When people identify/greet me overseas, it’s never ‘Konichiwa’, ‘Ni hao’, the usual greetings that chinese people get. Instead, I get starred at for a while, before a ‘Where are you from!’ follows, and then a string of SEAsian countries ‘Vietnam! Thailand! Laos! Cambodia! Philippines?’. I always reply, disappointing them, that I am actually Chinese and from Singapore.
While I may not be Thai, that hasn’t stopped me from loving Thai food, drinks and desserts. A staple for me whenever I have Thai food, is definitely the scrumptious Thai Iced Milk Tea. All the spices mixed together with the tea, and the beautiful sweetness that is just a little too sweet, but yet so perfect, all come together to make this marvellous drink.
And that’s where I drew inspiration for these cupcakes.
I googled several recipes and found that I wasn’t the only one with such a love. Basically, most of these blogs did what I’d wanted to do. Take a favourite basic plain cupcake recipe, and then seep Thai tea into the milk (i.e. you replace the milk with Thai milk tea, just like how you’d make an earl grey cake). However, this one by Bowen Close stood out.
Instead of just using ordinary milk, she added condensed milk too, adding that sweet punch that makes the cupcake taste like you’re actually having the drink itself! It’s a fantastic recipe and I made little changes to it. If you do, however, want to just take your own basic recipe and modify it, do make the tea stronger than you’d drink it because the flavour tends to get lost in the oven.
Thai iced tea cake with condensed milk buttercream
Adapted from Bowen Appetit
Makes 24 cupcakes, two 8- or 9-inch round cakes, or one 9×13-inch sheet cake
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup condensed milk
- 3/4 cup Thai iced tea mix (see note, below)
- 2 3/4 cups cake flour (unsifted)
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) / 225g butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla (I left out vanilla in my recipe)
- One batch condensed milk buttercream, recipe below
Note: An awesome friend got me this Thai Tea mix somewhere in Bangkok. However, if I’m not wrong, you can get it from Golden Mile Complex in Singapore or order it online. Just Google away!
Another note: Close recommends resting the cupcakes for at least 24 hours before serving them and I’d say the same. The flavours get way more intense after that time.
Just one more note: I usually weigh my ingredients but since this once was in US units and looked weird after converting, I felt that I could do with units. Afterall, we do need a backup plan if our kitchen scale fails, right?
- Preheat oven to 175C. Prepare liners/cups (I like to use those that just stand without the tray).
- Heat milk and condensed milk over medium or medium-high heat until scalded – steaming with bubbles forming around the edge – stirring occasionally (Make sure not to burn the mix!). Add the tea mix, remove from heat, cover, and let sit 10 minutes.
- Pour through a sieve, coffee filter, or tea screen to strain out the tea. Let the mixture cool to somewhere between room temperature (a bit warmer is okay, too), using the refrigerator or freezer to cool down quickly if necessary.
Alternatively, you could prepare the tea mix the day before, strain out the tea leaves and bake the next day!
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer (stand or handheld) on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (4-6 minutes). Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla. Scrape down the beaters and the sides of the bowl as needed.
Always leave all your ingredients at room temperature. This prevents them from separating and helps them emulsify better when all the ingredients are incorporated.
- This is where I changed my method. Rather than using a machine, I folded in the flour and milk (alternate, starting with flour), by hand. I like to do this because it prevents me from over-folding and getting a dense cake. If you’ve got good eye power, however, feel free to just machine away!
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s), filling cupcake cups about 2/3 full. Bake 20-30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Use a skewer to check if it is done. It should come out clean.
- Let the cakes cool on wire rack.
Condensed Milk Swiss Meringue Buttercream
My own recipe
Instead of using Close’s buttercream recipe, I opted to use my own SMBC recipe and add condensed milk as I felt necessary.
- 185 grams egg whites (~ 6 large eggs)
- 240 grams granulated sugar
- 400 grams unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
- 2-4 tbsp of condensed milk (to taste)
- Place egg whites and sugar in mixing bowl and place on a bain marie (double boil it).
- Constantly whisking (to ensure that you don’t end up with scrambled egg whites!), take off heat once sugar is fully dissolved.
- Remove from heat and whisk till meringue is nice and glossy. The great thing is that it is unlikely you’ll overwhip the meringue. I like to make mine nice and stiff.
- Because the mixing bowl is still warm, get some ice to cool the sides of the bowl. You’ll be adding butter in soon and you wouldn’t want the butter to melt into oil!
- Add butter at intervals, mixing in one cube at a time to ensure that it is well incorporated.
- Keep whipping till you get a nice smooth luscious buttercream, then add the condensed milk.
- Frost the cupcakes, let them rest (it should be able to at room temperature or in the fridge if you find the weather too hot), and eat them after 24 hours.
Note: If you fridge the cupcakes, let them out for about 4 minutes before you serve. If not, you’ll get some rock hard buttercream.
Dig in & indulge in the decadent cupcake. With this, you don’t have to worry about Monday blues.
It’s going to be a rocking week everyone!