Chai Cupcake Recipe
This recipe results in a very light and airy cupcake base. Combined with the rich chai spice buttercream, this dessert pushes all other autumn inspired desserts to the back of the queue!
Chai Spice Mix:
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tsp Chai tea
- 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 and 3/4 cups (207g) plain flour
- 3 and 1/2 teaspoons chai spice mix (above)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
Chai Spice Buttercream:
- 1 and 1/2 cups (345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 5.5 – 6 cups (660-720g) icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons chai spice mix, divided
- 1/4 cup (60ml) double cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- optional for garnish: cinnamon sticks + mix the remaining chai spice mix
- Prepare chai spice mix: Mix all of the chai spices together. You’ll have 5 and 1/2 teaspoons to use between the cupcake batter, buttercream, and garnish.
- Steep the tea: Bring milk to a boil or heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Pour over and steep for 20-30 minutes. This chai milk is the milk you’ll use in the cupcake batter. This can be done the day before and refrigerated overnight. Make sure the chai milk is room temperature before adding to the cupcake batter.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2-3 liners – this recipe makes 14-15 cupcakes. Set aside.
- Make the cupcakes: Whisk the plain flour, 3 and 1/2 teaspoons of chai spice mix, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour and mix in the chai milk *just* until combined. Do not over mix. Batter will be slightly thick and smell incredible!
- Pour/spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only 2/3 full to avoid baking over the sides. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. For around 35 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add 5 and 1/2 cups (660g) confectioners’ sugar, the heavy cream, 1 and 3/4 teaspoons chai spice mix, the vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If frosting looks curdled or greasy, it’s best to beat in more confectioners’ sugar to smooth it out. Beat in up to 1/2 cup (60g) more confectioners’ sugar to smooth out if needed. If frosting seems too thick to pipe or spread, beat in another Tablespoon (15ml) of cream. Taste and beat in another pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
- Frost cooled cupcakes and serve.
- Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.