We sat in the kitchen debating over cupcakes. It was a good sort a debate, one that ensured these cupcakes were going to be flawless because so much thought went into them. She would say this one, I would say that one, but eventually we came to an agreement. Together with our aprons on, we made a perfect cupcake.
My sister and I are Irish twins, that is, born in the same calendar year. Only eleven months separate the two of us. Well, that and our incredibly differing personalities. And then there’s the physical separation by the ocean. I guess we are rather separated after all, but sometimes I like to pretend that the mere eleven months is the only thing distancing us because that’s only a separation in age, not space.
My sister did this thing that astonished us all. She joined the navy. We’re so proud of her, not only is she the beautiful, thoughtful, and bubbly sister I’ve always known, but also she’s strong. In this past year and sometime more, she has been such an example of strength and perseverance. I admire my sister.
I love that my sister is in the navy, yet I hate it. I think the navy brought us together, strengthening our relationship. It showed us how important our relationship is and how we’ve taken each other for granted before. But the navy has separated us so much also. We live across the world from each other, one waking up while the other goes to sleep. We can’t see each other but twice a year.
My sister is like another half to myself. While I’m quite shy, she’s a social butterfly. I’m timid, she’s bold. She’s always been my big sister, the one I look up to, and even through our differences, she has set quite an example for me.
One thing my sister and I both agree squarely on is our love for baking. We have different baking styles, just as our styles in practically everything else vary a bit, but together I think we made something pretty spectacular.
We made Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Cupcakes. I think Raechel would like you to know that she first pinned the recipe to Pinterest, so she gets to claim it. (After all, we are sisters, there has to be some competitiveness!)
After tasting the frosting, we decided we wanted the earl grey tea flavor to shine through a wee bit more, so we brushed the tops of the cupcakes with a quick and easy simple syrup made by boiling tea and sugar. (And that was my ingenious idea, competitiveness I tell ya)
Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Desserts for Breakfast.
makes 12 – 14 cupcakes
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk (we used almond milk)
1/2 cup hot coffee (dark roast for best results)
1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (optional)
6 teabags of Earl Grey
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup + 2 Tbspn heavy cream
5 oz unsweetened chocolate
8 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
extra tea, for brushing
Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare 12 – 14 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
In a mixer bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, vegetable oil, and milk.
With the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until evenly distributed. Pour the hot coffee into the batter gradually and mix on medium low until smooth. Stir in bittersweet chocolate pieces. Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.
Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. When a toothpick inserted at the center of the cupcake comes out cleanly, the cakes are done. Remove from oven, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Place the Earl Grey teabags, condensed milk, and heavy cream in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover tightly, and let steep for at least one hour.
Meanwhile, finely chop the chocolate and cut the butter into pieces. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
Remove the teabags from the milk mixture, making sure to squeeze as much liquid from the teabags as possible before discarding. Add the sugar to the milk mixture, return to the stove, and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate and butter. Let sit for two minutes, then whisk until smooth.Cool completely.
Once cool, transfer the ganache to the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment. Whip on medium until light-colored and fluffy. Use immediately to spread or pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.
Extra Notes: Start steeping the cream and tea for the frosting first, it’ll save time. Brush tops of cupcakes with extra tea or a tea simple syrup to enhance the tea flavor. Sprinkle tops of frosted cupcakes with sea salt to make them extra special.
The darkness of the chocolate was perfect and the earl grey tea made these cupcakes oh so sophisticated, because we like to thing we are.
Girly chat about boys, clothes, and shoes could be heard while these baked, as a smell of sweet cake wafted from the oven. They were speckled with sea salt to take them over the top and they tasted sinfully rich. We could feel nothing but happiness as we ate these cupcake; cherishing the sweet time we had together.
I love my Raechy.