Lemon and Green Tea Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream

With Spring finally here, I was in the mood for something lemony.  I was at a health foods store and saw bulk green tea leaves (not roasted) and decided to infuse the tea into a cupcake.  What goes best with tea? How about a rich Honey Buttercream.  Let’s make these to celebrate Spring!

Lemon & Green Tea Cupcake batter

  • 1 Box of White Cake Mix (I prefer Betty Crocker SuperMoist)
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1 1/4 Cup Strong Green Tea, steeped with 3 Tblsp Sugar, let cool to room temperature (strain, if using loose leaf)
  • Zest of one Lemon (save 1/2 tsp for the following glaze)
  • 1/2 tsp Orange Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Extract

Mix all the ingredients together by hand with a wire whisk.  This makes a much lighter batter.  Pour into lined cupcake tins, I used jumbo ones, so it makes six.  If you use a regular size cupcake tin it will make twelve.  Bake at 350 degrees, 28 minutes for the Jumbos, about 18 minutes for the regular size.

SAM_0198SAM_0199While they are baking, let’s make a lemon glaze that will soak into the cupcakes:

Fresh Lemon Glaze

  • 1 Tblsp Milk
  • 2 Tblsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tblsp Butter (soft)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Use the paddle attachment and mix all ingredients thoroughly.  This glaze will be thin.

While the cupcakes are hot out of the oven, pokes holes in the top with either a wooden skewer or the tines of a fork.  Pour about one tablespoon of glaze over them and let them cool.  The glaze will soak into the cupcake adding flavor, as well as moisture.
SAM_0202Let’s make the Honey Buttercream while they are cooling down and soaking in that lemon glaze.

Honey Buttercream

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 4 Egg Yolk
  • 8 ounces Butter (room temperature)
  • 4 Tblsp Honey
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla

Put the sugar and water into a saucepan.  On medium high heat we will bring it to a hot syrup.  Swirl the pan, wash down any sugar crystals with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.  We want to bring it to the soft ball stage.  When the sugar and  water come to a slow boil, drop a dab of it into a bowl of ice water, roll the cooled sugar with your thumb and pointer finger, when it comes together into a soft ball this is the proper temperature for the syrup.

Notice the size of the bubbles, medium large, we do not want it to caramelize or reach the hard ball stage.

Put your egg yolks into the mixer and whip until fluffy with the whisk attachment.  Now slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg yolks with the mixer on medium.  Be careful, this syrup is hot!  Now increase mixer to high and continue to whip until the mixture cools down to room temperature.  This takes about 15 minutes to cool down.  You can feel the bottom of the mixing bowl to tell whether it is cool enough.


When completely cooled, we will add the butter, one tablespoon at a time.  Let the butter incorporate before adding the other tablespoon.  When all the butter is mixed in, add the honey and the vanilla.  Mix until blended.

This is an Italian Buttercream, so smooth and sooo…. rich.

SAM_0208Now the fun part, let’s decorate our cupcakes!   I used a pastry bag without a tip, the opening is cut to less then a 1/2 inch in diameter.  I went around the cupcake, starting in the middle to create a beehive effect.  Then I decorated some with funky spikes.  To make the spikes place a dollop of icing on the cupcake then apply pressure and pull up and off, cover the top with the spikes.  Have fun with it!  You can use the icing sparingly, it is very rich.


Welcome Spring!  The cake is very light, you can taste the lemon, a tad of orange and the herbiness (not a word, but describes it well!) of the green tea.  Then comes a zing of lemon from the glaze and finally, the creamy, silkiness of the Honey Buttercream.  I enjoyed these cupcakes with a cup of tea.  You can always make them as mini cupcakes and serve them at a tea party.  I am a jumbo kinda gal!

After the long Winter we had in Pittsburgh, this is a great way to celebrate Spring!