Fall into autumn with this cozy and easy tea-essenced icing

Courtesy of Catherine Evans
Courtesy of Catherine Evans
Courtesy of Catherine Evans

With the autumn equinox a few days away, Sept. 22 will mark our official transition into a period of nippy air, blushing autumn leaves, crispy apples and days demanding warm drinks and tasty treats.

While the mainstream food industry has jumped the gun on pumpkin spice everything, the season is not always defined by these iconic orange squash, or cinnamon and nutmeg in a cup. Autumn is my favorite season, embodied by bursting expressions of nature. Somehow, it sparks more inspiration in my life, my thoughts, and in the kitchen. So why not learn to make your own icings, bring as much essence and rich flavor the fall season seem to demand?

It’s always cozy when the crisp, chilling air is accompanied by hot drinks and belly-warming meals. These are best shared with others over equally warm conversation.

But we all know the best part of any gather­ing is the long-awaited dessert. Far too often, the rich, refined flavors of cake become over­whelmed by store-bought icings or the odious whipped topping that looks much better than it tastes.

Over the years, my family has thrown out the off-the-shelf icing brands in exchange for easy, tasty and pure ingredients that enhance deli­cious flavor and sweeten sugar highs. Now you can learn to make your own icing that those homemade cakes have so long been craving to be coated in!

To make the icing, place butter into a small sauce pan and bring to a medium simmer. Open the tea bags and place the loose tea directly into melting butter.

Allow the mixture to heat for five to seven minutes, but careful not to have too much heat. Be sure to stir occasionally. Once prepared, the butter will give off a distinctive earl tea scent.

Strain the tea from the butter, and allow the butter to cool in a medium-size bowl for about ten minutes.

Add the sugar in parts (divided into thirds) to the rich earl grey butter, stirring until smooth. Repeat until all sugar is added or desired con­sistency is reached. And for a smoother, cream­ier flavor, mix in small amount of milk.

If you feel like you want a bit larger and thicker batch or stronger tea flavor, don’t be afraid to toss in more sugar or to add some loose tea directly into the buttercream! Prac­tice makes perfect.

Mix and match your desired pairings and flavor combinations. The time for tasty treats abounds, and if it hasn’t crossed your mind, I hope it has now. These icings go great on cakes and cookies as well as a shameless spoonful of deliciousness and sugar coma extremes. The best part is they can be used and adapted to meet all your dessert needs throughout the year. My recent cake conquests were a deli­cious Lovely Lavender Icing + Chocolate Cake and the Earl Grey Buttercream + Lemon Pop­pyseed Cake.

And of course, as the anticipation for fall weather arises and an escape from the heat is in sight, don’t forget to gather around the table and enjoy the bounty. Grab some friends. Get the coffee a-brewing. And set aside time to take in the enlivening fall foliage, appreciate people coming together, the gift of warming company and the opportunity to slice into a delicious piece of perfectly iced cake. Or two! Or maybe three?

This icing is a huge crowd pleaser, especially for family and friends with allergies or dietary restrictions. With minimal ingredients, this recipe cuts out harmful hydrogenated oils and corn syrup. You’d never fathom how easy it is to make! This icing really shines when paired with a rich, moist chocolate cake.



  • Earl Grey Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 earl grey tea bags

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