Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

July 15, 2010

When I first heard someone say “chai tea” I sort of cocked my eyebrow and thought to my self; “wait, what?”. Suddenly this phenomena of chai burst out of nowhere and at first I thought it was pretty funny. Technically ‘chai tea’ is a misnomer. In Hindi and a lot of other languages the word chai means tea. It’s not a type of tea, it’s the word for tea. So when someone says “chai tea” I hear “tea tea”. It’s kinda like when someone says “ATM machine” hehe

Then, I discovered the chai latte. And I fell in love. My favourite cafe serves these wonderful vanilla chai lattes sprinkled with cinnamon. I love the flavours immensely.

They remind me a lot of Indian desserts with cardamom and cinnamon, things my Mother makes. So I decided to try and replicate those flavours purely by taste. I have no idea how to make a chai latte, but I do recognise those spices. Today I experimented with a recipe I wrote up last night and amazingly it worked. The batter was incredible and the aroma when they came out of the oven! Amazing. I will share the recipe because it’s something that should be shared in my opinion. I think lovers of that “chai” flavour will love these.

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

(Makes 12)


100g butter

1 cup caster sugar

½ tsp vanilla bean paste

2 eggs

½ quantity chai spice mix (recipe follows)

1 ¼ cups plain flour, sifted

½ cup buttermilk

½ tsp bicarb soda

½ tsp apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is fine)

Chai Spice Mix

1 ½ tsp ground cardamom

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Mix spices together in a small bowl.

Vanilla Chai Buttercream

125g butter

½ tsp vanilla bean paste

3 cups icing sugar, sifted

½ quantity chai spice mix

1-2 tbs cold milk

Preheat the oven to 160C

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and beat in one egg at a time. Stir in half the quantity of chai spice mix. Fold in the flour and buttermilk alternately and stir until combined, don’t overmix. Mix together the bicarb soda and vinegar and mix into the batter.

Spoon into prepared cupcake cases and bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter until it is creamy and very pale in colour. Stir in the vanilla and the rest of the chai spice mix. Slowly beat in the icing sugar about ½ cup at a time. If the buttercream is too thick add 1-2 tbs of cold milk until the desired consistency is reached.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve!

It has been well over a year since my last post, but I’ve been so busy! I’m in the middle of starting my own little cupcake/cake business. I have two wedding cakes to bake at the end of the year.

Anyway, one of my favourite cakes of all time is red velvet. Here in Australia it is relatively unknown so when I bake it for my friends, they just can’t get enough. I use a variation of the recipe from here: http://tastedbytwo.com/2009/06/23/recipe-magnolia-red-velvet-cupcakes/ but I use buttermilk rather than whole milk. I also use my own recipe for cream cheese icing.

So on the weekend my friend ask me to bake red velvet cupcakes for her baby shower. She’s having a little girl so I thought pink blossoms would go very well with the rich velvety red. I think they look too pretty to eat!

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These cupcakes are hands down my favourite. The icing is probably the best part which is why my second favourite cupcakes are red velvet (I will get around to making these eventually).

This recipe has taken me a little while to perfect – one day I decided to try the combination of vanilla, cinnamon and banana and it was amazing… the aroma that filled the house as they came out of the oven freshly baked was just incredible.

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I’ve been hesitant to post the recipe because I like it being a secret; but I realised that you can give the same recipe to a bunch of people and the end result will all be completely different. It’s amazing how it works, this recipe might work wonders for me because I created it but it might completely fail for someone else simply because of attitude. In the end though, what does it really matter? Recipes should be, like food shared amongst anybody who is interested.

So here you are, a dozen banana cupcakes just waiting to be baked. I know it’s all in metric but it shouldn’t be too hard to convert… one of these days I promise I will write both measurements in!

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Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
Makes 12

125g butter, softened
3/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
100ml milk
Walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Icing

30g butter, softened
125g cream cheese, softened
2 cups icing sugar

Preheat oven to 160C

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and add the vanilla and cinnamon. Beat in the bananas. Sift the flour and gently fold into the mixture, alternating with the milk.

Spoon into 12 prepared cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes* until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

To make the icing: Beat the butter until fluffy and pale. Add the cream cheese and beat well, and slowly add the icing sugar until the icing is thick and creamy.
When the cupcakes are cool spoon or pipe a generous amount of icing onto each cupcake and top with a walnut.

Note: DO NOT refridgerate these cupcakes! They will dry out so eat them at room temperature. If you plan to eat them a day or two ahead, leave the icing to the last minute and keep the icing in the fridge.

*This is an estimated time; I don’t actually pay attention to how long they bake for I just look 😛

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I know I haven’t posted in a little while… my entry for this month’s Iron Cupcake: Earth failed badly so I didn’t post it.

These cupcakes were made for my little sister as a welcome home because she’s getting back from 3 months overseas tonight.
They are a Victorian vanilla sponge cake filled with strawberry jam and topped with fresh cream and half a strawberry.

I used only fresh cream; I didn’t add any icing sugar in it because I wanted that fresh sponge cake taste. It’s so simple to put together and tastes so good! Especially when you get that sweet little burst of jam in the middle.

I think I might go have another…

Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes
Makes 20 regular sized cupcakes

Ingredients:
250g butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2/3 cups milk

Strawberry jam
300ml cream, whipped
Fresh strawberries, at least 10

Preheat the oven to 160C

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Fold in the flour and the milk. Spoon into prepared cupcake cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

When the cupcakes are completely cool, pipe a small amount of strawberry jam into the middle of each cupcake. Finally, pipe on the whipped cream and top with a strawberry half.

This cupcake flavour was inspired by my favourite dessert at the Pancake Parlour called the “Alice in Wonderland” which is a pancake with a scoop of ice cream, hot fudge and rainbow sprinkles.

This cupcake version starts with a chocolate mud cake base topped with dark chocolate fudge frosting and rainbow sprinkles. 

Alice in Wonderland Surprise Cupcakes

Alice in Wonderland Surprise Cupcakes

So what’s the surprise part you say? The pancake dessert has a scoop of ice cream, my cupcake has a surprise filling of thick, creamy double cream.
Double Cream Filling

Double Cream Filling

 So I couldn’t post this cupcake without posting a recipe for the chocolate fudge icing! It is really easy to make and you can substitute the dark chocolate for white chocolate.

Chocolate Fudge Icing
Enough for 12 cupcakes

250g (8oz) Good quality, dark chocolate
1/2 cup single cream
70g unsalted butter

Melt the chocolate, cream and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and stir until smooth.

Wait until  the mixture is completely cooled and beat until it is light and fluffy.
And that’s it!