A few weeks ago The Express-Times ran an article about my business. As part of the article they also published one of my recipe for Masala Chai Cupcakes. I thought I would also post the recipe but with a bit more detail about how I make them. The full recipe can be found at the bottom, but here are the basic steps.
I begin every recipe by gathering all of my ingredients then weigh/measure them out. For the wet ingredients I warm 1 cup of milk in the microwave until just to a simmer. I then add 4 black tea bags to make some tea. I put my eggs in a bowl of warm water to help bring them to room temperature.
Next I weigh out my butter and microwave on half power at 30 second intervals until nice and soft. I then sift all my dry ingredients together in a bowl and whisk them well to combine. Making sure all the dry ingredients are well mixed is important because you ensure all the leavening (in this case baking powder) is evenly distributed.
Once I have all my ingredients ready, it’s time to mix. I cream the butter, along with the sugar and vanilla, in the bowl of my kitchen aide stand mixer. I let the mixer run on medium speed for about three minutes. You should see the butter get much lighter in color, that’s how you know it’s ready.
During the last minute or so of creaming the butter I remove the eggs from their water bath and break them into a bowl so they are ready to go. I like to break them into a glass bowl because I’ve found that egg shells sink, so it makes it easy to find them by lifting the bowl and looking at the bottom to see if any are there. I also like to polk each egg yolk with my spatula before adding it to the butter. I feel like that helps it mix in quicker.
Once the butter is done creaming I scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the eggs one at a time. I mix on low for about 30 seconds, then medium for another 10-20 second before scraping down the sides and adding the next egg.
While the eggs are mixing in I remove the tea bags from the milk and squeeze out any liquid from them. You may now have a little less than 1 cup of milk, so add some extra milk to bring it back up to 1 cup. The milk tea is now ready to be added.
Once all the eggs are incorporated I scrape the sides of the bowl again, then start adding the dry ingredients alternating with the milk tea. I added the flour in 3-4 additions, adding about a quarter cup of milk tea with each. Mix for about 30 seconds after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently to make sure everything mixes together well.
A #16 disher (like an ice cream scoop) is one of my favorite baking tools. I use it to measure out my cupcake batter and get evenly sized cupcakes every time. This recipe makes about 24-26 cupcakes depending on how much you overfill the scoop.
Masala Chai Cupcakes
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup (8.25 oz) of milk (I use 2%)
- 4 black tea bags
- 2 1/4 cups (11.3 oz)s unbleached all purpose flour (dip and sweep method)
- 2 3/4 teas baking powder
- 1/2 teas salt
- 1 3/4 teas ground cardamom
- 1 teas ground ginger
- 1 teas ground cinnamon
- 16 Tbsp (8 oz) of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (11 oz) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teas pure vanilla extract
- extra milk for tea
- 2 black tea bags
- 2 Tbsp boiling water
- 1 ¼ cups (8 oz) of shortening (I use Spectrum Organics)
- 8 Tbsp (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teas pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups (16 oz) powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners enough to make at least 24 cupcakes (you may end up with more cupcakes depending on how much you fill each one).
Place the unbroken eggs in a bowl of warm water to bring them to room temperature, set aside.
Heat the milk over low heat or in the microwave for about a 1-1:30 minutes to warm it slightly.Immediately add the tea bags to the milk and stir. Set the milk aside with the tea bags to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Measure out the all-purpose flour using the dip and sweep method or by weight. Sift the flour, baking powder, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and whisk well to combine, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the softened butter on medium speed for 1 minute. If your butter is cold you can bring it to room temperature by microwaving on half power for 20-30 second intervals until soft. Check the butter often to prevent it from melting completely.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the sugar to the butter. Beat for a few seconds to incorporate the sugar then add the vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high for 3 minutes .
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Remove the eggs from the warm water and add them to the bowl one at a time, mixing on low speed for about 30 seconds after each addition. Be sure to scrape the bowl in between additions.
Squeeze as much milk as possible out of each tea bag back into the measuring cup, discard the tea bags. You should have just under a cup of milk tea. Since the tea bags absorbed some of the milk fill the measuring cup back up to 1 cup with more milk.
Add the flour mixture in 3-4 batches alternating with the milk tea mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix well (about 30-40 seconds) after each addition.
Fill each cupcake liner with about 1/4 cup of batter. I like to use a #16 disher/scoop to portion out my cupcake batter. You can find them in restaurant stores or online
Tap the pans on a counter a few times to even out the batter and eliminate any air bubbles. Bake @ 350°F for 20-22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove onto a cooling rack. Once cool frost with chai buttercream.
Add the tea bags to the boiling water and let steep for about 5-10 minutes. Squeeze the tea bags to get out as much tea as possible and discard them. Allow the tea to cool before adding to the frosting.
In a large mixing bowl beat the shortening until smooth, about 1 minute. If your shortening is hard, which mine often is in the winter, microwave it at half power for 30 second intervals until it is soft.
Add the softened butter and vanilla extract to the shortening and beat for another minute.
Sift half the powdered sugar into the shortening/butter mixture and mix on low until incorporated.
Add the tea and mix again on low speed until incorporated, then beat on medium-high for five minutes. It’s always good to start the mixer on low. If you start it on high before incorporating the newly added ingredients you run the risk of shooting liquid or powdered sugar out of the bowl all over the place (I learned that lesson the hard way when I first started baking).
Sift in the remaining powdered sugar, mix on low speed until incorporated, and then beat on medium-high for an additional five minutes.