It's no secret that chai is my drug of choice. I will take a super-extra-large soy chai latte (extra spicy) any day, any time, all day, all the time...
When I saw a cupcake version of my favorite drink, I think I heard angels singing.
To make these cupcakes, you first make a spice mix of cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Half the spice mix goes in the batter and the other half goes in the icing. It gives the cupcakes so much flavor, and the cardamom really makes it taste like chai. If the price of cardamom scares you, I totally understand. But it will last you a long time! A little bit goes a long way.
My kitchen was a hot mess trying to get all the spices together. I just needed to share that with you.
I have to be perfectly honest... I'm a bit of a cupcake snob. I hate it when they are over baked, dry, and way too sweet. But these little beauties are perfectly balanced. The cake is moist and the icing is creamy and spicy. It's like a dream.
Vanilla Chai Cupcakes
Makes 12 Cupcakes
For the cake:
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 quantity chai spice mix (recipe to follow)
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Chai Spice Mix
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Vanilla Chai Buttercream:
2 stick (1 cup) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 quantity chai spice mix
1-2 tablespoons cold milk, if needed (I didn't)
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place cupcake liners in muffin pan and set aside. Take a small mixing bowl and mix together the cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for a few minutes. Add the vanilla and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add half the quantity of your spice mix (this will be about 2 teaspoons) and stir until well combined. Add in the flour and buttermilk alternately (starting and ending with flour) being sure not to over mix the batter.
In a small bowl, mix together the baking soda and vinegar. It will bubble up and form a paste, then add it to the batter. Stir until just combined, then spoon into prepared cupcake pan until 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
For the buttercream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is creamy. This will take a few minutes! While the mixer is on low, add the vanilla and remaining spice mix (about 2 teaspoons). Carefully add in the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until you reach the desired sweetness and texture. If it is is too thick add 1-2 tablespoons of cold milk, but I did not have to do this. Pipe the buttercream onto cooled cupcakes and enjoy!
Recipe from The Novice Chef Blog... and I didn't change a thing!