Arnold Palmer Tea Cupcakes

Light flavored iced tea cupcakes with a melt-in-your mouth lemon frosting, these Iced Tea Cupcakes embody all things summer and make a fun dessert from a family favorite beverage.

one iced tea cupcake on a white plate with text overlay for pitnerest


 

Iced Tea Cupcakes Recipe

This cupcake recipe goes beyond your usual basic yellow cake. These cute cupcakes with lemon and sweet tea flavors are perfect for summer BBQs and parties. Your guests will love these deliciously fun lemon cupcakes!

This is the best summer cupcake ideas I have come across. Refreshing citrus flavors with the taste of a cool glass of ice tea all wrapped up in a fluffy cupcake?! Yes, please!

straight on shot of iced tea cupcake double wrapped

Ingredients

  • Whole milk – In order to get tea flavor into this sweet tea cupcakes, we need to steep actual tea. We use a water and hot milk mixture to do this.
  • Black tea bags – I found that actual tea bags provide much better flavor than using something like instant tea powder. Alternatively, you can use loose leaf tea. Just be sure to strain it with a coffee filter or tea screen. If you really like a heavy tea flavor, feel free to double the tea bags. The strength will depend on the type of tea you use.
  • Unsalted butter – I prefer using unsalted butter when baking or cooking. that way I am able to control the amount of salt in the recipe. We use butter in both the frosting and the batter.
  • Sugar – We need an element of sweet to these cupcakes, and white granulated sugar will do just that.
  • Eggs – When a recipe calls for eggs, just assume it means large eggs. You will want these to be at room temperature for the best results.
  • Flour – We need something to hold these cupcakes together, and all purpose flour will do just that.
  • Baking powder – Baking powder is a leavening agent. It helps these iced tea cupcakes to rise.
  • Fine sea salt – Here is where the salt comes in. Because we use unsalted butter, I like to add a little salt to really bring out the flavors of these cupcakes.
  • Butter flavored shortening – Our frosting uses a combination of butter and also butter flavored shortening. Feel free to use all butter if you’d prefer.
  • Lemon extract – You can also substitute this lemon extract for fresh lemon juice if you’d really like to amp up the lemon flavor.
  • Lemon zest – I also like to add a little but of fresh lemon zest to the frosting of these cupcakes.
  • Powdered sugar – Sometimes called icing sugar, powdered sugar is used to both sweeten and thicken our frosting.
  • Sparkling sugar – This is optional, but a sprinkling of sparkling sugar (either clear or white) really make these cupcakes stand out. And it almost resembles ice!
  • Lemon candy sticks – Again, optional, but these sticks are used to resemble straws. Looking like a real cup of tea, they’re almost too cute to eat.
  • Sugared fruit wedges – I use candy instead of real lemon slices as a decoration. That way you don’t have to worry about the lemon juice leaking all over your cupcakes.
overhead shot of iced tea cupcakes on a white tray

How to Make Iced Tea Cupcakes

  1. Steep tea. Heat milk and water in a microwave safe bowl. Place unwrapped tea bags into the liquid to steep. When ready to remove, wrap each tea bag around a spoon to make sure that all of the liquid (and flavor) is in the milk mixture.
  2. Prepare oven and muffin tin. Preheat the oven and line muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  3. Beat butter and sugar. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the tea mixture to the cupcakes.
  4. Mix dry ingredients. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually mix into wet ingredients until just blended and there are no large pockets of dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
  5. Bake. Scoop iced tea cupcakes batter evenly into paper liners. Bake until cupcake tops spring back when pressed with your finger and are lightly browned. Remove the cupcakes and allow to fully cool on wire racks before frosting.
collage of how to make iced tea cupcakes
  1. Make frosting. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening until fully mixed and creamy. Add the lemon extract and lemon zest. Gradually add powdered sugar until lemon frosting reaches the desired frosting consistency. If you accidentally add too much powdered sugar and it gets too thick, thin out with a teaspoon of water.
  2. Decorate. Using a piping bag with a large round tip or large star tip, frost cupcakes. Garnish with sparkling sugar, sugared lemon wedges and lemon candy sticks.
collage of how to make lemon frosting

Arnold Palmer

A fun fact of the day if you didn’t already know is that an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade) is actually named after the American golfer, Arnold Palmer. Apparently he used to drink that combination at home and ordered it from the bar at the U.S. open in 1960. It has become legendary ever since. 

Maybe we should just call these Arnold Palmer Cupcakes . 

A lady overheard his order and asked for “that Palmer drink” which is supposedly where the name of the drink came from. He used to have his drink with 3 parts of iced tea and 1 part lemonade.

Having equal halves of lemonade to ice tea is where the term half and half came from. And is more accurate for these iced tea cupcakes.

close up of iced tea cupcake on a cooling rack

When Arnold Palmer would order his signature drink, he would say “I’ll have a Mr. Palmer.” In his hometown they would just serve it to him without being asked because they said he shouldn’t have to order his own drink named after him.

Since 2001 when Arnold Palmer signed a deal with the Arizona beverage company, his famous drink has been sold around America and become apart of the American culture not only through golf, but also through his creation of this refreshing drink! You can find a can of it with his picture on it.

