Baking with Tea – How To Get the Flavor of Tea Into Your Baked Goods | Cupcake Project

Baking with Tea – How To Get the Flavor of Tea Into Your Baked Goods

I’m officially hooked on baking with tea.  I’m craving baked goods with chamomile, oolong, and chrysanthemum. Why?  I learned the trick to getting a vibrant tea flavor in my baking and I’m itching to experiment.

I’ve tried baking with tea before, but I couldn’t get the tea flavor to come through strongly enough.  I’ve tried:

  • Grinding tea and putting it directly in the batter.  This doesn’t release the tea flavor and people don’t like finding leaf bits in their cupcakes.
  • Steeping the tea in milk and using the tea-infused milk. I imagine that this could work, but not all recipes contain milk – and if they do, it’s not always enough to strongly affect the cupcake flavor.
  • Steeping tea bags in butter.  The butter boiled, the flavor never changed, and the tea bags disintegrated.  People like pieces of tea bag in their cupcake far less than they like leaves.

So what’s the best way to bake with tea?

I learned the secret to tea-infused baked goods from a post by Robert Wemischner (author of Cooking with Tea and The Dessert Architect) on T Ching (I love the name!). The trick is…

…unsalted butter and…

…strong, loose tea.

Using the two, you can make a tea-infused butter to use in your recipe in place of plain butter.

Baking with Tea – How To Get the Flavor of Tea Into Your Baked Goods

Baking with Tea – How To Get the Flavor of Tea Into Your Baked Goods

Ingredients

    What you'll need for tea infused butter
  • Slightly more butter than your recipe calls for. When you make the tea-infused butter, some of the butter will get stuck on the tea leaves and you'll end up with less usable butter than you started with. How much more butter should you use? You'll have to experiment. It will vary depending on the type of tea that you use and how good you are at pressing the butter out of the wet tea leaves. I found that I needed 1 cup of butter to end up with 3/4 cup of butter.
  • 2 grams (or approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons) of whole-leaf tea per tablespoon of butter. As Robert says, "The key to flavor is freshness so be sure that you are using only tea that is highly aromatic and butter that has no off aromas or flavors."

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter until just liquid.
  2. Add the tea leaves.
  3. Continue heating the mixture for about 5 minutes on low heat.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for another 5 minutes or until the butter is discernibly tinted by the tea leaves.
  5. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the tea leaves and then discarding them. This is the part where you will undoubtedly end up with some butter that you can't get off of the leaves. I encourage you to press as hard as you can, but not to obsess about lost butter - it's for a good cause.
  6. Let the butter come to room temperature and then use it as you would regular butter in your baked goods.
http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2010/05/baking-with-tea-how-to-get-flavor-of.html

 

Tea Cupcakes Using This Method

Here are some of my favorite tea cupcakes made using this method:

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58 Responses to Baking with Tea – How To Get the Flavor of Tea Into Your Baked Goods

  1. violet s. May 4, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    this would be wonderful with a stronger green tea and oranges… or just a nice high-quality black tea. mmmm… i must try this. thanks!

  2. The Scootabaker May 4, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    Great post! Now I don’t hav to figure it all out the hard way. You went ahead and did that for me!

    Heather

  3. ivorypomegranate.com May 4, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    I’ve been brainstorming some tea-flavored baked goods, so this is very helpful. I haven’t heard good things about the tea+milk method either, I’m glad there’s a better technique out there!

  4. ErinBrenner May 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Yahoo, another use for the great teas in my cupboard! I can’t wait to see your cupcake recipe.

  5. Anonymous May 4, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    after watching a show where pot brownies were made I looked up just how to do it(I actually knew the thc was either fat or alcohol soluable only, just dumping it into the batter wouldn’t really work like on TV)& this is pretty much the method that was most often given.( but w/ large quanities~ usually an ounce in a pan of brownies) your useless trivia for the day…

    • Mouse September 6, 2013 at 5:50 am #

      I was thinking as I was reading this ‘It’s just like making pot butter, that’s briliant!’ Haha I never would have thought to use this technique specifically to infuse flavors but now I will.

  6. Lora May 5, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    Very helpful. Thanks!

  7. Pink Little Cake May 5, 2010 at 5:01 am #

    What a wonderful idea!! I have seen recipes with tea on it and I have been wanting to try it. I can’t wait to see your cupcakes and make them myself too.

