These London Fog cupcakes are made with an Earl Grey tea base and topped with a light, fluffy lavender buttercream. They’re super moist, delicately sweet and perfect for every occasion.
Ever since trying my first London fog latte at a local cafe, I’ve become a bit obsessed. I’m so in love that I immediately created my own London fog latte recipe for the blog, which I still enjoy on a regular basis.
If you missed that post and are unfamiliar with the drink, you might be wondering… what is a London fog latte? It’s Earl Grey tea that’s been brewed with a hint of lavender, mixed with a touch of vanilla and sweetener (sugar, honey, etc), then served with steamed milk of your choice.
The combo may sound unusual, but it’s so wonderful. Earl Grey tea is slightly bitter, which counters the floral notes from the lavender perfectly. While many cupcake recipes are cloyingly sweet, this one is perfectly balanced when you take a bit of both cupcake and frosting together.
These London fog cupcakes are slightly different than some of my other cupcake recipes because you have to make two infusions: one for the frosting and one for the cupcake batter. They add some time to the recipe, but the results are so worth it, I promise!
Earl grey tea is steeped in hot half-and-half to create a strong tea flavor, which is then added to the cupcake batter. Dried culinary lavender is steeped in hot milk, which is added to the meringue buttercream.
How to Make London Fog Cupcakes
The printable recipe at the bottom of this post has more thorough instructions, but here’s an overview of the steps.
- Prepare Earl Grey and lavender infusions, allowing each to steep for 30-60 minutes (you can prepare both at the same time).
- Line cupcake pans with liners and spray lightly with baking spray. Don’t skip the spray, it helps keep the cupcakes from sticking to the liners. To prevent the liners from flying everywhere, I lift my arm about two feet away from the pan and spray in short bursts.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl, and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl (this doesn’t include the sugar, butter and eggs).
- Place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically.
- Alternate between adding the wet and dry ingredients, then distribute the batter between cupcake liners.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out from the center cleanly, then cool before frosting.
Recipe Notes and Substitutions
I sprinkled some dried lavender on top of the cupcakes for the photos because it looked pretty, but please don’t do this. The flavor is way too strong. I scraped it off before eating them! (Sorry, I honestly didn’t think about this until the photoshoot was over. My bad.) If you want to put a garnish on top of the frosting, I think some sugar pearls would be beautiful.
I don’t think it will matter too much for this recipe, but if you’re looking for recommendations, I used the brands In Pursuit of Tea and Jansal Valley Lavender. It’s not cheap, but I’m really loving the quality of the tea! I think I’m slowly turning into a tea snob.
More Cupcake Recipes
You can also see my full archive of Cakes and Cupcakes recipes here!
London Fog Cupcakes (Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lavender Buttercream)
Earl Grey Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons half-and-half (or 50% heavy cream + 50% whole milk)
- 3 tablespoons loose earl grey tea
- 7 1/2 ounces cake flour (1 1/2 cups using Scoop & Sweep Method)
- 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 8 ounces granulated sugar (1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup milk (any type of milk will work; I used 2%)
- 1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender
- 6 1/2 ounces granulated sugar (3/4 cups)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 large egg whites
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Prepare the Cupcakes
- Heat half-and-half along with the tea in a saucepan set over medium heat until simmering. Remove from the heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Strain and pour into a liquid measuring cup to make sure there is 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon. If not, add additional half-and-half or cream.
- Place an oven rack on the middle shelf, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line three standard cupcake pans with 30 liners and spray lightly with baking spray. Note that one of the pans will have 6 empty spots. I recommend spraying from above with your arm at a distance to keep the spray from sending the liners flying. If you don’t have enough pans or you have an older oven that doesn’t cook evenly, these can be baked in batches.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate medium-sized bowl, vigorously whisk the egg whites until frothy, 15-20 seconds. Whisk in the half-and-half and vanilla until evenly combined.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on low speed for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture has lightened in color and fluffed up slightly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula.
- Turn the speed to low and swiftly alternate between adding the dry and wet ingredients over 50-60 seconds, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl all the way to the bottom to catch hidden dry patches, then turn the speed to medium for 20-30 seconds to aerate the batter.
- Divide the batter between the cupcake liners. Don’t fill the liners more than halfway up (when in doubt, less is more). Level the tops out (I like using a small offset spatula to do this). Bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, the tops are still slightly pale but firm, and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling (I use an offset spatula or butter knife to lift them out of the pan). Cool completely to room temperature before frosting.
Prepare the Buttercream
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk and lavender over medium heat, stirring briefly, until the milk in steaming and just starting to simmer. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 45-60 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the lavender.
- Place the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium-sized saucepan (do not stir). Cover and turn the heat to high. Once the liquid begins to simmer and steam develops, remove the cover (this helps prevent crystallization). Using a digital or candy thermometer, cook the sugar to the soft boil stage, 235-240 degrees F.
- While the sugar is cooking, whisk the eggs on high in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, until a soft peak has formed.
- Turn the mixer speed down to medium-low and very slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites (this will “cook” the egg whites, making them safe to consume. Don’t pour the hot syrup directly into the meringue or you’ll have scrambled egg whites.
- Once the syrup is completely incorporated, turn the speed to high. The meringue will continue to form a stiff peak as it cools down. Mix on high until the meringue comes to room temperature, approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Once at room temperature, slowly begin incorporating the soft butter on medium speed. Once all of the butter has been added, turn the mixer speed up to medium-high and slowly add the vanilla and lavender-infused milk. You might not want to add all of the lavender, so start by adding half and see how you like the flavor.
- If not using immediately, store the buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before using. Briefly whisk or place back in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment to make sure it’s nice and fluffy before frosting. Buttercream can also be frozen for up to 3 months (I like using gallon sized freezer bags).
- To frost the cupcakes: Fill a piping bag halfway with buttercream, twist to close, and pipe decoratively. Serve cupcakes at room temperature. These are best served within 72 hours.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
For immediate help troubleshooting a recipe, please email me using the form on my contact page. I’ll try to respond to urgent questions as quickly as possible! For all general questions, please leave a comment here :)