Iced tea + lemonade = a perfectly refreshing summertime beverage. This time, it’s in cupcake form!
Arnold Palmers (or Half-and-Halfs, for my Bawlmer readers) are one of my favorite summertime drinks. Half lemonade, half iced tea. The best of both worlds.
Are you all familiar with this combination? I brought these cupcakes to work and was pretty surprised at the number of people who did not know what an Arnold Palmer is.
This was the first recipe I decided to make from the Grandbaby Cakes cookbook that I gifted myself for my birthday. I do have my eye on a strawberry-rhubarb pound cake sort of business from that cookbook, as well. So hopefully you’ll see that sometime soon, too.
These cupcakes, though admittedly a little drab in appearance without the lemon and mint garnish, are flavorful, sweet, and tangy. Just like a good Arnold Palmer.
This recipe comes from the lovely cookbook Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories. This recipe will also make a 9-inch round 3-layer cake (which is what she does in the cookbook), but I opted for cupcakes for ease of portability and sharing.
You’ll need (makes 2 dozen cupcakes and probably more frosting than you’ll need):
For the cupcakes –
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon oil or 6 tbs lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the buttercream frosting –
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 4 bags black tea (English Breakfast, Lipton, etc.)
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- lemon slices and mint leaves, optional (for garnish)
To make the cupcakes – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with liners and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for a few minutes. Add the granulated sugar, and cream together with the butter for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
In two batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, vegetable oil, lemon oil/zest, and vanilla extract.
Fill the muffin tins 2/3 of the way. Bake 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick/knife comes out clean when inserted in the center. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
To make the buttercream – Boil the 1/2 cup of water and add the 4 tea bags. Allow them to steep for 45 minutes. Squeeze all of the liquid of of the tea bags before removing and discarding them. Cool the tea in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Beat the butter for 2 minutes before adding 2 cups of powdered sugar. Beat until incorporated. Add an additional two cups of powdered sugar, beating until combined again. Add the lemon extract and then slowly stream in the cooled tea. Add the remaining two cups of powdered sugar until the frosting reaches the desired stiffness. Beat for a few minutes on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy.
Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost them however you’d like. Top with lemon slices and mint leaves, if desired.