CHEFs & TEA
As part of our new Spotlight series “Chefs & Tea”, we are excited to start the series with Rebecca Miller Ffrench, event planner, journalist and author of Sweet Home. Rebecca’s work has appeared in numerous national magazines including Condé Nast’s Cookie, Real Simple Family, Martha Stewart Weddings, Better Homes & Gardens, in addition to her appearances and design work on Good Morning America, NBC’s Today in NY, The Today Show, and Regis and Kelly Live!
Using Napoleona Tea Company’s Jasmine green tea and Honeybush Vanilla rooibos for the frosting, Rebecca came up with these delicious little cupcakes. See our interview with Rebecca following the recipe. Enjoy!
Jasmine Green Tea Cupcakes with Honeybush Vanilla Frosting by Rebecca Miller Ffrench
Jasmine gives a subtle hint of floral to these cupcakes, which have a moist, tender crumb. The creamy frosting, infused with Honeybush Vanilla rooibos, ensures every bite is flavorful. Napoleona’s jasmine green tea is especially ethereal—it’s smooth, sweet and fragrant—the flavor is key to the taste of these cupcakes.
Makes about 14 cupcakes
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon Napoleona Tea Jasmine green tea
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Honeybush Vanilla Frosting
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons Napoleona Tea Honeybush Vanilla rooibos
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a standard cupcake pan with paper liners.
2. Heat the milk in a small pan over medium heat until small bubbles start to form at the edges of the pan. When this happens, turn off the heat and add the green tea, allowing it to steep for 10 minutes.
3. After 10 minutes, strain the milk, pressing the tea leaves gently with a spoon to get as much milk as possible. You should yield about 1/3 cup of milk. Set aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. Next, combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream for 5 minutes on high until light and fluffy, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
7. When the milk has cooled, add it and the flour mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat well after each addition, for about 20 seconds, making sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined, again stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
8. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean or with a few small crumbs attached. Do not overbake or allow the cupcakes to brown, they should be pale. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.
9. Make the frosting: Repeat the same procedure for steeping the milk as directed for the cupcakes. Put the milk in the refrigerator to ensure that it is completley cooled before using.
10. Put the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for 4 minutes. Add 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour in thet milk and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the rest of the confectioner’s sugar and continue to beat until the desired consistency is achieved. Use to frost the cooled cupcakes.
Rebecca Miller Ffrench,
contributor of Jasmine Green Tea Cupcakes with Honeybush Vanilla Frosting
NT: You are launching your second book later this year–where are you now in the process?
RF: I am in the recipe development/testing stage. I’m finessing the recipes, ensuring they are 100% user-friendly for launching in January, 2015.
NT: How has your focus evolved from your first book, Sweet Home?
Sweet Home is a desserts-only cookbook focusing on preserving family heritage through recipes. While my family and I will always enjoy sweets, I’ve turned my attention toward healthier recipes that incorporate superfoods such as chia seeds, goji berries and teas—green, white and black—which are rich in antioxidants.
NT: Sweet Home is so much more than a recipe book–it is a celebration of special moments,of desserts that make a home. What can readers anticipate from your upcoming book?
Much more than desserts. Fast, healthy recipes for every meal whipped up in a blender–the book is called The Ultimate Blender Cookbook. Using the blender makes it easy to add protein, antioxidants and fiber in your diet. There will be sweets too, but with a more healthful twist such as gluten- or dairy-free.
NT: You have been inspired in your writing by your family history and tradition–what is one lesson that rings true to how you bake/make desserts now for your own family?
I have learned, just like my mother and grandmother do, to always use the freshest, highest-quality ingredients you have access to, no matter what you’re preparing, desserts or otherwise. It not only affects the taste, but the nutritional value. We need to be conscious of what we put in our bodies, and when we’re procuring ingredients ourselves, we can ensure they’re wholesome.
NT: What is your favorite recipe source/cookbook for information and inspiration?
I’m really enjoying high-end publications these days such as Sweet Paul and Kinfolk, and their blogs too. There are so many incredible bloggers I feel I find a new favorite every week.
NT: You have created a number of delectable sweet recipes using tea –what are you working on right now?
I was working on baked goods including green tea cupcakes and chamomile lavender shortbread, but now am moving into Early Grey and Sri Lankan Chai Tea ice creams and sorbets.
NT: How can we keep up on what you are developing next as a writer, teacher, baker?
You can visit my blog sweet-home.com.
NT: What’s one thing readers-and drinkers of tea–might not know about you?
Tea is my one huge splurge. I drink specialty teas (like Napoleona) every day. I have so many canisters and jars filled with teas, including some rarer ones—that I had to dedicate an entire shelf in my pantry to them. I also fully enjoy iced tea!