Black Tea Cupcakes With Honey Buttercream Frosting

black tea cupcakes

Dr. Eva Crane was a proper Englishwoman, and would have liked these tea-flavored delicacies! Perfect to accompany a “cuppa”!

Yield:  18 cupcakes

Ingredients

1 cup  milk

3 tablespoons black tea (or the contents of 3 tea bags)

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tins.

Warm the milk until near boiling on the stove or in the microwave. Cut open the tea bags and add the tea directly into the milk. Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the tea brewed milk, mixing until batter is uniform and smooth.

Transfer batter to prepared pans and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.

Honey Buttercream

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3 tablespoons honey

2 cups powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and honey until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and salt and continue mixing until the frosting comes together. If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency. Likewise, if the frosting is too stiff, add more honey (or a splash of milk) to thin it out. If the frosting is too sweet, add a pinch more salt until the desired sweetness is achieved.

Spread or pipe the honey buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes and serve.

St. Cecilia Society Punch With Honey

st cecilia

St. Cecilia Society Punch is named for a famously private and exclusive social organization founded in Charleston, South Carolina, in the 18th century. My Oldest Friend Mary Ann makes this punch for New Year’s Day.

It doesn’t have the firepower of Chatham Artillery Punch, but that may be a good thing. It’s every bit as delicious though!

Ingredients

2 medium lemons, thinly sliced

3/4 cup brandy

3/4 cup honey

2 tea bags green tea

3/4 cup dark rum

1/2 small pineapple, peeled, cored, sliced 1/2 inch thick, and cut into small wedges

1 750-ml bottle Champagne

6 cups sparkling water, chilled

Directions

Put the lemon slices in a large bowl and pour the brandy over them. Let macerate at room temperature overnight.

In a small saucepan, combine the honey with 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the honey dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, and steep for 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the tea bags and let the syrup cool.

At least 3 hours and up to 6 hours before serving, combine the lemons, brandy, syrup, rum, and pineapple in a large pitcher or bowl. Chill in the refrigerator.

Just before serving, pour the punch into a large chilled punch bowl with a block of ice. Add the Champagne and sparkling water, and gently

Holidays With Honey – Chatham Artillery Punch

punch 2artillery punch

Savannah’s Chatham Artillery is the oldest military organization in Georgia. This punch recipe originated with the C.A. over 200 years ago, and has been served in Savannah ever since. 

When President James Monroe sipped this concoction in 1819 while on a visit to Savannah, he dubbed it ‘suave and deceitful’.

This recipe is for a large party of thirsty revelers.

Warning:  This punch tends to take one by surprise.  Regrettably, the time period between pleasantly buzzed and black out drunk is a short one. Make sure your guests have a designated driver or be ready to insist that they sleep on your couch.

1 1/2 gallons strong tea
1 1/2 gallons Catawba, muscadine or scuppernong wine
1/2 gallon St. Croix rum
1 1/2 quarts rye whiskey
1 quart brandy
1 quart Gordon gin
1/2 pint Benedictine
2 1/2 pounds honey or a mixture of honey and brown sugar
1 bottle marachino cherries
Juice of 18 oranges
Juice of 18 lemons
Case of Champagne

1. Pour all ingredients except for the Champagne into a large, non-reactive container.
2. Cover and let rest for 36 to 48 hours.
3. Just before the party pour into a large punch bowl, over ice, and add the champagne.

Things will get lively shortly thereafter.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Chicken Pecan Tea Sandwiches

This is the perfect sandwich filling to keep on hand during the holidays. You can whip up an elegant tea in minutes!

  • 2 c. diced cooked chicken
  • ½ c. cranberries, sliced or dried
  • ¼ c. cup pecans, chopped
  • t tablespoon honey
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • Mayonnaise, homemade or Hellmann’s
  • White or wheat bread slices
  • Butter
  • Parsley for decoration

In a large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. Add just enough mayonnaise to moisten.  Cover and chill to blend flavors.

Butter 2 slices of bread.  Spread enough chicken salad mixture on one of the buttered slices to make a thick sandwich. Cover with remaining top slice. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.

For best tea sandwich results, chill for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Trim off bread crusts and cut into triangles or squares.  Keep covered with a moist paper towel or in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Green Tea And Honey Cupcakes With Honey Buttercream Icing

Another opportunity to practice your cupcake technique!

Makes 12-14 cupcakes.

Ingredients

1 green tea bag
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Zest and juice (1/4 cup) of one lemon
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup honey
2 large eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour boiling water over tea bag and steep for 3 minutes. Remove tea bag and allow tea to cool.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a liquid measure, combine green tea, lemon zest and juice, and buttermilk; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add honey; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time. Add half of the reserved dry ingredients to the butter mixture; mix on low until just combined. With mixer running on low, slowly add the lemon tea mixture. Add remaining dry ingredients until just combined. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove to wire rack; cool completely before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING

1/2 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 pound (about 2 cups) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon  freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon  heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in half of the sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla and honey. Beat in the remaining sugar. Add the heavy cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest, whisk on high for 6 minutes.