Add sweet tea vodka and now you have a John Daly, the drinking, smoking second cousin of Arnold Palmer (please note that the actual people are NOT related). Regardless of what you call it, I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say thank you Mr. Palmer for creating this amazing drink… and now amazing Iced Tea cupcakes. 

iced tea cupcake on a stack of white plates

Storage and Freezing

Any baked good is best enjoyed the same day as baking or close thereafter. Store these cupcakes at room temperature in an airtight container for up to five days.

Iced Tea Cupcakes can be frozen unfrosted or frosted in an airtight container for up to six months. Thaw at room temperature.

collage of iced tea cupcakes for pinterest

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Black Bottom Cupcake Recipe

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iced tea cupcake on a white plate with text overlay for pinterest
straight on shot of iced tea cupcakes

Iced Tea Cupcake Recipe

4.45 from 20 votes
Iced tea cupcakes topped with a melt-in-your mouth lemon frosting are all things summer! Just like the favorite drink, the Arnold Palmer.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

Lemon Frosting:

Instructions

  • Pour milk and water into a medium microwave safe bowl that has at least 1-2 inches of space at the top. Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until mixture is 110°F or hotter. Place tea bags (unwrapped) into the liquid to steep for 15 minutes. When ready to remove, wrap each tea bag around a spoon to make sure that all of the liquid (and flavor) is in the liquid.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the tea mixture to the cupcakes.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually mix into wet iced tea cupcake mixture until just blended. Do not overmix.
  • Spoon iced tea cupcake mixture evenly into 24 cupcake tins. Bake for 22 minutes or until tops are lightly browned a spring back when pressed with your finger. Remove the cupcakes and allow to fully cool before frosting.

Lemon Frosting:

  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the salted butter and butter flavored shortening until fully mixed and creamy. Add the lemon extract and lemon zest. Gradually add powdered sugar until lemon frosting reaches a spreadable/pipe-able consistency. If you accidentally add too much powdered sugar and it gets too thick, thin out with a teaspoon of water.
  • Using a piping bag with a large round tip or large star tip, frost cupcakes. Garnish with sparkling sugar, sugared lemon wedges and lemon candy sticks.
  • If you've tried this recipe, please come back and let us know how they were in the comments or star ratings.

Nutrition

Calories: 237 kcal, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Protein: 2 g, Fat: 12 g, Saturated Fat: 7 g, Cholesterol: 53 mg, Sodium: 106 mg, Potassium: 79 mg, Sugar: 17 g, Vitamin A: 350 IU, Calcium: 37 mg, Iron: 0.8 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 237
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: iced tea cupcakes
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. These cupcakes are amazing…I used a different frosting though.
    Like one lady said, they were very dense though, You said maybe from over mixing…any other ideas?

    Definitely a hit in my house though.
    Topped with a homemade whip cream and fruit frosting.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed them Jenn! In my experience, the batter gets dense when they are over mixed. It also can make a difference what type of flour you used- was is All-Purpose?
      I LOVE the idea of a whipped cream frosting and fresh fruit. They must have been so pretty!

      1. It was an all purpose flour. I read increasing baking powder would help too. I’m sure my issue was over mixing.
        I’m not a baker lol

        Thank you.

    1. Hi Missy! I’m sorry you having trouble with the frosting. I have a few ideas- first, did you by any chance melt the butter to “soften” it? Often if you microwave it, it gets TOO soft, resulting in the wrong texture. Different types of butter also have different water contents, if you find it being loose, add a little more powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency and place the cupcakes in the fridge until they set. Of course, don’t store them in the sun or warm places. I hope that helps and you enjoy your cupcakes!

  2. 4 stars
    I made these cupcakes this week, and the flavor was great! I have a couple of questions, though. They didn’t rise much and were really dense (almost put me in mind of cornbread consistency). My only thought was that maybe there’s a typo in the amount of baking powder? Or that it should have been soda? And the other question is about how much frosting you put on your cupcakes, because I’m definitely doubling the recipe next time I make these! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m going to a cookout tomorrow, and I’m going to make these again.

    1. Thank you for the feedback, Heather! You know, I haven’t made them in a little while. I will give them a whirl and see if maybe I made a mistake. Although I know a few other folks who made them successfully. My only question would be if you over mixed the batter? Over mixing can lead to a tough consistency of any baked good. I’ll let you know when I make them up again!

  3. Hi Jessica, I made these ice tea cupcakes tonight. I used 5 extra tea bags because I could not taste the tea in the batter. Which, tasted really good and moist. I even let the tea steep for longer than 20 minutes. Any suggestions on how to get more of a tea taste?

    1. Hi Kimberley! You know, I’ve encountered the same problem. I like mine to have a strong tea flavor as well. I’ve found that using a different brand of tea, with a higher “octane” if you will helps. I’ve also blended a small amount (maybe a tablespoon or so) of tea leaves directly into the batter.

  4. They look yummie. Can i use only butter instead of bitter and shortening. It’s very difficult to get in Spain.

    1. Sorry for the late response, I just saw this post. Yes, can use butter only. Let me know how they turn out!

  5. These sound amazing! I love anything with lemon, it one of my favorite flavors. Thank you for sharing this recipe at Fluster’s Creative Muster. Now that you found our party I hope that you will continue to join us every Tuesday evening.

    Robin @ Fluster Buster

  6. The cupcakes are Arnold Palmer (no alcohol), however my co-ed football team enjoys a spike of vodka which makes it into a John Daly. I supposed you could put vodka in the frosting, but I am not sure how good that would taste 🙂