Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

I am a frequent visitor of Starbucks, there might be a few of you out there like me.  However, I don't like coffee, love the smell but can't drink it.  When I go to Starbucks my money goes to the chai tea latte.  I love the richness, with that perfect blend of spice and cream.  So when I saw this recipe on FoodGawker I bookmarked it and saved it for a latter day, well today is that latter day. 

The first thing to do is assemble the chai spice mix.  For this we will need:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (Fresh ground if you have it)

Mix all the spices in a small bowl.  The mixture makes 4 teaspoons, depending how precisely you measure.  We will split the mixture between the cupcake batter and the buttercream frosting.

 For the above mentioned cupcake batter we will need:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of chai spice mix
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

In standard creaming methodology, start with the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy and lighter and color.  Once fluffy, add the vanilla, eggs, and chai spice mix and continue mixing.  In a separate bowl, sift flour and measure out 1/2 cup of buttermilk.  If you are using a standmixer or a handmixer, stop and grab yourself a rubber spatula.  The key here when adding the flour and buttermilk is not to over mix and create too much gluten which will result in a tougher cupcake.  To help this we will alternately add the buttermilk and flour.  So add about 1/3 of the sifted flour, 1/3 of the buttermilk and fold the batter over, just enough to combine and repeat.  In a small bowl add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  It doesn't have to be apple cider, but I prefer it because it doesn't have as harsh as a flavor and I use it quite often in BBQ.  Add in the baking soda/vinegar and mix enough to combine.  Add into cupcake papers until about 3/4 full and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

While that is baking, you can start to make the chai buttercream frosting.  For this we need:

  • 2 stick (1 cup) butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of chai spice mix
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tbs cold milk, depending on consistency 

Beat the butter until it becomes fluffy.  Add in the vanilla and chai spice mixture and mix until incorporated.  Slowly, at about a 1/2 cup at a time, add in the sifted powdered sugar.  You will probably need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowls throughout this process.  Now set aside until the cupcakes are completely cooled.  When I made these, I was fortunate to have a non heated sunroom to cool these in, one benefit of the cold I suppose.

As for frosting, I had an old tip that came off a old icing gun.  I just cut a corner of a ziplock bag and slid it in there.  Now I have not mastered the art of frosting.  Sure I can get it on there but I can't make it look pretty.  Check out the original link to this recipe if you want to see that.  But just get it on there one way or another.  Also, I guess I am not too precise when it comes to measurements because I had about a 1/2 teaspoon of the chai spice mix leftover.  I just sprinkled it on top of the frosted cupcakes.  If you are more precise and didn't have any leftover, then you could use nutmeg, fresh if you have it, or Cinnamon.  If you want to be extra fancy, you could top with a cinnamon stick.  There you have it, I hope this inspires you to attempt these cupcakes they are one of my favorites!

Special thanks to The Novice Chef Blog, where I found the recipe.

A look from inside my kitchen out to the deck.  My favorite cooking device, Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker.  Foreshadowing?


  1. I love chai! Thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks perfect.

  2. Chai spice is my favorite! Can't wait to make this recipe!

  3. I have been dying to try chai cupcakes. They sound delicious.