Vegan Earl Grey Cupcakes

Waaaay back when we first discovered how serious our tea obsession was we both thought we weren’t particularly fond of earl grey tea. Becca had just introduced Kate to Bluebird Tea Company‘s flagship shop in Brighton (we promise we aren’t sponsored by these guys, they just do really great tea!). Aaanyway we placed a HUGE order of lots of tea to try, the lovely folk at Bluebird send out samples with all orders, what a great way to show their appreciation of your custom and help you expand your tea tastes?! Much to our disappointment they sent us a sample of Earls Paradise. An earl grey tea with a papaya and strawberry twist….. And so it went onto one of our tea shelves and there it sat … and sat… and sat… until one day we made a g&t cake (which you may remember from this blog post) and were trying to figure out which tea would work well with the cake. Hello Earls Paradise!

We hadn’t done any baking for a while so decided to try something sweet and made with tea (of course!). We adapted a standard cupcake recipe by replacing the eggs and butter to make it vegan, added tea and decided to use coconut flour to make it gluten free.

Our first attempt didn’t go quite to plan, one adaption too far perhaps! The cupcake batter turned out really grainy and ended up as a really crumbly dry mess! It did taste of coconut though and got us craving coconut macaroons (so keep an eye out for those on the blog soon)! It turns out coconut flour cannot be a straight swap for regular flour as it is much more absorbent.

This brings us to attempt number two. Enter standard cake recipe again, veganised as before but with regular self raising flour this time. This attempt was edible but very dense, the icing however had an amazing hit of Earl’s Paradise coming through.


So here we arrive at attempt number three! After two failed attempts we resorted to the trusted Betty Crocker mix, this is so easy to make dairy free and by using the plain vanilla cake mix it was possible to let the flavours from the tea shine. To give this cake an unmistakable hit of tea we brewed two teaspoons of Earls Paradise tea in 50mls of hot water, adding 50mls of cold water after four minutes to prevent this from ‘oversteeping’ and becoming bitter. This was then left in the fridge for 24 hours to further infuse.

To make the cakes…

  • Strain the tea infusion (tea leaves are not to be eaten!)
  • Mix 80ml of the tea infusion and 220ml of lemonade with the cake mix.
  • Separate the mix into cupcake tins.
  • Bake for 18 – 22 minutes.
  • Whilst cooling place the leftover 20mls of tea infusion into a bowl.
  • Gradually sift into the same bowl icing sugar, mixing until you reach the required consistency.
  • Top your cakes with the icing.
  • ENJOY!


These cakes came out really nicely in the end! The vanilla in the cake mix helped bring out the warm and sweet flavours of the Earls Paradise tea blend, adding the flavoured icing gave the cake that extra unmistakable tea hit. Betty Crocker mixes always produce a lovely light and fluffy sponge.


We are still experimenting and getting to grips with baking without dairy, we toyed with not sharing our failed attempts with you but in the end we decided we should because things don’t always go to plan! If any of you lovely readers have any great bake from scratch cake recipes we would love to hear them! Especially if they don’t involve using oil as a replacement as it always seems to make our cakes a little greasy.

Bugs & Birds




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