A month or two ago, I was up late into the night tossing and turning. Thankfully something good came from it because when I finally came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to sleep, my mind went into a frenzy as I brainstormed some delicious new flavour combinations. Ever since that night, I have been dying for an opportunity to finally try these guys. The rich flavour of chocolate combined with the bite from the chai had my taste buds watering. This past weekend, I decided that the time had come for my ideas to finally be put to a mixing bowl.
Chai tea is one of the most delicious teas out there. It is a black tea with flavours like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom. Some chai even has a hint of black pepper, most likely giving it an extra little bite. The flavours are often paired with a fair bit of sugar as the sweetness brings out the robust flavours of the spices. Chai tea has always been a very popular drink in India but has more recently gained popularity in North America and Europe.
In order to make these cupcakes, I adapted my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe. The recipe usually calls for hot coffee, but I replaced it with concentrated steeped chai tea. I found that the cupcakes were just as moist as the coffee version. If you don’t have any chai tea, you could make a basic chocolate cupcake by using hot water instead. This will most likely not cause any problems for the flavour as long as you rely on the buttercream to deliver the spice.
This recipe is easy to make and bakes approximately 18 cupcakes. An easy chai spice mix is added to a basic vanilla buttercream to make it chai-a-licious. I sprinkled the tops with the remaining chai spice and some chocolate sprinkles. But you could top the cupcakes with anything from chocolate shavings to cinnamon sticks and all that’s in between!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the chai tea and allow it to steep for a generous amount of time. Whisk the cocoa powder and chai tea together until smooth. With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the chocolate-chai mixture and the vanilla to the wet mixture and beat well. In a separate container, combine the flour, soda, powder, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Add the sour cream. Add the second half of the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Divide the batter into muffin-lined cupcake tins and bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Make the chai spice. In a bowl, beat 3/4 cups of softened butter with 2 cups of icing sugar. Add a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of the chai spice. Beat all of the ingredients together until it is light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag adorned with a desired decorating tip and swirl a little on the top of each cupcake.
So go ahead. Grab a friend, grab a cup of tea, grab a Chocolate Chai Cupcake and be prepared to spice up your day with a little joy, comfort, and sweet and spicy deliciousness!
Do you drink much chai tea? What other flavours would pair nicely with chai?