Dessert / Menu / Recipes

Nothing’s (Earl) Grey About These Dublin Smog Cupcakes

I was in the mood for some Earl Grey cupcakes when I learned that the combination of Baileys and Earl Grey was known as a “Dublin Smog.” I chuckled to myself because that is about par for the course when it comes to Irish humor. After all, they nickname their famous monuments “The Tart with the Cart,” “Tone Henge,” and “The Stiletto In the Ghetto.” (There are many more but I don’t think I can talk about them here).

Anyways, I digress. The “Dublin Smog” is a take on the London Fog, a tea latte made with Earl Grey and vanilla syrup. I was trying to decide what to do with some leftover Baileys white chocolate ganache from our Baileys cheesecake bars and stumbled across an Irish version of the well-loved drink. I thought, why not cupcake it? 

The only thing is, I don’t love buttercream. I know, I know, queue up the throwing rocks. But I’ve always been more of a cake-over-frosting person? OK, I KNOW YOU’RE MAD. Anyways, The best frosting I’ve found to suit my tastes usually involves whipped cream to lighten it up a bit. Combine that with Baileys and the white chocolate ganache and voila! You’re going to love these. 

The frosting needs to be started the night before, but it’s so worth it. The Earl Grey flavor works so well with the Baileys and white chocolate. For this recipe I used the Cream Earl Grey from local teamaker Fraser Tea, based in Livonia. They are a lovely small business with so many great varieties of tea! 

These cupcakes will do nicely while I wait to travel internationally once more (pandemic blues), and try a true Dublin Smog for myself. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends!

Earl Grey "Dublin Smog" Cupcakes with Baileys Whipped Ganache Frosting

Yield: 12 Cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

These Earl Grey cupcakes - inspired by the "Dublin Smog" tea latte - are topped with a delicious whipped white chocolate Baileys frosting that will have you jigging in your boots before you know it.


Whipped Ganache Frosting

  • 1 cup heavy cream (divided)
  • 1 cup high quality white chocolate chips (see notes) 
  • 3 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 bag Earl Grey tea (I used Fraser Tea’s Cream Earl Grey) 

Cupcake Batter

  • 1/2 cup half and half (or whole milk) 
  • 2 bags Earl Grey tea
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


    Prepare the frosting the night before. On a stovetop, heat ½ cup of heavy whipping cream until just boiling. Pour over the white chocolate chips (in a heatproof bowl), let sit for 5 minutes and then whisk until completely smooth. Set the ganache aside to cool. When the ganache reaches room temperature, cover and chill in the fridge overnight. Separately, steep one bag of Earl Grey in the remaining ½ cup of heavy cream (no need to heat), then refrigerate overnight.  

    The next day, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 muffin tin with cupcake liners.

    On the stovetop, heat the half and half until just boiling. Steep the remaining tea bags for about 5 minutes.

    Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. With a mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes, or until fluffy and well combined. Pause halfway through to scrape down your beater and bowl. Reduce speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time, letting them mix until well combined after each addition. Add in vanilla extract.

    Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, then about 1/2 of the tea-infused half and half. Beat until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour and the rest of the half and half. Add in the remaining flour. Turn speed to medium and mix until all flour is incorporated, about 1 minute.

    Divide batter evenly into muffin cups, spooning each cup about 3/4 full (I use a medium ice cream scoop to help with this). Bake for 16 - 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the tin and allow to cool on a rack.

    While the cupcakes are in the oven, finish the frosting. When you remove the white chocolate ganache, it will be soft and not solid like regular chocolate ganache. Use the whisk attachment on your mixer and whip on low speed, gradually working up to high speed until the ganache is light and fluffy, about one minute.

    Stream in the remaining 1/2 cup of cream and Baileys, then whip on low speed working your way up until soft peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. 

    When the cupcakes are cool, dollop or pipe the frosting. Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any!), they will last in the refrigerator up to 5 days.


Use high-quality white chocolate chips (not Nestle or Ghirardelli - it needs to have cocoa butter in it), and make sure they are new. Using old ones can result in this recipe not working correctly and the white chocolate will not melt properly.

Adapted from Whisk & Whiskers and What the Fork.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 192mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 0gSugar: 23gProtein: 4g

1 Comment

  • Fraser Tea
    March 17, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Hi there Chelsea! Your earl grey cupcakes looks super moist and delicious. Wishing you a super day ahead.


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