks soupy or broken, continue to whip the frosting until it comes back together. Eventually you will have a smooth, satiny frosting. Add the vanilla and salt, and mix until it’s well incorporated.
- The buttercream can be made in advance and kept at room temperature if you’re going to use it the same day, or refrigerated. If it has been chilled, let it sit at room temperature until completely soft, then re-whip it to get the smooth texture back before you use it.
- To decorate the cupcakes, fit a piping bag with a large rose tip and fill it with frosting. Place the wide end of the tip in the center of a cupcake and the narrow end at the edge of the cupcake. Squeeze the bag while you move the tip up and down and rotate the cupcake, making a ruffle around the edge of the cupcake. Repeat with a second layer, and continue to add layers of ruffles, moving the tip more toward the center for subsequent layers so the frosting ruffles taper toward the top. Finish with a few candy pearls or a molded chocolate.
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.
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I know what you mean about just watching Netflix in bed on Mother’s day. I told my husband I just want to sleep in and then take a long bath this Sunday…lol.
Btw, those cupcakes are gorgeous! 😀
I hope you got your wish! It’s funny how our desires get pretty boring once we’re parents. 😉
Ahhh those are so pretty! I love the use of those molded chocolates…just perfect for a mom 🙂
Thank you June! As a mom I heartily agree. 🙂
Everything you make looks just stunning!
Thank you, Medeja!
These are so beautiful and would be perfect for my mum, who loves Early Grey Tea. Love the cupcakes with the pearls and the cameos. Genius. Thank you for the recipe and inspiration. Sammie x http://www.feastingisfun.com
Thanks Sammie! My mom doesn’t actually drink much tea, haha. Bad daughter alert!
What would be a tasty alternative to the frosting? That hopefully doesnt need a candy thermometer 🙂
Hey Sheril, I would recommend this recipe it is one of my favorites! https://www.sugarhero.com/the-easiest-swiss-meringue-buttercream/ It is a vanilla base but it takes flavor really well. If you wanted to add any honey, coconut, or extra lavender flavoring I think all of those would work great! No candy thermometer necessary! I would love to hear how it goes one you give it a try!
I sooooo am with you on Netflix in bed. Nadia loves to try and open my eyes to show me its morning time.
More than that, I need these cupcakes in my life. They are the fanciest things ever and after a week in someone else’s snot and leftover food, I need something a little more upscale. Plus, those molded chocolates are amazing!!
Haha, lately Asher has been imitating Frozen and opening my eye while say, “Get up, Elsa!” He’s lucky he’s cute. 😉
Hi Elizabeth, how can I adapt this recipe for a layer cake?
Hey, I would recommend preparing the batter the same and then baking it in three cake pans. You can use eight or nine inch depending on what you have. Start checking the cake at about 20 minutes. The goal is to have the cake just spring back a little if you were to pat the top. I would love to hear how it goes!
Happy Mother’s Day to you! These are seriously the most beautiful cupcakes ever. I can’t believe those toppers are edible!
Thanks Natasha! No shame in making my own Mother’s Day dessert, right?
Oh my gosh, Earl Grey + Lavender is one of my favorite flavor combos! There is a local ice cream chain here in Seattle that serves both Honey Lavender and Earl Grey ice creams, and I always get them together—major yum!
These cupcakes look so gorgeous and elegant!
That is a genius ice cream combination! I think you need to recreate it on your blog this summer!
I showed your chocolate molds tutorial to my husband and he was like… send me a link! He wants to make them. So thanksalot, now I might have to actually DO something from your site rather than just stare longingly. 🙂 But seriously, these cupcakes are amazing! THAT FROSTING. Wow.
Thanks Meggan! From your comment, it sounds like your HUSBAND is going to be the one making chocolate molds, which sounds like a win for you! Soooo you’re welcome. 😉
GAH – these are gorgeous! Way to pretty to eat. But, when you’re not looking, I’m definitely grabbing and eating a handful! And your chocolates from the other day look amazing with that dusting of color! So vintage looking. Love!
Thanks Kristi! If you ask me, there’s no such thing as too pretty to eat. 😉
I have no words.. I mean can cupcakes really be this beautiful?? Love the Cameo chocolate toppers!!
