I picked up Ruby Tandoh’s beautiful baking book, Crumb when it was published in the UK in September or October when the colourful leaves were still clinging to branches. I paged through it and stuck little pieces of paper in to mark the recipes I thought sounded most interesting (and the photographs that looked the most tempting – which, believe me, there are plenty).
After my long walk to Marylebone last weekend, I decided to have a lazy Sunday and make something delicious to make for a more cheerful Monday. Flipping through, I settled on her Camomile Vanilla Cupcakes, so I thought I’d share.
- 225g unsalted butter
- 160ml milk
- 6 camomile tea bags
- 160g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 210g plain flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 200-300g icing sugar
Preheat your over to 180C / 350F.
Find your 12-hole muffin tin and put pretty paper cases inside. (I like these, these and these, if you’ve just put them on your shopping list! These are cool too if you want to eliminate the need for a muffin tin.)
Using a small pan, heat the butter, milk and teabags on low. Once the butter has completely melted, simmer for a few minutes.
Remove from the heat, cool for a few minutes then pour into a bowl through a strainer to remove the teabags. Use the back of a spoon to press them against the mesh, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. This should leave you with about 240-300ml of the mixture.
Divide this into two bowls, placing 1/3 of the mixture into one bowl and 2/3 in the other. Pop these in the fridge for 20 minutes so the butter firms a bit.
Set the bowl with the 1/3 portion aside for the frosting. Beat the sugar into the 2/3 portion until it takes on a colour that is slightly lighter. A few minutes should do the trick.
Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
Take out a second bowl and combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine well.
The batter should drop off of a spoon that’s turned upside down. Mine did, but Ruby suggests adding a splash of milk if yours is a runnier consistency.
Drop the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 15 minutes. Check then, because mine were ready, even though the recipe recommends 15-20 minutes. If they need more time, put them back in but keep a close eye on them. When they’re ready, they’ll need time to cool before you add the buttercream frosting.
To make the frosting, take the remaining 1/3 of the butter, milk and camomile mixture and beat until it is smooth. Add in icing sugar gradually. You’ll want it to be thick enough to spread, but taste as you go so it doesn’t get too sweet either. Stick this in the fridge while your cupcakes cool.
When you’re ready to frost, use as much or as little as you like. I tend to go for a lighter layer of frosting but I have friends who love to heap it on.
I followed Ruby’s advice and ate mine with a cup of camomile tea which I can’t recommend enough.
She writes that you can also substitute pretty much anything and recommends trying Earl Grey and Orange Zext Cupcakes – next time!