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Boba Tea Cupcakes. Milk tea cupcakes filled with brown sugar boba and frosted with milk tea buttercream.

Boba Tea Cupcakes

These Boba Tea Cupcakes are made with milk tea cupcakes, filled with brown sugar boba, and frosted with milk tea buttercream.
Prep Time: 3 hrs
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 3 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Asian
Keyword: tea cupcakes, boba cupcakes, milk tea cupcakes, boba milk tea
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: Maryanne Cabrera

Ingredients

Tea Infusion Prep:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 bags black tea

Cupcakes:

  • ½ cup tea infused milk, room temp
  • 3 large egg whites, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup tea infused butter, room temp, softened
  • ¾ cup (154 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cup (195 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Brown Sugar Boba:

  • 1 cup dried tapioca balls
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar

Milk Tea Buttercream:

  • ½ cup tea infused butter **see note
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoon tea infused milk

Instructions

Tea Infusion Prep:

  • BUTTER: In a heavy bottom sauce pot, melt butter over low heat. Once completely melted, add 4 black tea bags. Remove from heat. Cover pot and let tea steep for 30 minutes.
  • Return pot to low heat. Re-melt butter. Once butter is melted, remove from heat, cover pot, and let tea steep for another 30 minutes.
  • Return pot to low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat. Strain out tea bags and squeeze out as much liquids as possible. Discard used tea bags. Pour tea infused butter into a heat safe container. Cover and let chill in the fridge until solid, preferrable overnight.
  • MILK: In in a heavy bottomed sauce pot, bring milk to a simmer. Add 4 black tea bags. Stir and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover pot and let tea steep for 30 minutes.
  • Strain out tea bags and squeeze out as much liquids as possible. Discard used tea bags. Pour tea milk into a heat safe container. Cover and let chill in the fridge until cold, preferrably overnight.

Cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard size muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup tea infused milk, egg whites, and vanilla. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream together ½ cup (113g ) tea infused butter and ¾ cup sugar until smooth. Add liquid milk-egg mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined. Mixture may look curdled at first. Continue to mix until combined. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to mixing bowl in two additions, mixing on low speed. Scrape down bowl as needed.
  • Evenly distribute cupcake batter among prepared muffin tin, filling each paper liner about ⅔ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Rotate muffin tin midway through baking for even cooking. Allow cupcakes to cool in tin for 10 minutes before unmolding. Allowing cupcakes to completely cool on wire rack. Cupcakes may be frosted once cooled to room temperature.

Brown Sugar Boba:*

  • Fill a heavy bottomed sauce pot with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil. Add in 1 cup dried tapioca pearls. Stir to combine and distribute pearls. Allow mixture to continue boiling for about 35-40 minutes, until pearls look gelatinous.
  • Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for another 15 minutes until pearls are soft and chewy. Add brown sugar and continue to simmer until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool. As mixture cools, the syrup with thicken. Keep warm until ready to use.

Milk Tea Buttercream:

  • Measure out remaining tea infused butter. You should have about 2 oz/57 g (¼ cup) left. Add enough softened unsalted butter until you have 4 oz/113 g (½ cup) of butter total.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar in three additions. Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Add vanilla, pinch of salt, and 3 Tablespoons of remaining tea infused milk. Mix on medium speed until smooth. If buttercream is too thick add another 1 tablespoon of tea infused milk. Use immediately, or keep covered until ready to use.

Assembly:

  • Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small round cookie cutter (or apple corer, melon baller or fat end of piping tip) to punch out a shallow cavity on top of each cupcake.
  • Spoon about 2 teaspoons of strained warm brown sugar boba into each cavity. (Don't add too much liquid because it will make the cupcakes too sweet.)
  • Use a medium cookie scoop to cover cavity with milk tea buttercream. Use a mini offset spatula (or the back of a spoon) to spread the buttercream. Create a little crater in the center of the frosting, allowing the edges of the cupcake to have higher sides than the center of the cupcake. This will serve as a barrier.
  • Spoon about a small amont of strained warm brown sugar boba over frosting. Enjoy immediately!!

Notes

Cupcakes can be baked two days in advance.
Do not assemble cupcakes until ready to serve! 

Ingredient Notes:

  • 4 black tea bags is equivalent to 2 ½ teaspoon loose leaf black tea. 
  • Choose from a variety of black teas: English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Masala Chai, Assam, Ceylon Black Tea, etc. 
  • I don't suggest using jasmine tea or green tea for this recipe. 
  • Tea Infused Butter: after melting and steeping, the initial 1 cup (8 oz) of butter will reduce to about 3/4 cup (6 oz). You will need to add additional unsalted butter to make the buttercream.  

Boba/Tapioca Pearl Notes:

  • Try this homemade boba tapioca pearls recipe. It only takes 3 ingredients! 
  • I purchased my dried tapioca pearls from Ten Ren. I frequent the location on Broadway (LA Chinatown). They sell large 6.5 pound bags-which roughly makes 100 servings of boba.
  • The dried tapioca pearls I used are already flavored with caramel and maple syrup.
  • There are two types of tapioca pearls: one has a long cooking time while the other one is par-cooked allowing for a much shorter cooking time. I prefer the longer cooking one.
  • Tapioca pearls are best eaten within hours of cooking. DO NOT refrigerate. The pearls will harden to a rubbery consistency.