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Masala Chai Cupcakes

Masala Chai Cupcakes

Chai tea lattes are a common menu item in most American coffee shops these days. I found it interesting when my husband, who is from India, told me that Chai in Hindi means tea. So a Chai tea latte is actually translated to tea tea latte. The more correct term is Masala Chai, which means spiced tea. In India tea is brewed and spiced with a combination of spices, most often cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, clove, and even pepper. These cupcakes are infused with black tea and spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger, then topped with a black tea buttercream.
Course Cupcakes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Servings 24
Author Jennifer Rao - Around the World in 80 Cakes

Ingredients

Cake Batter:

  • 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

Chai Buttercream:

  • 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

Instructions

Cake Batter:

  1. 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).
  2. Place the unbroken eggs in a bowl of warm water to bring them to room temperature, set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 .
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove onto a cooling rack. Once cool frost with chai buttercream.

Chai Buttercream:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the softened butter and vanilla extract to the shortening and beat for another minute.
  4. Sift half the powdered sugar into the shortening/butter mixture and mix on low until incorporated.
  5. 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).
  6. Sift in the remaining powdered sugar, mix on low speed until incorporated, and then beat on medium-high for an additional five minutes.