Earl Grey Tea Fairy Cakes


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    Small Fairy Cakes

Appears in

The Birthday Cake Book

The Birthday Cake Book

By Fiona Cairns

Published 2011

  • About

When I started my business around the kitchen table all those years ago, there was always a pot of Earl Grey tea on the go while we listened to Radio 4 as we worked! How things have changed... I have made these cakes with Earl Grey tea, but do make them with your favourite blend. Perfect for an afternoon tea party.


For the Fairy Cakes

  • 15 fairy cake paper cases
  • 200 ml whole milk
  • 3 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 100 g raisins (Lexia or Muscat if possible)
  • 10 crushed cardamom pods
  • 240 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 140 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100 g golden caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the Lemon Buttercream

  • 200 g unsalted butter, softened
  • finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 300 g icing sugar, sifted


To Bake

Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 160°C/340°F/gas mark 3½. Place the paper cases into two fairy cake tins.

Heat the milk in a saucepan until it comes to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the tea bags, raisins and crushed cardamom pods. Cover and leave for an hour or so at room temperature for all the delicious flavours to mingle together. Taste the milk, which should be really flavourful. Strain the milk, squeezing the milk from the tea bags. Squeeze the milk from the raisins and set aside separately. Discard the cardamom pods.

In a bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together. Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest for about five minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs slowly, adding a spoonful of flour if necessary to stop the mixture from curdling. Next mix in the Earl Grey milk in two batches. Fold in the remaining flour and lastly the raisins.

Divide the batter between the cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for a minute or two, then cool on a wire rack.

To make the buttercream, in an electric mixer, or with a hand-held electric whisk, beat the butter until really pale and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and icing sugar and continue to beat for about another five minutes until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice gradually and keep beating, tasting as you add it. You may not need all the juice.

To Decorate

To ice the cakes, spread the buttercream on to the little cakes and decorate with your chosen berries and edible flowers. Serve with a pot of Earl Grey tea.

To Decorate

  • a few blueberries, raspberries or blackberries
  • selection of small edible flowers, such as pansies, violas, rosebuds, rose petals or sweet geranium leaves