Lemon & Earl Grey Cupcakes

This recipe for Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes topped with Earl Grey Buttercream is a sure fire crowd pleaser. This is a grown up cupcake, that suits an adults pallet and loved by people who don’t like overly sweet or rich desserts.

Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Earl Grey Frosting

You will fall in love with this easy recipe for lemon and earl grey cupcakes.  These lemon ricotta cupcakes with earl grey frosting will impress even those who don’t normally like cake.  What makes these cupcakes the best ever? 

  • Perfect texture:  These cakes have a texture somewhere between a sponge and a mud cake.  They are addictively moist without being overly sweet or heavy.
  • Fluffy Icing:  My Earl Grey Ermine Buttercream is light and creamy and pipes beautifully.  Best of all, as there is no powdered sugar, it’s not sickly sweet.
  •  Easy Recipe: These cupcakes can be thrown together fairly quickly and don’t require a stand mixer.
Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Earl Grey Buttercream

Key Ingredients


The not so secret ingredient in this lemon ricotta cupcake recipe is ricotta. Using ricotta in the cake cuts through the sweetness and adds structure and body to the cake.

The result is a cupcake that has more body than a sponge cake, but is less dense than a mud cake (and certainly no where near as sweet).

Earl Grey Ermine Buttercream

There are lots of types of buttercreams out there, but for this recipe Ermine Frosting is the go to.

Ermine frosting (also known as flour or boiled milk frosting) is made by combining a liquid with sugar and flour over heat to make a pudding. This pudding is then added to whipped butter to give it both flavour and body . The result is a light creamy frosting that isn’t overly sweet.

The benefit of using Ermine Frosting is that we are able to incorporate a significant amount of tea into the frosting without destabilising it (as would happen if the same amount of liquid were add to an American or Meringue Buttercream).

More tea equals more flavour.

This recipe is adapted from Sugar Geek’s Ermine Frosting Recipe.

Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Earl Grey Buttercream

Equipment Needed

To make these lemon ricotta & earl grey tea cupcakes you’ll need:

  • A couple of mixing bowls
  • Cupcake cases
  • A hand held electric mixer
  • Piping Bags (optional)
  • Piping Nozzle (optional)

Nifty Tips to Nail this Recipe

Room Temperature Ingredients

If there is one thing that will take your baking to the next level, it’s taking the time to ensure your ingredients are the correct temperature.

For this lemon ricotta cupcake recipe that means making sure your ricotta, eggs, butter, milk are all at room temperature. This allows the butter to mix evenly through the batter and ensures the cupcakes rise evenly and have consistent texture through each cupcake.

For the earl grey ermine buttercream, make sure the pudding mixture is room temperature.  This will allow it to whip into the butter without causing the butter to harden or melt.

The Muffin Method

This lemon ricotta cupcake recipe is such an easy recipe. All it takes is mixing the dry ingredients and sugar in one bowl and wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Then fold it all together gently with a spatula until just combined.

This technique is called “the muffin method” and the trick to nailing this cake is to avoid over mixing the batter when the wet and dry ingredients are combined.

Storage Suggestions

These cupcakes can be stored for up to 3 days in the fridge, or 3 months in the freezer.

This is a great recipe to make ahead and freeze before an event.  I have had success freezing decorated and un-decorated cupcakes as well as cake batter.

The best way to freeze cupcakes (with or without frosting) is to pop them in an airtight container and put straight in the freezer.  

When you’re ready to serve these lemon ricotta cupcakes remove the container from the freezer and allow the cupcakes to thaw completely before opening it.  This was any condensation will form on the container (not the cupcakes).


These lemon & earl grey cupcakes are absolutely delicious as they are, however if your feeling adventurous try the following flavour additions:

  • Lemon cupcakes & Lemon Ermine Frosting: Replace the tea in the earmine frosting with 125ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice,
  • Lemon & Thyme cupcakes: add 1 teaspoon of Thyme to your cupcake batter.
  • Lemon, Earl Grey & Lavender: Sprinkle a little culinary lavender over your frosted cupcakes.
  • Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting: replace the milk and tea in the ermine frosting with 250ml of strawberry milk.

Lemon pairs lovely with so many flavours.  Check out my blog post 50+ cake flavour ideas, for more ideas.

BLOG: 50+ Cake Flavour Ideas

Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Earl Grey Frosting

I promise, you are absolutely going to love these lemon ricotta cupcakes with earl grey buttercream frosting.  

Could I ask you a huge favour?  If you do make these cupcakes please leave a review and comment below (it me helps a lot!).  You can follow along with my baking journey on Instagram: @Kylie’s Cakes

If you love trying new and interesting cupcake flavours, check these ones out:

lemon ricotta & earl grey cupcakes
Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Earl Grey Frosting

Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Earl Grey Buttercream

Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes topped with creamy Earl Grey Ermine Buttercream Frosting
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 12 cupcakes


  • 12 count muffin tin
  • electric hand mixer
  • Cupcake Liners


Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 120 grams softened butter
  • 1/2 cup ricotta room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 2 lemons

Earl Grey Frosting

  • 4 earl grey teabags
  • 125 ml boiling water
  • 220 grams caster sugar
  • 50 grams all purpose flour
  • 125 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 250 grams softened butter


Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes

  • Pre-heat your oven to 350 F (180 C) and line a 12 count muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Sift the flour, caster sugar, baking soda and salt into a bowl, then set aside.
  • Place the butter, ricotta and vanilla extract in a second bowl and whip it together using an electric hand held mixer. Mix for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the milk and the eggs, and mix together with a fork until all the wet ingredients are combined.
  • Use a fine grater to zest both lemons. Then juice 1 lemon.
  • Add the wet ingredients, lemon juice and lemon zest to the bowl of dry ingredients and gently fold the mixture together using a spatula.
    Be careful to stop mixing as soon as the batter has come together.
  • Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin tin. Transfer the muffin tin to the oven and bake for 17 minutes (or until just cooked through).
  • Once cooked transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

Earl Grey Buttercream

  • Place the teabags in 125 ml of boiling water and allow them to steep for 4 minutes. Then remove the teabags so the tea does not become bitter.
  • Next, place the flour, sugar & salt in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat and stir with a whisk for about 2 minutes until the flour toasts slightly.
  • Add the earl grey tea & the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously with your whisk to prevent the mixture from burning at the bottom of the saucepan. Using a whisk will minimize any lumps forming.
  • Add the vanilla extract and salt and continue mixing with your whisk until the mixture thickens.
  • Once the mixture is thick and goopy (like pudding), remove the saucepan from the heat, and transfer the mixture to a heat-proof container and allow it to cool completely.
    You can put this container in the fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling process, but make sure the mixture is room temperature before adding it to the butter.
  • Once the pudding has cooled. Place your softened butter in a bowl and whip it up using an electric mixer until it's light and fluffy.
  • Gradually add the earl grey pudding mixture to the whipped butter, one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Make sure each tablespoon of the mixture is incorporated before adding the next tablespoon.
  • Once all the earl grey pudding and butter is combined, transfer the buttercream to your piping bags and decorate your cupcakes.
    For these cupcakes I have used a Wilton 1M open star piping nozzle.
Tried this recipe?Mention @Kylies_cakes_ or tag #theniftybaker!

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