Monday, February 27, 2012

Take a chance on chai!

Despite a very busy weekend, I still found a bit of time to hang out in the kitchen. I haven't had a chai latte for many, many months but a few weeks ago, I indulged in one from a very popular coffee store chain. I was instantly reminded of how much I enjoy the combination of spices in masala chai and was inspired to incorporate it into a cupcake. I haven't done a lot of tinkering with recipes in the past. I tend to find a few really good recipes that work well for me and stand by them. Since this wasn't for any particular occasion or event, I decided to 'take a chance on chai' and make my own creation. 

There are a number of spices that can be used in masala chai. The main 'base' spice is typically cardamom. From there, you can add really whatever you want: ginger, cloves, peppercorn, star anise, or cinnamon.  I decided to go with a combination of cardamom, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. In addition to the blend of spices, I took it a step further and steeped a Tetley Chai Tea bag (the name is really redundant being translated to "Tea Tea") in milk for 15 minutes. 

For the frosting I decided to use a cream cheese frosting because it tends to go so well with other spice cakes like carrot, pumpkin or ginger. I decided to put a hint of orange flavour in the frosting since I enjoyed it so much when I made citrus carrot cake.

The results were delicious. I felt the cupcake was moist enough though still a tad bit more dry than I would like it to be. I may have over baked them a bit since I was trying to work out the optimal timing and opened the oven several times, checking them before they were done.

I decorated these cupcakes with orange fondant gerbera daisies (or some flower creation of my own that remotely resembles a gerbera daisy).  I have posted the recipe below (for the first time ever). I hope you enjoy it!

Chai Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 12 standard cupcakes

Chai Cupcakes:
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 bag "Chai" flavoured black tea
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange essence

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line one 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. 
  2. In a small saucepan, heat milk to a simmer, remove from heat and add tea bag. Cover allow to steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bag, squeezing out all the milk into the pot, and allow to cool. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine flours and spices and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add both sugars gradually and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. 
  5. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk and vanilla, beginning and ending with flour until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. 
  6. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean. 
  1. In a medium bowl and using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. 
  2. Add the icing sugar gradually and mix on low speed until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla and orange essence and mix on low until combined.
  4. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes or spread onto cupcakes with a small offset spatula.


  1. They look great - you should do a tutorial on how to make the flowers.


  2. Did you grind the spices yourself?


    1. All of my spices were already ground as that is what I had in my pantry. It is definitely nice to grind your own spices if you have a coffee/spice grinder and the time!