Green Tea Cupcakes with Lychee Buttercream Frosting

Long ago, 2009 maybe, in a land not so far away called San Francisco, I had the most amazing cupcake. My cousin John brought a box of cupcakes home from That Takes the Cake. In the box, there were some red velvet cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, and these interesting green-colored cupcakes. We all know that yellows and reds make us hungry. I suppose I am an anomaly or have some form of synesthesia because my stomach seems to growl more for green colored foods. Spinach. Delicious.  Pistachio macaroons. There’s no better flavor. Jalapeño kettle chips. There’s a bag hiding in my sock drawer. 

I digress.

I picked up the alien skin-colored cupcake and took a bite. I knew we just met, but I was in love. The room was spinning and fireworks were going off! What a brilliant combination of flavors! Recently, I became inspired to make my own because lychees made an appearance at my local grocery store. I haven’t had one of these cupcakes in a long time, so I recreated them based on my (bad) memory. Three batches later, I developed the perfect recipe. To say these cupcakes are amazing just shows how inadequate the English language is.

Green Tea Bag, Matcha, Lychee | Sprig and Flours

Green Tea Cupcake Batter | Sprig and Flours

Green Tea Cupcakes Unfrosted | Sprig and FloursThese gorgeous green cupcakes are free from any food coloring.

Green Tea Cupcakes Unfrosted 2 | Sprig and Flours Lychees | Sprig and FloursLychees are a pale fruit, covered in a tough, bumpy skin. They are very sweet and fragrant. Growing up, I had them all the time for dessert.

Lychee Juice | Sprig and FloursYou’ll need 2 tablespoons of lychee juice for the frosting. Peel a handful of lychee and put it in the food processor. Strain and collect the juice. 

You could also find canned lychees at any asian grocery store.

Green Tea Cupcakes with Lychee Frosting 5 | Sprig and FloursWaiting for the cupcakes to cool is the hardest part. Once they have cooled, pipe or spread on the frosting. I used the Wilton 1M (closed star) tip for these cupcakes. I hope you can forgive my amateur piping skills.  

Green Tea Cupcakes with Lychee Frosting 7 | Sprig and FloursGreen Tea Cupcake with Lychee Frosting | Sprig and Flours

Green Tea Cupcakes with Lychee Frosting Unwrapped | Sprig and Flours

 Enjoy. Indulge. Fall in love.

Green Tea Cupcakes with Lychee Buttercream Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
For the cupcakes:
  • ⅔ cup boiling water
  • 1 green tea bag
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoon lychee juice
For the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line one 12-cup muffin pan with baking cups.
  2. In a small cup, combine the water and tea bag. Let it steep for 5 minutes, then remove the tea bag. Put in the refrigerator to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract then the eggs, one at a time.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and green tea powder. Stir together.
  6. Slowly add the dry mixture and the green tea to the wet mixture.
  7. Pour the batter into 12 cupcake tins about ⅔ filled.
  8. Bake for about 18-20 minutes. Allow it to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
For the frosting:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the butter, lychee juice, and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on low speed -- one cup of sugar and one tablespoon of juice at a time.
  2. When the ingredients are incorporated, increase the speed to medium and mix for another 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Spread or pipe the frosting on top of cooled cupcakes.



  1. Cindy @ Pick Fresh Foods says:

    I am loving this combination Connie. Plus, I love that you get that beautiful green color without any food coloring. 😀 I’ve never had lychee, but really want to try some now.
    I also admire your piping skills. Mine is seriously terrible. These cupcakes look perfect 😀

  2. Rachel @ Bakerita says:

    What beautiful cupcakes – they look so perfect and gorgeous! I’ve never actually tried a lychee, but I’ imagining this frosting to be delicious and now I really wanted to try it! Pinned 🙂

  3. Avery says:

    For those who are curious about lychees (so you know what you’re getting yourselves into) lychees are a small juicy fruit, members of the soapberry family. The only way I can think of to describe their flavor is a cross between mandarin oranges and pear? A very delicately sweet flavor- I imagine it tastes lovely with green tea! I haven’t made these yet but I can’t wait to! Now to get my hands on some matcha…..

  4. naomi says:

    Hi Connie, I made this last night for V-day, and it was received wonderfully! I halved the frosting though, but found the lychee flavour too light. So I added some lychee bits which made piping impossible! So my cupcakes aren’t as pretty as yours. But it was really delish! 🙂

Leave a Reply