There’s no doubt. This cupcake is absolutely beautiful! Any way you looked at it, it’s just getting better and better. The design is lovely and the cupcake is flavorful. This is really an art!
Thank you so much, Maureen!
Will you just look at that gorgeous frosting?! Talk about perfection!
Thank you Jessica! It’s not a real cupcake unless the frosting is as tall as the cake. 😉
How much cream of tartar do you use in the frosting?
Sorry Marguerite! 1/2 tsp should do it. I’ve edited the recipe now. Thanks for the head’s up!
This is probably the most beautiful thing that could be eaten I’ve ever seen!
Thank you so much!
Those cupcakes are so beautiful! And that frosting looks very dreamy… 🙂
Thanks Lexi! Totally dreamy–I ate it by the spoonful. 🙂
I’ve been completely addicted to earl grey tea lately and love the idea of having it’s flavor baked into something light and fluffy 🙂 These sound delicious. The ultimate treat for a mom. Also, love your beautiful chocolate cameos. I was admiring them on facebook!!
Thanks Amy! Of course I have to recommend eating them with a cup of Earl Grey tea nearby–double the EG pleasure!
Can I use lavender oil instead of dried?
Hi Jennifer, yes definitely! I would just start with a small amount because it can be potent, and taste as you go. 🙂
What tip did you use for the frosting
Hi Michelle, I used a standard rose tip for the frosting.
Hello Elizabeth, my husband made these for mother’s day and they where to DIE for! I have a cupcake to each of the mom’s in my family ( we all live 10’min away from each other) and they where a hit! My sister loved them do much she asked if he can make these for her birthday. Everyone raved about the butter cream frosting, they said it was like nothing they ever tasted. They loved the fact that it wasn’t too sweet. My husband is making the cupcakes for my sister now, her birthday is tomorrow. Thank you SO MUCH!
Ana, I’m thrilled to hear that the cupcakes were such a success with your family! (And what a sweet husband you have, to bake for you on Mother’s Day!) Thank you so much for letting me know, and best wishes to your sister on her birthday! xoxo
This sounds wonderful! Is it possible to make this without lavender?
Yes, definitely! Just omit the steps that call for steeping the tea, and use the amount of liquid specified in the recipe. Let me know how they turn out!
Hi Elizabeth, thank you for sharing this recipe!! I’m so excited to try it. I wanted to make this for my significant other, but wanted to potentially make a few changes. He’s a huge fan of honey-lavender combo, have you tried making this with honey? Also, was thinking of doing a lemon-cream cheese frosting and wanted your input on that as well. Thanks for your awesome blog!
Hi Hai! I LOVE honey lavender desserts, your honey has good taste! 😉 I haven’t tried making the cupcakes with honey. I think it would be pretty easy to add that flavor by just poking a few holes in the top of the cupcakes, warming up some honey, and brushing the warm honey on top of the cupcakes so it soaks in–kind of like a poke cake idea. You could also do a honey buttercream instead of the Earl Grey one–I have a recipe here if you’re interested:
I love the idea of bringing lemon into this recipe, too. My only concern is that cream cheese frosting might be a bit of a strong flavor for the lavender/honey and some of the cupcake flavors might be overpowered? But everyone loves cream cheese frosting, so maybe that’s a ridiculous concern. 🙂 I hope you’ll tell me what you decide to do and let me know how the cupcakes turn out!
Hi Elizabeth, these cupcakes are amazing!!!! I am not a tea drinker and I do not like lavender. I smelled and tasted the batter and knew these would be amazing. Thanks again for your tips and sharing.
Oh yay! I’m so thrilled they worked out for you!
This recipe is wonderfully written. You explained the steps so clearly and I love that you list measurements by weight. And the cupcakes look phenomenal, such a great flavor combo!
Thank you Starr! I’d love to see a picture of the final product if you give them a try!
These look really gorgeous!!!
I wanted to ask – does the buttercream work well in hot and humid weather, and if it’s good to use it under fondant?
I am looking to make the buttercream and pipe them this Sunday, place some fondant cut outs on top of them, but only sharing it on Monday when I get to work. Just wondering the buttercream will droop and not hold on Monday! 🙂
Thank you in advance!
