Vanilla Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

When it comes to my prework caffination choices, I have 2 standbys: skinny caramel macchiato with soy milk, and chai tea lattes. So when I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I’d have to try my hand at it. It got buried in my cupcake board, but I recently rediscovered it and made them right away. Oh, am I glad to have made these! A light, spongy vanilla cake gets a kick from a lovely mix of chai spices and topped with a creamy cinnamon frosting. I was a little worried that a cinnamon buttercream would be too spicy and overwhelming, but it was just perfect. If you love a good chai, you’ll love these cupcakes!

Ingredients:

For the chai spice mix:

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves 
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp chai spice mix
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar 
  • Remainder of chai spice mix 
  • 1 tbsp cold mix, if needed to thin frosting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a cupcake pan with liners, about 16 per batch. In a small bowl, combine the chai spice mix ingredients. Set aside.  

Next, beat together the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer on medium-high speed. Lower speed and add the vanilla. Beat in one egg at a time, then stir in the chai spice mix. Add the flour and buttermilk alternately and mix until combined. Finally, add the baking soda and vinegar until completely combined. 

 
Scoop batter into prepared pans, filling liners about 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.
 

Mmmm, spicy goodness.

While your cupcakes are cooling, let’s whip up the frosting.  In a the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. On low, mix in the vanilla extract and the rest of the chai spice mix. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, and gradually increase speed. If the buttercream is too thick add 1-2 tbs of cold milk until the desired consistency is reached. Beat until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with a piece of cinnamon stick.   

 

Recipe adapted from The Culinary Enthusiast.

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