Happy 90th Birthday, Judy Garland!

I have a lot of quirky likes and interests. Over the years, I’ve really learned to embrace them. I used to think I needed to change who I was, or what I liked, to try and fit in better. Obviously, now, I’m not afraid to be myself, and share what I love, even if it’s a little different, or geeky.

Today,  I’m celebrating an actress who has helped me embrace my individuality. I’m pretty sure that I’ve yet to reveal that I am in awe of Judy Garland. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve thought she was one of the most beautiful and talented actresses there ever was. Judy inspires me to be myself because she struggled throughout her life to value herself and her greatest attributes. She was truly beautiful, and incredibly gifted, but she struggled with low self esteem her entire life. She was never as fully valued as she should have been. When she was able to see her own great worth, that was when she would truly shine.

Today would have been Judy’s 90th birthday, and to show my appreciation for her, I wanted to celebrate her birthday with a treat inspired by her that I think she really would have enjoyed.

A long time ago, I read that Judy loved black tea because it supposedly reminded her of her visits to her grandmother’s house when she was a child. Since her life was such a struggle in later years, and she was so taken advantage of, I wanted to focus on a simple, happy memory of hers as inspiration for her birthday, so I decided to create black tea cupcakes.

The cupcakes are sweet and simple to make. You just need cake flour, sugar, a black tea-milk mixture, black tea leaves (optional), vanilla extract, unsalted butter, eggs, salt, and baking powder.

These are really easy to mix up and have a great texture.

I really think this is one of the prettiest batters I’ve ever made. It’s a little thick and glossy, and beautifully speckled with tea leaves. Plus, it baked up perfect, with a light crumb and a great domed top.

I decided that honey and lemon would be exactly what Judy would add to her tea to help soothe her incredible singing voice, so i added both to the frosting. The combination, whipped into fluffy buttercream, was the perfect compliment to the cupcakes, which were light, sweet, and slightly fruity.

These turned out delicious, and they were a snap to make. They’d be perfect for any afternoon tea party, and since they have tea and honey in them, you could definitely get away with calling them breakfast. 🙂

Grab a cuppa and a couple of these cupcakes, and settle in for a Judy Garland movie marathon on Turner Classic Movies today. Celebrate Judy’s birthday and incredible talent, and enjoy!

Black Tea Cupcakes
with Honey-Lemon Buttercream [Printable Version]
Makes about 12 standard cupcakes and about 12 ounces of frosting



1/2 cup hot milk
3 black tea bags
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, steep the tea bags in the hot milk for at least 10 minutes. Allow the milk mixture to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, whisk in the eggs and vanilla until combined; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the butter pieces, one at a time, then increase mixer speed to medium low. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase speed to medium and beat until well combined (about 30 seconds).

Reduce mixer speed to low and add half of the milk mixture. Mix until just combined, then increase speed to medium high for about 30 seconds. Repeat with the remaining milk mixture. Batter should be fully incorporated with some small lumps; do not overmix. Fold in extra black tea leaves, if desired.

Fill each cupcake liner with three tablespoons of batter. Bake for 18 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a crumb or two clinging to it.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.


1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 pound (about 2 cups or 250 grams) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml) heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in half of the sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla and honey. Beat in the remaining sugar. Add the heavy cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest, whisk on high for 6 minutes.

Recipes by Darla

Leave a comment


  1. Lauren says

    I love Judy Garland too and I have always felt that same way about her! Some of my earlier memories are watching her on the Wizard of Oz and hoping I could grow up to be as beautiful as her. Lovely idea! I will have to try this recipe!

  2. says

    These are beautiful, and I love your inspiration behind them. One of the reasons I follow your blog is because you are different and I can’t wait to read what your going to say next. I love your stories and humor, and you have a great talent. I’m so glad you’ve embraced who you are and share it with us. 🙂

  3. says

    Oh Darla, these look and sound positively delicious. The Brit in me is screaming inside to make these. I totally love tea (typical stereotype?) and of course, who doesn’t like honey?

    I have to ask where you got those wonderful silicone teacups and saucers though, they are amazing. I soooo need some and stat!

  4. says

    I always loved Judy in the Wisard of Oz, she was so beautiful and her singing voice? I can’t even describe it. So high and sweet. I never knew anything about her life though. It surprises and saddens me that she didn’t realize her own worth. I myself struggle to embrace who I am sometimes. I never really thought about how a beautiful and talented – and famous! – person would, too. Huh.

    Also, I’ve heard of chai cupcakes before but never just black tea cupcakes… My Mom is a huge fan of tea, maybe I’ll file this away for her next birthday.

  5. PeggyFin says

    These sounds delicious! Even my husband who is (gasp!) not a big cupcake fan, said he’d like me to make these! Woo! I also loved your thoughts on Judy. Thank you for embracing your inner geekiness!

  6. says

    oh my gosh those are adorable!!! I loved the teacups, please do tell where you got those? totally making these cupcakes for my friday reunion with the girls. I love your blog! 😀

  7. says

    I’m loving tea-flavoured cupcakes at present. I made some chai ones recently and have seen green tea cupcakes I’m also itching to try. And that frosting looks divine! Happy birthday, Ms G 🙂

  8. Danielle says

    Looks delicious! Maybe it’s because I have small children, but I saw the black tea cupcakes and thought of Amelia Bedelia. 🙂

  9. Tianna says

    I made these and, once cooked, they turned out really dry. I used almond milk instead of regular milk, but that’s the only thing I changed. Do you know why they may have done that?