Sugar Daddy

What to get for the father with everything?

Moreover, what to get for the father who seems to want nothing? Preferring little fan fare and perhaps his favorite meal of hot dogs, my dad remains as difficult as ever to spoil. Always shy to ask for anything and frequently claiming to not want anything at all, he never gives away any clues as to what might strike his fancy, making Father’s day a real challenge to celebrate.

No way would I ever take his assertions to heart though; It would be a crime to give up and do nothing for such a caring and dedicated dad! Deserving of recognition much more than just one day out of the year, it’s near impossible to make this one date count in a truly meaningful way, so the least I could do was maybe treat him to something special.

Grasping for Straws

During one late night brainstorming session, thinking of all present and past favorite foods, I somehow became fixated on his love for iced tea. Years ago, all he would drink was from a powdered mix, dumping a few heaping tablespoons into a tall glass and topping it off with ice water. As a result, I had thought for the longest time that iced tea was something completely separate from those little bags of dried leaves. He’s now graduated to actual tea, sweetened to such an intense level that my mom has taken to calling it “sugar water,” but the memory of that instant tea mix stuck with me.

After picking up a package of that powder for nostalgia’s sake, it took a long time and many dubious concepts before I finally struck upon the perfect use for it:

Cake! Or more specifically, cupcakes!

Mixed into both the cake and the frosting, the instant tea powder brought me right back to my childhood, thinking how grown up it was to be drinking this fancy iced tea concoction. These cupcakes are decided less “grown up,” but way too much fun to pass up.

Piled high with mounds of fluffy frosting, I made sure to be generous with the piping bag to satisfy his well-established sweet tooth. As if that weren’t enough, a light sprinkling of coarse white sugar adds a slight crunch, and is a nod to that sugar-saturated brew my dad is so fond of. Finally, that touch of lemon is a nod to the lemon flavored tea that was a common choice back in the days of buying a mix. Although my dad isn’t exactly the biggest fan of cakes in general, this is one that I hope will strike a chord.

Yield: Makes 12 Cupcakes

Iced Tea Cupcakes

Iced Tea Cupcakes

Instant iced tea mixed into both the cake and frosting of these sweet treats lends a tangy, refreshing flavor that's perfect for summer.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


Iced Tea Cupcakes:

  • 1 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Instant Unsweetened Iced Tea Mix
  • 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Lemon-Iced Tea Frosting:

  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter, at Room Temperature
  • 3 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Instant Unsweetened Iced Tea Mix
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
    Whisk together the milk, lemon juice, and oil in a large bowl, and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the flour, iced tea mix, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt so that all of the dry ingredients are well distributed.
  3. Add the dry goods into the wet, and stir just enough to incorporate everything and get out most of the lumps. Distribute the batter equally between your prepared tins, and bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
  4. To make the frosting, simply place the vegan butter, confectioner’s sugar, tea mix, and lemon zest in the bowl of your stand mixer, and start it on low speed. Slowly add in the lemon juice one tablespoon at a time, increasing the speed once the sugar is mostly incorporated. Whip on high for about 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  5. Apply to cooled cupcakes and top with coarse sugar or pearl sugar if desired.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 330Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 213mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 0gSugar: 39gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.


43 thoughts on “Sugar Daddy

  1. What a thoughtful Father’s Day present! I have never heard of iced tea as anything other than…well, iced tea! As always, VERY creative and gorgeous pictures.

    THANK YOU for the recipe, I love the way your frosting looks and will definitely try to recreate it soon!

  2. That is a really great present, Hannah! I remember that powder from my childhood. I’d never tough it now, but I would definitely not say no to such a beautiful cupcake.

  3. That iced tea mix is so nasty! Very creative, though. I’ve got to get a frosting tip like that–it looks so professional.

  4. My whole family would LOVE these! My little brothers always ask for tea and cupcakes…so why not combine them?!

    Have a great Father’s Day with your Dad!

  5. I tried making black tea cookies once- not so good. ;) These cupcakes look great though! Maybe I’ll have to work on my recipe a little more.

  6. THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR THIS RECIPE! I had a migraine this morning and my Daddy had to make breakfast himself, and he loves iced tea, so this will be the perfect way to make up for it. I just hope I can find the iced tea mix at the grocery store.

  7. That is such a sweet gift! I am not even close to being vegan but your baked goods make me drool all the same. I think I may have to make these ones since I too have that soft spot for instant iced tea. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  8. that’s so cute! maybe a slice of lemon as garnish and a little straw stuck into the frosting for a great party cupcake. thanks for sharing the recipe!

  9. I DID love them (quite a few of them, already)!
    They are PERFECTLY sweet.
    As are you.
    Thanks for the great treat. And the sweet post.

  10. I had to smile when you mentioned that your dad’s favorite meal is hot dogs. My dad is quite fond of them as well, and when I called to wish him a happy Father’s Day, he excitedly told me he was grilling hot dogs… Sigh, if only I could make him love veggie dogs instead!

    The iced tea cupcakes look beautiful, especially with the delicate sprinkling of coarse sugar on top. You are amazingly clever Hannah!

  11. Just lovely…ice tea cupcakes! Such a great idea…looks fabulous and I am sure that taste great as well…love the addition of lemon to it. Nice pictures… and nice memories…:-)

  12. What a great story and tribute to your dad. Your photos are wonderful and the recipe sounds fun and tasty.

  13. These look perfect. They’re not only aesthetically pleasing but they sound delicious as well. Here’s to one happy dad! :-)

  14. They look beautiful.
    I didn’t know you could make tea with a powdered mix. And understand your dilemma. My husband is just the same, so I’m always in a fix trying to figure out what to get him.

  15. Here you go again, proving that you’re a certifiable dessert genious. I LOVE the idea of iced tea cupcakes, especially with a hint of lemon.

  16. I made these last weekend. The cake was delicious, but the frosting was WAY too overpowering. Next time, I’ll just make a simple, light lemon buttercream frosting.

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