Bangkok & Thai Iced Tea Cupcakes

I’ve shared a bit about my weekends in Hong Kong and Phuket but nothing about my week in Bangkok, which is a little like giving someone Oreo cookies without the cream filling. And just like the cream filling, my time in Bangkok was incredibly sweet and rich. I learned an unbelievable amount, was humbled and challenged in exactly the ways travel should, and my world view broadened immensely.

Bangkok is a sprawling city.

The sheer size and great distance between sites, along with a lack of English signage,
made getting around a challenge. Accustomed to walking everywhere in Europe, you can imagine my surprise the first time I realized that crossing the street was going to be a real life game of Frogger!

But once my travel buddy and I got the hang of things, familiarized ourselves with the Skytrain, and hired a driver, our efforts were more than rewarded. Even in the tremendous heat, I was awed by the ornate temples,

(Photo taken at Grand Palace)
intricate mosaics,
(Wat Phra Kaew)

venerated Buddhas,

(Reclining Buddha)

powerful sculptures,

(Photo Taken at Wat Pho)

and gorgeous flora.

(Photo Taken at Golden Mount)

Having just come from Hong Kong, I was fascinated by the idea that Bangkok had never been colonized. As such, I was always on the lookout for “East meets West”,

like the abundance of 7-Eleven stores and paraphernalia,
(Tour Guide at Grand Palace)
a well-known shrine outside of an Alexander McQueen store,
(Erawan Shrine)
traditional modes of transport outside of a ubiquitous American coffee shop,
and the addition of red beans to a green tea frappuccino from said coffee shop.

Any and all of my quick success at navigating Bangkok can be attributed to the fantastic friends we visited there. Not only did they welcome us into their home warmly, but they wholeheartedly and generously shared their city with us. They ensured that we never had a bad meal

and that our days were filled with unique experiences, like visiting a Thai market
during an afternoon at Thai cooking school (more on that in another post!).
They were patient and indulgent with my incessant questions about Thai culture and politics and capably gave me rudimentary language lessons. I was determined to master key phrases like hello, thank you, and, most importantly, how to order a Thai iced tea. While my more advanced lessons in how to ask and answer, “Have you eaten rice today?” (the Thai equivalent of “What’s Up?”) are starting to fade, I can still confidently ask for Cha Nom Yen (or Thai Iced Tea).
(Photo Credit: Amy Weinstock)

Back home and wanting to share my new language skills without having to carry around a pitcher and glasses, I decided to bake Thai Iced Tea Cupcakes!

This recipe modifies the cake from Squirrels-n-Sweets and the frosting from Bowen Close of Honest Cooking.

Click Here to Print This Recipe. 

Yield:  24 cupcakes


  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/4 cup brewed Thai tea (1 cup reserved for basting)
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Sparkling sugar
  • Dried sliced mango


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake tins.

Pour 1 1/4 cup of cooled tea, egg whites, vanilla, and anise in a small bowl and whisk until blended. In a large bowl, whisk cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cardamom.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 1 1/2 sticks of butter until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture in thirds, beating at a medium speed and scraping bowl between additions. Add tea mixture, half at a time, beating at a medium speed and scraping bowl between additions. Beat at medium-high for 2-3 minutes until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Fill cupcake liners until 3/4 full. Bake 17-19 minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes in tins and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, pierce tops of cupcakes with fork and baste with extra tea using a silicone brush.

For the buttercream: In an electric stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Pour in condensed milk and mix on low. Add the powdered sugar, half at a time, mixing on low and scraping bowl with each addition. Add vanilla and beat on high until smooth. Frost cupcakes and top with sparkling sugar and dried sliced mango.

Note: If you want to pipe the buttercream, add additional powdered sugar to thicken the frosting.




5 responses

  1. What a fascinating place! Bangkok is a city I never considered visiting, but your post makes it so appealing, everything from the cuisine to the buildings and sculptures. The green tea frappucchino along with Thai iced tea cupcakes – which I’ve sampled – is a delicious combination!

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