Thai Tea Cupcakes

The weather has been very nice up in the Northeast. The poor marathoners had to endure record high temperatures but did an amazing job running the races anyways. I can never run that much, but to be a part of the crowd, SO and I ran the B.A.A. 5k the day before. Man, what an awful race. With 6,000 people, we spent our entire race dodging other people. At least we ran our best!

This gorgeous weather has gotten me to think about the lighter meals. It made me think of Thai food, which then made me think of Thai Iced Tea, which then gave me the thought of converting that into a cupcake.


Thai tea is made with a cup of strong black tea with spices such as anise, cardamom, and tamarind. The drink is then sweetened with condensed milk and/or coconut milk.

image from Arbor Teas

The tricky part of making this cupcake was to figure out how to get the tea flavor into the cake. After some research I found that it is best to infuse the butter with tea and spices for maximum flavor. This turned out a lot easier to do. I used five spice powder (available at Asian markets) which contained anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and Szechuan peppercorns. The frosting was a basic buttercream frosting with condensed milk.

The cupcakes came out moist, though the tea flavors could be stronger. The cakes also didn’t turn out as orange as I would like. Nonetheless they were really good, and SO ate the rest for breakfast!

Tea butter adapted from The Cupcake Project

Printable Recipe!

Serves: 12


Tea Infused Butter

1 stick butter
2 tbsp black tea leaves
1 tbsp five-spice powder


1/2 cup tea infused butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
orange food coloring (or equal parts of red and yellow)

Condensed Milk Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
2 tbsp condensed milk
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
milk or water, if necessary

1. Melt 1 stick of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add tea leaves and spices. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let the butter stand for another 5 minutes.
2. Strain butter into a small cup or a mixing bowl (if you plan on making the cupcakes right away). Discard tea leaves. Cool butter completely and let the butter solidifies before continuing.
3. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners.
4. Once the butter solidifies, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract.
5. In another bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add 1/3 of dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Combine well. Add 1/8 cup of milk and combine well. Repeat the dry-wet addition, ending the addition with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Add 3 to 4 drops of food coloring to turn the batter orange.
6. Fill each cupcake liner 1/2 to 2/3 way full of batter. Bake for 17 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.

7. Cool cupcakes in the muffin pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

8. In a medium bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar and beat well. Add the condensed milk and then the remaining confectioner’s sugar. If the frosting becomes too thick, add 1/4 tsp of water or milk.
9. Frost the cupcakes using a knife or the back of a spoon.

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