I’ve been testing these cupcakes for a bit now, trying to get the flavors/texture just right. The goal has been a cupcake without a bunch of refined sugar that tasted as though you were biting into a chai latte and I think I’m there. I tried to make these work with using only chai tea but the cupcakes came out more “I think if I close my eyes and imagine, I taste chai.” So in came the spices paired with black tea and that made all the difference.
I also used to be a big frosting girl, buttercream, cream cheese- you name it, I loved it. Now, however, I find I want something just a bit lighter that doesn’t weigh down the cake. However, my husband is the opposite and was slightly disappointed when he discovered these cupcakes were not lathered with cream cheese frosting (and so, I think a maple cream cheese frosting would also work well!)
Chai Cupcakes with Maple Whipped Cream
- Chai Mixture
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 whole star anise
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 black tea bags
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 cup 2% or whole milk
- Cupcake Batter
- 3/4 cup unbleached flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large egg
- Maple Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- In a small pot, combine spices, tea bags, butter, maple syrup, and milk. Bring mixture to a simmer, letting butter melt, and once everything is melted together and warm, remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes. After, remove star anise and tea bags, making sure to squeeze any remaining liquid from the tea bags.
- Preheat oven to 350˚ and line a muffin tin with 6 liners.
- In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs then add to dry ingredients along with the cooled chai mixture. Stir until batter is just combined.
- Divide batter into the muffin tin and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes until muffins spring back when pressed and a toothpick comes out clean when entered into the muffin. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer muffins out of the tin to a rack and finish cooling.
- Once muffins are cool, using a hand mixer, stand mixer, or arm muscle/whisk, beat heavy cream until it can form stiff peaks (but not breaking apart). Whisk in maple syrup.
- Spread or pipe the whipped cream onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon to serve.
by Erin Alderson