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Recipe: Bubble Tea Cupcakes

Since it's creation in the 1980s, Bubble Tea has taken the dessert world by storm. It's sweet and earthy taste combined with delicious tapioca pearls has since evolved to include many different flavors and drink additions. Originally from Taiwan, Bubble Tea is now one of the most popular drinks across the continent of Asia and has even spread to many Western countries. Other inventive culinary uses for Bubble Tea have begun to pop up recently, including treats like Bubble Tea cakes, Bubble Tea waffles, and Bubble Tea pudding. Today, we've put together an easy (and delicious) recipe to help satisfy your cravings: Bubble Tea cupcakes!


  • 1 box cake mix - white
  • 6 bags black tea
  • 1/2 cup dried tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoon milk


  1. When following box mix recipe, infuse any water or milk that needs to be added in with 3 black tea bags. Steep the tea bags for approximately three minutes, then remove them.
  2. Bake cupcakes according to box instructions. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing them from their tin.

Brown Sugar Pearls:

  1. Fill a sauce pot with 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add in the tapioca pearls. Allow mixture to boil for 35-40 minutes, stirring to cook evenly, until the pearls look gelatinous.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes until pearls are chewy and soft. Add brown sugar and continue to simmer until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Keep warm until ready to use.


  1. Melt butter and add the remaining 3 black tea bags, allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove tea bags, and allow 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar in three additions. Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add vanilla and milk, mixing on medium speed until smooth. If too thick, add another tablespoon of milk.


  1. Use a medium cookie scoop or large spoon to form a dome of frosting on top of the cupcakes.
  2. Using the back of a spoon, press down the center of the frosting to create a small bowl shape. This will serve as a pocket to hold your bubble tea pearls.
  3. Spoon a small amount of warm brown sugar pearls over the frosting, keeping them inside the small bowl shape. Enjoy immediately!


  • Makes approximately 12 large or 24 medium cupcakes.
  • Best black teas to use are English Breakfast, Earl Grey, or Ceylon Black Tea.
  • Tapioca pearls are best eaten fresh. DO NOT refrigerate them. They'll harden to a rubbery consistency.
Recipe inspiration & photo from:

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