Scottish Teatime Cupcake Recipe

Hi everyone. Welcome back! I was poking around on the internet recently in search of recipe ideas for this blog, and I happened to come across one that really grabbed my attention. It is a recipe for Scottish Teatime Cupcakes, published by a food blogger named Katie on her web site Butterlust. It looks like a great site. Check it out. This particular cupcake recipe combines two of my favorite Scottish foods – tea and shortbread – into one delectable treat. What’s better than that?! These were a big hit with Mr. C, who said they taste like expensive boutique cupcakes. I’d say that’s a win! So without further ado, here’s the recipe.


Scottish Teatime Cupcake Recipe 

(makes ≈ 10 large cupcakes)

Ingredients for the Tea Cupcakes:

2/3 C whole milk

5 black tea bags (I used tea from the Edinburgh Tea & Coffee Company)

1 ¾ C cake flour (*see notes)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 C sour cream

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 C vegetable oil

3/4 C sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

Ingredients for the Shortbread Buttercream:

1 C butter (2 sticks), room temperature

3 C powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

15 shortbread cookies, finely ground (I used Walker’s)

Instructions for the Tea Cupcakes:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350° F/177° C.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. Warm milk in microwave. Once hot, add tea bags and steep for at least a half hour, up to overnight (*see notes).  
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. Add sour cream and vanilla to the tea mixture. Set aside.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and oil until well combined. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.  
  6. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture, mixing until barely combined. Add the tea mixture and mix until just combined. Add the remaining half of the flour mixture and mix just until the batter comes together. 
  7. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove cupcakes from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Instructions for the Shortbread Buttercream:

  1. With an electric mixer, cream butter for 5-7 minutes or until it is fluffy and light in color.
  2. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar in one cup increments, mixing well between additions. Add vanilla and mix well.
  3. Add the shortbread crumbs to the icing and mix well, saving a little for the garnish.


Fit a pastry bag with the pastry tip of your choice and scoop icing into the bag. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish with reserved crumbs and/or shortbread cookies.  Enjoy!

Cupcakes with icing on little white cupcake stands.


  1.  You may be wondering what the difference is between cake flour and all-purpose flour.  I wondered that too.  I learned that “cake flour is a flour that is very finely milled from soft winter wheat. It has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, and it is finer, lighter, and softer. It’s also bleached, so the color is paler and the grain is less dense.”  (  Click on the ‘bakingamoment’ link to read more about its characteristics as well as what you can use as a substitution should you not be able to find any.
  2. Heating the milk/steeping the tea:  You’ll obviously want to be careful when heating the milk or you might end up with curdles.  I warmed mine in the microwave on 50% power in one minute increments until I felt that it was hot enough to make tea.  I then steeped the teabags for about 30 minutes, although I think next time I might try an hour to see if I can achieve a stronger flavor.

Well that’s it for today, friends. Let me know if you make this cupcake recipe! I wish each of you a fabulous week. See you again soon.


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