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Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

February 28, 2015

I love my book club. We rotate around to people’s houses and get together every few weeks to talk about a new book over food and laughter. It is always a most excellent way to spend an evening. Our latest hosts cooked up an Indian feast, so I decided to try my hand at some chai-inspired cupcakes. These spicy little cakes are balanced out by a delicious cream cheese frosting (plus a surprise filling)!

20150130 Chai Cupcake 04

You will need:

  • 2 t ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1/8 t ground black pepper
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 8 oz light cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • OPTIONAL: caramel sauce (I picked up a 10 oz Fleur de Sel version from Trader Joe’s)

20150130 Chai Cupcake 02

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add paper liners to a tray for 12 cupcakes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon with the ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream 1/2 of the butter into the granulated sugar.
  4. Mix in the egg and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla until well combined and fluffy.
  5. Mix in the salt, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mixture.
  6. Mix in the flour and the milk, alternating between the two. Stir just until combined.
  7. Fill each cupcake cup 2/3s full of batter.
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes, until slightly golden. A toothpick or tester in the middle should come out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from the cupcake tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
  11. In a stand mixer or using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese with the remaining 1/2 cup of butter.
  12. Beat in the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 t of the chai mixture and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  13. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar on low speed until combined. Then increase the speed to medium until fluffy and smooth.
  14. OPTIONAL: Use a cupcake or apple corer to remove a small part of the top of the cupcake. Fill with the caramel sauce.
  15. Frost the cupcakes as liberally as desired.
  16. Share with friends (and there will be no leftovers)!
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