Earl Grey Cream Cheese Frosting

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.

Microground Earl Grey is available for purchase from Sloane, Genuine Tea, Tea Squared, and many more local tea companies. I’ve tried these three and liked them all.

Earl Grey Cream Cheese Frosting

Earl Grey Simple Syrup adds strong flavour and silky smoothness to this easy cream cheese frosting.
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #afternoontea, #creamcheese, #creamcheesefrosting, #earlgrey, #earlgreysimplesyrup, #pumpkinspice, #pumpkinspicemuffins

Ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 heaping tbsp microground Earl Grey tea
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

This simple syrup makes a nice sweet flavouring for whipped cream as well! Or you can use sugar and microground tea, but give it time to sit to allow the flavour to permeate the fat in the cream. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Earl Grey in Moscow

Fall is here and not a minute too soon. The best of summer is behind us, but there are many beautiful nights ahead. But what to drink? You don’t always want something super-fruity and tropical, but neither is it time for hot buttered rum. (Have you ever tasted that, actually?)

Without the simple syrup, this is a lovely, light cocktail.

Here’s a lovely cocktail for shoulder season. You can make it alcohol-free, too, but the alcohol in this is so subtle, it melds into the other flavours. I used vodka as a blank slate upon which to blend them: you want more of the bergamot, the orange, and the tea leaf against the milk, with the alcohol just barely there.

This is my idea of a White Russian but with tea. I start with a cup of my Iced London Fog recipe, which is basically Earl Grey tea cold-steeped in milk overnight with honey and vanilla. Then I add the vodka (plain is fine, but Grey Goose orange is delightful here), orange liqueur and my special Earl Grey Simple Syrup. I often keep this tea-milk in the fridge, using it as a host for protein powder as often as for vodka.

Make an instant iced Earl Grey Tea Latte with this super-strong
simple syrup.

I say special because unlike most Earl Grey simple syrups, which are made from an infusion of tea leaves that are strained out, this sweet goo is made using microground tea. Tea leaves ground down into a silty, fine-grained powder made for tea lattes. Except here they are suspended (mostly) in sugar syrup. This provides viscosity and texture for a full, smooth mouthfeel, and intensity of flavour moderated by the sweetness.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to soak some loose leaf tea in milk overnight, then just use plain milk. This syrup will bring you up to speed real quick. Simply add an extra spoonful. Just remember that you are ingesting the tea leaves, not drinking an infusion, so while it will hit you a little more slowly, both the caffeine and theanine will arise in your nervous system with greater intensity. In a delightful, blissful, mellow manner. A drop of vanilla wouldn’t hurt, either, since that’s in a London Fog. Or better yet, throw a spent vanilla bean in the syrup when you make it.

The recipe for the Earl Grey Simple Syrup is found here. Five minutes to a fabulously versatile and full-bodied ingredient!

Earl Grey in Moscow

An iced London Fog with vodka and orange liqueur, with a special syrup for extra flavour.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: #earlgrey, #earlgreysimplesyrup, #londonfog, #microgroundtea, #teacocktail, #teacocktails

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Iced London fog or plain whole milk (see below)
  • 1 ½ oz. vodka
  • ½ oz. orange liqueur
  • 1-4 tsp. Really, Really Strong Earl Grey Simple Syrup (see below)

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a cocktails shaker filled with ice. Shake until frothy.
  • Pour over more ice.
  • Garnish with orange of any kind.

Notes

Iced London Fog recipe here
If using Iced London Fog for a base, add 1-2 tsp. Earl Grey simple syrup. 
If using plain milk, add 3-4 tsp. Earl Grey simple syrup, to taste. 
For Really, Really Strong Earl Grey Simple Syrup, go here
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Really, Really Strong Earl Grey Simple Syrup

Hello Darlings. I trust you all know what a simple syrup is, yeah? And with very little imagination, it is easy enough to conceive that an Earl Grey simple syrup might mean the addition of some tea leaves to boiled sugar water, right? So far, so good.

I’ve decided that more is better and have used microground tea in my simple syrup. You’ll get more tea flavour, more caffeine, more texture and mouthful, and more intensity in every possible way. Because who wants weak stuff? We want every ingredient to have an impact, and this certainly does.

Microground tea dissolves very easily in warm liquid, as it was meant to do. It still leaves some residue at the bottom of the cup; it is not clear like a typical tea infusion. It’s more like cocoa powder. (They could be friends!) So you are actually ingesting tea leaf, but in most recipes we’ll make with this syrup, we won’t be using much, just a little FYI for the very caffeine-sensitive among us.

Milled in the same style as matcha, microground tea is a fine powder that is meant to dissolve easily, while delivering flavour and texture.

This super-strong, slightly silty syrup is fabulous in anything cream based. Like cream-cheese frosting, or whipped cream (perhaps an icebox cake with poached apricots?), ice-cream, etc. It was designed for a hot Earl Grey tea latte, but once it’s in syrup form it blends equally well into cold liquid. Which is perfect for my delicious cocktail, an Earl Grey in Moscow. (Recipe coming soon!)

Not pretty, but pretty potent!

This cocktail starts with my Iced London Fog, an Earl Grey tea cold-brewed in milk. Well, why bother with that, when you can get straight to it with the strong syrup? In fact, no need at all. I do like to double down, and I do like the clarity and slight thickness that comes from leaves steeped in milk. This is fine-tuning and layering, but if you don’t keep a jugful of my Iced London Fog in the house in warm weather (which you should), then by all means grab the blunt instrument and have at it. You’ll have a fabulous cocktail either way.

Other uses? A little oomph to some caramel sauce. Drown that syrup with some fresh-squeezed lemon juice in water to make lemonade, or better yet, in some beer to make an Earl Grey shandy. (Not in champagne, though. Too cloudy!) Use it in a custard, or a meringue, or with some freshly squeezed and zested orange for a dressing on fruit salad….

Have fun with it! And let me know what you get up to!

Really, Really Strong Earl Grey Tea Simple Syrup

Simple syrup made with microground tea rather than tea leaves or bags. Potent and with a lovely thick texture.
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: #earlgrey, #earlgreysimplesyrup, #microgroundtea, #simplesyrup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 heaping tbsp microground Earl Grey tea

Instructions

  • Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the powdered tea, stirring until smooth.
  • Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • Store in the fridge.

Notes

Feel free to add a spent vanilla bean to the syrup as you make it. Won’t hurt one bit! 
I used Tea Squared’s London Really Foggy Micro-Ground Tea Latte
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!