H Vanessa, I’m sorry for the slow reply. I know it’s probably too late, but I thought I would reply in case it’s helpful for the future. This recipe is an Italian meringue buttercream, which is actually the sturdiest of the meringue buttercreams. So it does work very well in hot weather and under fondant. If it’s going to be piped a few days in advance, I would refrigerate everything until a few hours before serving, so it can be room temp when eating. It can sit out at room temperature for hours, but if we’re talking days, then refrigerator is a better choice, especially in hot weather.
I could imagine this combination would be great!
If I want to make around 10 to 12 regular cupcakes, can I just prepare a quarter of ingredients?
Anyway, thank you for this amazing recipe:)
This recipe looks amazing and I’m making it today for a wedding. The frosting is very very soupy tho. More like an icing. Every other buttercream recipe I’ve used calls for pwd sugar. Is that what I’m missing?
these cupcakes ARE HEAVEN! this is the second year my husband made then for me. There so light but so decadent ay the same time! All the mothers in my family look forward tho these cupcakes on mother’s day. Thank you so much for this recipe!
Hello! This is my first time on your site and I have to say I am very excited to try these! I’m jsut wondering if I can replace the sugar with honey instead? and if so, what amount would be approximately accurate?
Hello! I really want to make these gorgeous cupcakes, but I have a question!
Can I replace the sugar (in the cake) with honey? If so, what amount would be the equivalent or would it be the same?
I made these for a bridal shower and they were a HUGE hit! This is my new go-to recipe – especially the frosting! I cut it in half as I don’t like much frosting, but it is so light since you start with the whipped egg whites that I probably could have made the full recipe anyway. Have you done other tea infused flavors? I was thinking of trying a chai tea version for Thanksgiving.
Hi Cynthia, I am thrilled to hear that the cupcakes work for you and that you enjoyed them! The frosting is one of my favorites, and I wanted to let you know that it freezes beautifully, in case you want to make a full batch in the future. 😀 I haven’t done many other tea flavors, but now I’m wanting to try some. Chai tea desserts for Thanksgiving sounds amazing!
I tried the chai for a “Friendsgiving” party after all and it was fantastic!
These cupcakes look absolutely gorgeous! I’m planning on making them for my cousin’s baby sprinkle, but she is gluten free. Is there any way to make these cupcakes gluten free?
I personally don’t have too much experience with gluten free baking so I’m always hesitant to give advice. I would suggest using Cup4Cup gluten free flower blend! I hope you baby “sprinkle” goes great!
This cake is really good. I changed the icing though because I find meringue super finicky, so I just made flavored buttercream instead.
Your cupcakes are beautiful, feminine and classy. Thank you for sharing them.
When you say 12oz of butter for the batter, you are going by Weight Correct? do you have the Conversion for how many Tablespoons? that would be 24 tablespoons?
If I were to use Lavender sugar, how much would you recommend?
Hey Megan, I wouldn’t change the sugar quantity. I would just use the equal amount for lavender as regular. Thank you!
Hi there, is there a typo error on the amount of flour for the cake batter? It says 13.5 oz (3 cups). 3 cups is supposed to be 24oz. So is it 13.5oz or 3 cups? I baked following 13.5oz and my cake didn’t rise at all. But i also reduced the sugar by half.
Why did my cake not rise? Or am i missing out something?
Hi Ans, this is a very common question. The weight of a cup of all-purpose flour is actually 4.5 oz, so three cups is 13.5 oz. If you would like to know more about the difference between weight vs volume, I talk about this in my FAQ section here: https://www.sugarhero.com/frequently-asked-questions/#measurements
As for the reason they didn’t rise, sugar is an important part of the recipe and can help a lot with the stability and structure. Making a change like that can often affect the outcome. I am sorry to hear that it didn’t work out, I hope this helps for next time.
Hello! These looks wonderful! May I ask at what altitude these were prepared? I live over 7,000 ft and I usually have to alter the recipe slightly for it to turn out. Thank you!
Hi Konnie, thank you so much! These were prepared in Los Angeles so about sea level. They will probably need a bit of tweaking for high altitude. I would love to hear how it goes once you give it a try!
Can you please post a picture of the type of icing tip that you used. I can’t wait to try this recipe. These cupcakes are gorgeous!
Thank you so much, Casey! I used a basic petal tip (#125). I have an old FB live you can check out where I demonstrate this technique. It starts around the 10:45 mark:
Please let me know how it goes and if you have any questions!