A few weeks ago my brother and his kids were in town for a family visit. I thought my four-year old niece might enjoy the whimsy of Alice’s Tea Cup restaurant, so with promises of fairy dust and equally magical scones, I cajoled the whole brood to take the Long Island Rail Road into the city so we could all go to lunch. Needless to say, the food was amazing (the recipe for the Lapsang Souchon Smoked Chicken Sandwich is in their cookbook) and my niece was mesmerized by the glitter she was sprinkled with upon her arrival. All throughout lunch she kept gently tapping my arm and shyly asking, “Tia, may I see your mirror again?” so she could gaze at her sparkly hair and skin.
While there, I took advantage of the extensive selection of teas for sale behind the counter, and bought a packet of Trafalgar Square tea leaves. Not to drink, mind you. No, these leaves were for baking their Mint Black Bottom Cupcakes. The recipe description compares them to Junior Mints, one of my all-time favorite candies and a comfort food in its own right, so I knew I was going to have to test the recipe.
Apart from the tea leaves, the ingredients are all easy to find, and the recipe requires no special equipment to prepare (I don’t own a standing mixer, so when recipes require one I heave a big ol’ sigh and turn the page). I was a little thrown because the chocolate batter is very watery, and I was afraid I’d mismeasured, but nope. It simply results in supermoist cupcakes—love! The cream cheese “stuffing” nestles in perfectly to the batter, and really does approximate the creamy, minty middles of the candies.
The rest of The Secret Ingredient team went a little nuts over the cupcakes when I brought them in to work on Monday, so I think it’s safe to say the Wonderland Sisters have done it again: this recipe’s a keeper.