British Week – Honey Raspberry Trifle

What is more British (and delicious!) than a beautiful raspberry trifle with honey and sherry? Perfect to go with a proper cup of tea! 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 4 cups raspberries
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 pounds favorite pound cake

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup water, 1 cup sherry, and lemon juice, stirring to dissolve honey, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool.
  2. In a small bowl, combine jam with 3 cups raspberries, mashing slightly. In a large bowl, whip cream and 2 tablespoons sugar to stiff peaks.
  3. Slice pound cake 3/4 inch thick; brush both sides of slices with lemon/sherry syrup.
  4. Fit 1/3 of slices snugly in the bottom of a 4-quart trifle dish or other glass bowl, trimming edges if necessary. Gently spread top of layer with 1/3 of raspberry mixture, and then 1/3 of whipped cream. Repeat to make two more layers; garnish with remaining cup raspberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 24 hours.

British Week – Sorry, George, The Milk Goes In First

Thanks to Katiepede for this!!

How to make a perfect cuppa: put milk in first

Maev Kennedy, arts and heritage correspondent
The Guardian, Wednesday 25 June 2003 03.34 EDT

Half the population of Britain will take this as a declaration of war.

After months of research the Royal Society of Chemistry has announced the answer to a question that for generations has shattered households, sundered friendships, splintered relationships: the milk should go in first.

It is all to do with denaturing milk proteins, according to Dr Andrew Stapley, a chemical engineer from Loughborough University.There are other contentious points at issue: microwaves come into the perfect cup of tea, and the recommendation that the tea itself should be loose Assam will certainly be taken as blatant provocation by the Darjeeling and Lapsang Souchong factions.

Above all, the society could be seen as spitting on the grave of George Orwell, having commissioned the research to celebrate today’s centenary of his birth – and concluded that he was quite wrong in his own recipe, published as A Nice Cup of Tea in the Evening Standard in 1946.

The chemists and the author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four are in agreement on Indian tea, and a china or earthenware teapot. There is a minor divergence over warming the pot: Orwell recommended placing the pot on a hob, Dr Stapley defends a microwave as a 21st century equivalent. But on the issue of milk the gap is unbridgeable.

Orwell wrote: “By putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk, wheras one is likely to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.”

Dr Stapley is adamant. “If milk is poured into hot tea, individual drops separate from the bulk of the milk, and come into contact with the high temperatures of the tea for enough time for significant denaturation – degradation – to occur. This is much less likely to happen if hot water is added to the milk.”

Veteran tea drinker Tony Benn test-drove the perfect cup of tea yesterday, at the London headquarters of the society. He calculates that he has got through 27,375 gallons in 60 years, and is a tea first, milk second man. The milk went in first. The tea was poured in. He sniffed. He sipped. He pondered. “It’s very tasty, I must say,” he said. He sipped again. “Oh, it’s delicious.”

The chemists purred – and then last night the physicists waded in and said all that matters is the water temperature, not the milk. “Trust chemists to make things complicated,” Institute of Physics chief executive Dr Julia King said. “When it boils down to it, the physics is more important than the chemical side of things.”

· Chemists’ recipe

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s definitive recipe for the perfect cup of tea

Ingredients: Loose leaf Assam tea, soft water, fresh chilled milk, white sugar.

Implements: Kettle, ceramic teapot, large ceramic mug, fine mesh tea strainer, tea spoon, microwave oven.

Method: Draw fresh soft water and place in the kettle and boil. While waiting for the water to boil place a tea ot containing a quarter of a cup of water in a microwave oven on full power for one minute.

Place one rounded teaspoon of tea per cup into pot.

Take the pot to the kettle as it is boiling, pour on to the leaves and stir.

Leave to brew for three minutes.

The ideal receptacle is a ceramic mug.

Pour milk into the cup first followed by the tea, aiming to achieve a colour that is rich and attractive.

Add sugar to taste.

Drink at 60-65C, to avoid vulgar slurping which results from trying to drink tea at too high a temperature.

To gain optimum ambience for enjoyment of tea aim to achieve a seated drinking position in a favoured home spot where quietness and calm will elevate the moment.

British Week – A Nice Cup Of Tea

A Nice Cup of Tea

By George Orwell

Evening Standard, 12 January 1946.


If you look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:

  • First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.
  • Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britanniaware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.
  • Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.
  • Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.
  • Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.
  • Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.
  • Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.
  • Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.
  • Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.
  • Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.
  • Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tealover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

These are not the only controversial points to arise in connexion with tea drinking, but they are sufficient to show how subtilized the whole business has become. There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tealeaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet. It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sure of wringing out of one’s ration the twenty good, strong cups of that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent.

(taken from The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, Volume 3, 1943-45, Penguin ISBN, 0-14-00-3153-7)