Vegan Earl Grey Cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting

 reading time: 4 min

March is such a dull month, at least where I live. Rainy, cold, grey. And just not very inviting to spend much time outside if you ask me. Instead, spending time in the kitchen, baking a sweet little somethin-somethin and watching a movie sounds much better, don't you think?

If you need a bit of brightness in your life right now, these lemony Earl Grey cupcakes are just the thing for you!

There is still an illegally small amount of muffin / cupcake recipes on my blog! I mean, I do love cake, and especially layered cream cake such as my Vegan Black Forest Cake A LOT, but if you think about it, cupcakes are basically miniature cakes, soooo ... I need to make more cupcakes!

nd since my dad is a big black tea fan, I decided to make him these delicious fragrant Earl Grey cupcakes with a light lemon buttercream frosting.

Years ago – literally, YEARS ago – I stumbled across these Vegan Earl Grey Cupcakes from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken, and immediately I made a mental note to make these for my dad some day. Well, this day finally came true on Father's Day last year, which is bad enough – but I never actually got around to publishing them on my blog! I know, I know, it's bad. Shame on me.

But let's talk about these cupcakes now.

I love the citrusy bergamot flavour of Earl Grey that is best combined with vanilla and something milky (such as my Vegan London Fog 😍), but I'd never used it for baking before. The muffins itself turned out great and they are light and fluffy thanks to the pastry flour I used (spelt type 630 here in Germany). The key to these Earl Grey muffins is making a strongly steeped MILK with several teabags (or spoonfuls) of Earl Grey which you can then use in the batter. It gives the muffins a lovely floral and unique distinct "tea" taste as well as a pretty caramel colour, and it's just perfect when paired with vanilla essence and lemon buttercream frosting! I also added a bit of orange zest to compliment the bergamot, similar to the Lady Grey tea (which by the way you could also use in this recipe instead of Earl Grey!).

The perfect little sweet treats for teatime, special occasions such as Father's or Mother's Day, or just everyday dessert cravings :)


VEGAN EARL GREY CUPCAKES with lemon buttercream frosting

Preparation time: 45 mins
Main ingredients: flour, Earl Grey, vegan butter, lemon
difficulty level: easy
makes: 12 cupcakes
suitable for: vegan, lactose-free, wheat-free, nut-free, yeast-free


3 Earl Grey teabags (or 3 tsp loose Earl Grey tea, using a tea infuser)
1 cup soy milk or almond milk
1 3/4 cups spelt pastry flour (I use type 630)
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/3 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp fresh organic lemon zest
1 tsp fresh organic orange zest

3/4 cup vegan butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp fresh organic lemon zest


Preheat oven to 180 °C / 350 °F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners, or lightly grease for a more eco-friendly alternative.

To make the batter: 

Start by making the Earl Grey milk. Place soy milk in a small saucepan, and add 3 Earl Grey teabags or loose leaf tea. Bring to a light boil, then turn off heat, and allow to steep for about 10 minutes. Once the milk is tea-infused, discard teabags.

To a bowl, add pastry flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Whisk to combine.

In a seperate mixing bowl, beat sugar and vegan butter or margarine until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer (about 3 minutes). Add lemon zest, orange zest, and vanilla essence. Beat again.

Gradually add the flour mixture while working the batter with the electric mixer.

Lastly, add the steeped Earl Grey milk. Mix well until you reach a smooth batter. Do not overmix your batter!

Scoop the batter into your prepared cupcake tin, dividing the batter evenly between the 12 cups. Transfer the tin to your pre-heated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes. Then remove the muffins from the tin and transfer them to a wire rack to continue cooling. 

In the meantime prepare the lemon buttercream frosting.

To make the frosting

In a clean bowl, whip vegan butter using an electric mixer until soft and fluffy. Slowly add in powdered sugar. Cream together. Add vanilla essence, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whip until light and fluffy.

Once the muffins have cooled completely, fill your buttercream frosting into a piping bag, and frost each cupcake with a buttercream swirl. Decorate with lemon slices if you wish, and serve to your tea loving guests. Enjoy!