So for Iron Cupcake Earth this month, you are supposed to come up with a cupcake based on something that warms you up. Now I'm not one for warm stuff generally. I don't drink coffee. I'll occasionally have tea (at work) or hot chocolate (with the kids), but it's not a normal thing for me.
However, there is this one certain drink that even the smell alone makes me feel all warm and snuggly. And that is Russian Tea.
My mom discovered Russian Tea when I was in my early teens I think. The smell of citrus, tea, and cloves instantly brings to mind a zillion different Christmas, New Years, or family winter birthday dinners. But more than anything, the smell just screams Mom. So when Iron Cupcake mentioned warmth, I knew Russian Tea was the way to go.
You can just barely see the filling in there...
I guess I should start with Mom's recipe for Russian Tea...
8 c water
2 c sugar
6-8 tea bags
1 tsp cloves (or more depending on taste)
1 tsp allspice berries (optional)
1 c orange juice
1 c pineapple juice
1/4-1/2 lemon juice
Mix the water and sugar in a decent size pot and add the cloves and allspice. Boil for 5 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and add the tea bags and let steep for about 5 min. Remove the tea bags, add all the juices and put back on the stove to simmer. Let it sit and simmer until you're ready to drink. Mom likes it warm but I think it's just as good cold.
Now on to the cupcakes. I wanted something that used a pretty decent amount of Russian Tea in the batter so that the taste would really come through. So I decided on Angel Food since I like to use powdered egg white and can reconstitute them with any liquid without changing the texture of the cake.
12 egg white (I used 1/4 c powdered egg whites and 3/4 c cooled Russian Tea)
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
|1.||Combine the powdered whites and tea in a mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.|
|2.||Meanwhile, sift confectioners' sugar and flour together three times; set aside. Add cream of tartar, extracts and salt to egg whites; beat on high speed. Gradually add sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Fold in flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time. Gently spoon into a prepared cupcake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely before removing cake from pan.|
For the filling, I wanted to add more citrus so I made a curd using the juices in the tea. And I even added the cloves and allspice as it cooked. If I were to do it over again, I would cut down or even eliminate the spices, but I was still pretty pleased with it once I got it in the cupcakes.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
a splash of lemon juice
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
I always have to add some cornstarch (start w a teaspoon)
|1.||In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar. Stir in juices, butter and cornstarch. Cook over simmering water for 15 minutes or until thickened.|
The frosting was pretty simple since I went with an old favorite and just added a bit of Russian Tea to my cream cheese frosting.
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cup confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons Russian Tea
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
|1.||Beat cream cheese and butter in a bowl until combined. Beat in powdered sugar and Russian Tea.|
|2.||Beat in 3-4 cups more of powdered sugar till frosting is of spreading consistency.|
Anyway, I was pretty happy with them!
I should also mention that, since I'll be submitting this to Iron Cupcake, there are some incredible prizes to win including:
So wish me luck folks!