Day 3 of the cupcake situation. I don’t seem to have gained a million pounds yet, but I have found my tolerance for sugar, something that no one thought I had. Today, I made a cupcake combining the two best stimulants in order to honor everypony’s favorite student, Twilight Sparkle.

Sparkles!

Sugar AND Caffeine!

There was a big debate as to whether Twilight Sparkle would drink black or green tea. I was on the green tea side of things, but we were evenly matched. Then I looked up and saw Lady Grey tea with little lavender flowers in it, and I immediately thought it was a perfect fit. I made a bunch extra of these, and am donating them to a local university’s newspaper office tomorrow for their production night. Also, they’re delicious!

Lady Grey with Lavender tea purple cupcake with lavender buttercream frosting in navy with purple and pink accents and a glitter dust.

A refined yet powerful taste is the mark of this unique cupcake, inspired by Celestia’s top student, Twilight Sparkle. Lady Grey tea with dried lavender blossoms are ground and mixed into the pale purple batter, accented perfectly by buttercream with the faintest hint of fresh lavender, dyed and piped to mimic the colors of Twilight’s hair. Finally a touch of glitter is dusted along the surface. And did I mention that it has trace amounts of caffeine from the tea leaves? Every student needs more caffeine.

Cupcakes forever!

See the sparkles? See them?!

Now for the boring-unless-you-want-to-eat-them part:

Cupcake:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 ¾ cup flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 teaspoons Lady Grey tea with Lavender (loose leaf preferred, can be harvested from bags)*

Blue and red or purple food color

Heat half of the milk in saucepan over low to medium heat. When warmed, add 1 teaspoon of Lady Grey leaves and gently stir till milk begins to simmer. Remove from heat and steep for five minutes, and then strain leaves. Mix other half of milk and let settle to room temperature. Grind the remaining 3 teaspoons of tea leaves in a coffee grinder, food processor or blender.

Cream butter with ¼ cup sugar. Slowly add the remaining sugar. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl (including tea leaves), add wet ingredients to milk. Slowly add to the butter in installments, starting with milk. Blend until combined. Add food color until it reaches slightly less than your desired color (it darkens when baked). Fill lined cupcake pan cups half full. Only half full, they rise a lot and stick badly. Bake mini cupcakes for 8-10 minutes and full sized cupcakes for 17-20 minutes. Rotate once through baking. Allow to cool completely.

The purple color, for me, took about 16 drops of blue and 24 drops of red. I think I’d like to cut slightly back on the red ratio, and slightly back on the dye to get the color absolutely perfect. It got darker after I baked them.

did not cooperate

Picture break! Also, purple!

Frosting:

6 tablespoons butter

1 pound of confectioners sugar

About ¼ cup of milk or any combination of light or heavy cream

½ teaspoon vanilla

2 sprigs fresh lavender, no flowers (3 sprigs dry lavender)*

Food dye proper to make navy blue, bright pink and royal purple.

Cut the lavender into small, 1/8 segments (don’t be precise, just free the juices). Heat milk in saucepan as for the cupcakes, but add the lavender instead of tea. Remove from heat and allow to steep for at least five minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding.

Cream butter. Add a small amount of sugar and mix until it blends. Continue slowly adding half the sugar. Beat in vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk. Slowly add the rest of the sugar. Add milk in 1 tablespoon increments until it reaches the desired consistency (make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl at least once near the end!).

If making colored stripes: Remove no more than ¼ cup of frosting into each of two bowls (or simply use your judgment for what you’ll need to color). Color one bowl bright pink, and the other bowl royal purple. In main bowl, dye to a navy blue (this can be achieved with a crap ton of blue and a large amount of black, added in small increments). Prepare piping bag with large zigzag tip and carefully lay pink frosting down in a line up the side, about ½ inch thick and between ½ and 1 inch wide. Repeat with the purple directly alongside. Carefully spoon in the blue and prepare to pipe. (method here, use spatula method http://www.wilton.com/decorating/icing/coloring-icing.cfm)

Colorful

From top down, what it should look like.

Assembly:

1 vial of edible white pearl powder**

Food brush***

Assembly

Paint brush used only for food, and vial of pearl powder.

Finally, an easy assembly! Pipe the frosting straight up, to mimic the straight lines of Twilight’s hair style. Refill bag as needed. When all cupcakes are frosted, dip brush in pearl powder. Hold brush several inches above cupcake and gently blow straight down onto the cupcake. Repeat until desired sparkle is reached.

*If you can’t find Lady Grey with lavender, Earl Grey could be used, but it has a more citrusy flavor. I’d recommend getting Lady Grey and then buying extra lavender to mix in when you get the lavender for the frosting. If you can’t find any, look for a local tea shop, a well stocked loose leaf tea shop will have dried herbs like lavender (and I mean a real one, not Teavana (which is good, but sort of like the Starbucks of loose leaf teas). I personally shop at Prestogeorge’s in Pittsburgh. They have an online list and they ship, and have dried lavender and a million types of tea.

**You can find pearl powders in the cake decorating aisles of craft stores. They’re not expensive, but they’re also not super cheap, and they last forever.

***I use a normal paintbrush that has never been used for anything other than food.

This recipe makes 1.5 dozen cupcakes, with just enough frosting for all. I doubled it, since my blender was unhappy with 3 teaspoons of tea, but fine with 6, and so I’m giving the rest to overworked college kids. Yay for sharing!

Last one!

It felt left out, I had to add it.

Yes, the cupcakes were staged on a book. Twilight likes books, right?

And seriously. Half full. Trying to peel these off the pan is a pain, and you do not want to do it.

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