  8. Kristen May 5, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    I made these at christmas and they were fantastic! I put the tea directly into the mix
    http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cookies/chai-spice-girls/

  9. Anna May 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    my absolute favorite truffles are dark chocolate with earl gray steeped in the cream. I always add a bit more tea to really get the flavor through and always lick the bowl clean after the truffles have been scooped out :D I tried to make Arnold Palmer cupcakes, but even after steeping tea in the milk, the flavor was completely lost. I’ll try infusing the butter AND the milk next time and see if it helps. Thank you for the suggestion!

  10. Jenny May 5, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    What a fantastic idea – I’ve always infused my milk with tea (like when I make panna cotta), but I hadn’t thought to do it with butter. Do you have to steep it less or more than you would with hot water? I’m thinking about bitterness in tea when it’s oversteeped, and wondering if that happens when steeping in butter.
    Thanks!

  11. Jill Murray May 6, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    You can put matcha green tea powder right in the batter, and it’s really good. Pair it with a bit of yogurt in the batter and a drop of almond extract.

  12. anna May 6, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    I’ve tried to figure this out so many times (mostly steeping the tea in water, then using powdered milk) and can’t believe I never thought of this before, since, like ‘Anonymous’, I knew how to make other kinds of infused butter ;-) Thanks!

  13. Anna May 6, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Awesome post! I’m a huge tea lover and I’ve tried the methods you listed without success so I’ll try this next time.

  14. Melisa Taylor May 6, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    Never thought of making tea butter to incorporate in. I have only made shortbread cookies with tea. The loose tea texture actually works in these. Otherwise, I grind the tea to a powder and put it in the food processor with graham cracker or cookies for cheesecake crusts. The melted butter you put in there brings it out more.
    I can’t wait to try this way, though, and I am going to check out the book you mentioned.

    Thanks!

  15. Marisa May 10, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    So that’s the secret!

  16. Levinson and Axelrod May 21, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Excellent idea. Thanks for the baking with tea inspiration.

  17. Kelsey Kramer July 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Just tried this with a Rooibos Chai. I’m doing a Chai infused shortbread. This method works GREAT! I highly recommend this technique. I used only used about 1 tsp to every 2 Tbsp of butter and got a wonderfully rich flavor. Chai tends to be fairly strong though, so I can imagine needing more for a naturally weaker leaf.

  18. Sourkraut July 22, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    Nice ideas! I’d probably go with the easy way out and hunt down a recipe that does use milk so I can simply steep the tea. I did something similar just recently for an entry into a tea-themed cupcake contest. I wound up making sweet coconut tea cupcakes with caramel filling and ginger cream cheese frosting with a hint of chai. Getting the tea flavor into the cake was easy as I steeped it with some coconut milk. Getting it into the frosting was trickier but I wound up wetting the tea bag a bit, rolling it around in the cream cheese and applying pressure with a spoon, and re-wetting and repeating until the flavor was definitely mixed in. You can read about my entry here:
    http://sourkrautkrafts.blogspot.com/2010/07/london-calling.html

    And check out the other tea-themed entries and vote for your favorite here:
    http://www.sweetestkitchen.com/2010/07/mystery-box-tea-roundup/

  19. Sarah December 2, 2010 at 11:32 pm #

    Hi there, my cupcakes baked into brownies. I made chocolate peppermint tea cupcakes and infused the butter. Could it be because it called for boiling the tea in water and adding the tea water in w/ melting the chocolate, butter and sugar together? If so should I add water or something else to make it more liquid like I guess?
    Thanks Sarah

  20. Stef December 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Sara – Sorry, but I’m confused by your question. Did you follow my instructions or were you following some other recipe? I’d love to help, but I just need more information.

  21. Sarah December 9, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    Hi Steph,

    I believe I infused the butter correctly but, it’s when I used the butter in the recipe. After baking the chocolate cupcakes they turned into a brownie consistency instead of a fluffy, moist cupcake. I used a recipe from Cupcakes Galore by Gail Wagman. The recipe wants you to boil/ steep the tea in water and then add it when your melting the chocolate, butter and sugar together. I’m wondering since I’m not adding any water due to the tea already infused in the butter could that be causing them to turn into a brownie consistency instead?
    Chocolate Peppermint Tea Cupcakes

    1 cup water
    4 peppermint tea bags
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt, plus pinch for the egg whites
    3 ounces dark chocolate (I used unsweetened chocolate)
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    2 eggs, separated
    1/2 cup sour cream or buttermilk

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Boil water in a small pan and add tea bags. Let steep for about 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard.
    3. While tea is steeping, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
    4. ln the top of a double boiler, over simmering water, place mint tea, chocolate, sugar, and butter. Stir until chocolate and butter have melted and mixture is smooth (you can use a microwave, if you prefer). Remove from heat and whisk in egg yolks, beating well. Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream or buttermilk and beat until batter is smooth.
    5. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are stiff but not dry and gently fold into batter.
    6. Spoon batter into cupcake papers, filling cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.

