This feels like a good time to remind you that I have the best ever pumpkin spice muffin recipe in the whole wide world. I don’t care what renowned bakers you may refer to; unless they are using this recipe, their pumpkin muffin recipe is not the best. Stays moist for days, full of protein, spiced just right. Works as a loaf, too.
This time I made the muffin batter in an 8X8 inch pan as a snacking cake, since I thought that would make a lovely host for my Earl Grey Cream Cheese Frosting. Turns out, I was right!
Cream cheese frosting can be sticky, gummy or sickly sweet due to the use of powdered sugar. Not only does it have a particular taste, but it has thickners that mess with the texture of your frosting. Plain granulated sugar can have a gritty, tooth-scratching mouthfeel. I have used my Really, Really Strong Earl Grey Simple Syrup to add silky sweetness and Earl Grey flavour. And I don’t mean just bergamot—with this recipe, you get the flavour of the microground tea as well. Because it’s dissolved into syrup, you have no silty texture to trouble you one bit. I have made the syrup here a little stronger than the original recipe to stand up to the cream cheese.
I tried Stella Park’s trick of whipping some cream first and adding that to the cream cheese, but the little bits of cream cheese were too many and too large for my liking. You’ll always get a few tiny little lumps with cream cheese, but if you use the whip attachment, they’ll be imperceptible. Whipping cream also made this too soft, and there’s really no need, since the powdered tea and sugar have both dissolved in the hot water already.
This frosting is perfect for orange cake, carrot cake, soft pumpkin cookies (NYT has a great new recipe). It would even be nice on a delicate white cake, layered thin and alternating with marmalade. Anywhere you might like a cream cheese frosting. Plus a little extra.
What is microground tea? Also known as superfine or latté blend tea, microground tea is the actual tea leaf that has been slowly ground down to a dissolvable powder that blends easily into milk. Turns out, make a great addition to baking as well. Not to mention cocktails, like my Earl Grey in Moscow.
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 heaping tbsp microground Earl Grey tea
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Boil water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add microground tea and do the same.
- Turn off heat. Add vanilla extract. If you have some old vanilla beans hanging around, you can throw them in too, but they tend to be drowned out by the tea.
- Let cool to room temperature. Easy enough to make ahead, especially before you start your cake/muffins/loaf/what-have-you.
- Dice one block of cream cheese and add to bowl of stand mixer. Add in Earl Grey Simple syrup slowly on low to blend, then use whisk attachment to whip until light and throughly blended, about 3-4 minutes.
- Chill until needed. Enjoy!