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!

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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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Wow it’s been like, two months since my last update. It has been incredibly crazy though I think I have over-committed myself. I decided to take up part time study so I have no time for anything! Haha oh well, it is worth it.

So today I bring you a dessert that is so incredibly easy because it requires NO baking. Just putting things in the fridge to set. It’s for a dinner party tonight and even though it’s technically Autumn, a cold dessert would be nice tonight.

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I deviated a little from “pie” because the chocolate biscuit base is actually supposed to come up the sides to make a “shell” but it still counts as a pie… right? It’s made in a pie dish! 🙂

Recipe time! It’s SO easy… you should try it… right now!

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pie
Serves 10-12

200g chocolate biscuits (with a cream centre), crushed
50g butter, melted
200g cream cheese
2/3 cup icing sugar
100g smooth peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
250ml single cream, whipped
2 tbs single cream, extra
15g butter, extra
50g dark chocolate, chopped
Peanuts, chopped

Combine the crushed biscuits and butter and press into a 25cm pie dish. You can press the mixture around the sides but I was lazy… Place in the fridge for 15 minutes or until firm.

Beat together the cream cheese and sifted icing sugar until smooth. Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla.
Spoon in a third of the whipped cream, gently stirring to combine. Fold in the rest of the cream.

Pour into the pie dish and place in the fridge to set for about 2 hours.

Place the extra cream and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the butter has melted and the cream is softy bubbling. Take off the heat and stir the chocolate through until it has melted completely and there are no lumps.

Drizzle the chocolate over the pie in a lattice pattern and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until set. Sprinkle with peanuts just before serving and enjoy!

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