    Thanks for your help.
    Sarah

  22. Stef December 22, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    Sarah – Yes, for that recipe you need to use the water that the recipe calls for, otherwise the texture will be hugely affected.

  23. Lisa B. January 19, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    This is a great tip, I will have to remember this!

    Also, we will soon be offering our Ninja Black Tea powder for cooking. It is ground fine like matcha, so it instantly dissolves in batter, liquid, etc. It has tremendous flavor. Coming soon to three tree tea dot com.

  24. Lauren February 24, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    Can you use salted butter? i have a bunch of salted butter in the house and don’t want to go out and buy more butter. would it change the flavours? but this is an anwesome way of putting tea to good use!

  25. Stef February 24, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Lauren – I always use unsalted butter. However, you could use salted butter, just be sure to leave any additional salt out of your recipe.

  26. Mariza February 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
    You have no idea how long I have been trying to figure this out.

  27. Anonymous April 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    this is awesome. Thank you for putting this up, I’m so excited to infuse my desserts. I’ve heard of making a simple syrup with the tea for some recipes, but I think this would be much better.

  28. Anonymous June 27, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    I tried this- using commercial tea bags ripped open- the results were subtle fragrant cupcakes that were, surprisingly, tinged green. Thanks for the great idea!

  29. Anonymous August 9, 2011 at 1:41 am #

    I have used green-tea bags with lemon zest as a flavouring for scones – infuse the tea bags in heated cream, then cool, take out the teabags and then use flavoured cream in scone mixture (which itself has lemon zest in it). Might even attempt the clotted cream recipe to go with it…… Sara

  30. air to air heat exchanger February 25, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    Very helpful. Thanks!

  31. SprinkleBakes April 26, 2012 at 2:49 am #

    I used this method for some hibiscus tea cookies! They turned out so amazing. Thank you for sharing this information!

  32. Susan E September 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    Thanks for posting that! I made chocolate almond cupcakes with Earl Grey cream cheese frosting and the Earl Grey was completely lost. I had used a coffee grinder to grind the tea, so at least there were no tea leaves stuck in anyones teeth! Will have to try that recipe again with your butter infusion!

  33. Monica Williams November 14, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Thank you for this Stef! I used your method in making a Rose and French Vanilla Tea buttercream. It worked a real treat and they turned out brilliantly.

  34. Donna August 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    I have just stumbled across your site! I am loving your recipes! I needed the tea infused last week. I looked but couldnt find what I had in mind. Of course til after you need it! I cant wait to try. I have some bridal showers in the future that I will be using these recipies! Thank you for sharing!

  35. Mel October 2, 2013 at 2:17 am #

    Hi, i would like to ask if it is possible to prepare this ahead and keep the butter in the fridge to use whenever needed? Kind of like compound butter.
    And also, upon room temperature, wouldnt it be in liquid state as it was melted? The texture of the cake would be affected if i had to beat liquid butter with sugar vs room temp solid butter with sugar right?
    Thanks for helping! I cant wait to start making tea infused treats!

  36. Sharinnah October 13, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    In Asia, green tea powder (matcha) and earl grey tea powder are easily available in many baking supplies shop. They are added to the batter just like how you would to cocoa powder and the flavors would really be present in the cupcake. It’s very convenient. I haven’t found any jasmine tea powder though so I will try your method soon. :)

  37. Vanessa January 15, 2014 at 5:29 am #

    What a genius idea! Thanks for sharing :)

    http://cafecraftea.blogspot.com

  38. giuseppina January 16, 2014 at 4:40 am #

    Hi Stef, thank you so much. I’ve never thought of making it this way, I’ll try it and as the recipe calls for melting the butter I’ll use some ghee, which I love for cooking as it’s much ealthier ( LOL….an healthy butter)

  39. jill February 7, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

    can you bake with the tea packets that you buy at the store? i don’t use or drink tea very often and just happened to search for baking with tea. I also don’t know much about tea.. Is the tea that’s in the individual packets considered loose tea?

    • Stef February 7, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      You’d have to cut the packets open, but it would work.

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