Friday, September 11, 2009

Dyin' for a Chai Tea Latte

(You so need to click-zoom in on this photo.)

Dyin' for a chai tea latte....Albeit in cupcake form. You knew that was coming, right?

Last week, Sidenote and I were on a chai latte kick and kept thinking of things to eat or make or listen to. Yeah, I just said "listen to" right there. Click your mouse here to go check out her theme-coordinated blog entry for today. She's got the Chai Tea Latte song embedded, and it's too freaking adorable to miss out on. Go on over there. Go on!

Ok, are you back now? Isn't that song too cute for words? It makes me think about Fall and lattes from Coffee Bean. Yumm....I suppose that chai is so popular in the Fall because it hints at the spicy heaviness of Thanksgiving, but in a teensy bit lighter form. It's the perfect summertime transition drink. Or cupcake, rather. Ahem. Topic at hand, sara.

So, I modified one recipe for the cupcakes and then mix & matched two different recipes for the frosting. Aside from the obvious choice of flavor, I chose these recipes for a couple of reasons: The cupcakes are vegan, and the frosting is a style of buttercream that I'd never tried before. So, I got to test out two things at once, together. Perfect. The cupcakes turned out deliciously moist, and were super simple and quick to mix up. I did reduce the amount of spice because it was a little overpowering, but they still made my house smell amazingly good while they were baking. And for the frosting. Well. That stuff turned out sooo freaking good. Sooooo good, I'm telling you. It's my new favorite buttercream style for cakes.

My versions of these recipes and pictures are below. Enjoy!

Soaking the tea bags in almond milk. I used regular Lipton tea bags because I don't have any real black tea. So I'm not sure if you'd get more tea flavor using black tea. Let me know if you try it?

I drink almond milk, so I swapped out the soy milk in this recipe for almond milk. The tea-infused almond milk is a rich nut-brown color.

I tried this recipe twice, and I have to admit that using cake flour yielded a lighter cupcake with tops that didn't crack as easily as they did with all-purpose flour.

The batter is thin, so it's easier to pour it into the pan with a measuring glass.

Spiced Chai Latte Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes.
Adapted from Love and Olive Oil

1 c. almond or soy milk
4 black tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose leaf black tea
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground nutmeg
1/3 c. canola oil
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Heat milk in a small saucepan or microwave until almost boiling. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, then remove teabags, squeezing out as much milk as possible. Re-measure, and add more milk to make exactly 1 cup. Whisk in cider vinegar, and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Pour in the milk mixture, along with oil, sugar, and vanilla, and stir just until no large lumps remain.

Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter (liners should be 2/3 full), and bake for 20-22 minutes or until puffed and golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

It took roughly 5 melted squares to yield 1/4 cup.

As the directions indicate, the frosting can mix up soupy. Keep adding butter, one tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency. (I like my buttercreams a little more rigid so that they hold shape at room temperature.)

White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Will frost 24 cupcakes.
Adapted from Whisk Kid

1 c. granulated sugar
5 egg whites
1 - 1 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened slightly and sliced
1/4 c. white chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cook the egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it's completely smooth, it's done). Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp. Then, on a medium-slow speed, add one cup butter, one tablespoon at a time, waiting until each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. The buttercream may turn into a soupy curdled mess, but I assure you it will be ok; just beat it for a few minutes longer. It'll come together! Beat in additional tablespoons of butter until the buttercream has reached the desired consistency. Add the cinnamon and the melted and cooled white chocolate carefully. Try not to get any on the walls of the bowl as it will cool and harden there. Whip to incorporate.


  1. Those look awesome. The problem is now I've got a hankering for a delicious cupcake.

  2. Those really are pretty. I still love your original buttercream frosting - it's my go-to recipe, but I'm guessing John will want to try this one since it's got chocolate in it...

  3. Well, if you want a regular chocolate frosting, I have a separate (of course) recipe for that. It's sooooo yum. Down-home style as opposed to fancy. This buttercream was way diff than I'm used to, but I love it enough to go looking for more variations of flavor and technique. Hurrah!!!

  4. yum, I love chai and I love that this recipe is totally doable for me, no dairy & eggs. I will have to rethink the buttercream but I am sure I can come up with something.

    Thanks for sharing, looks delish!

  5. I tried to make the frosting and it stayed a soupy mess. I beat it for 30 mins. :/ It sounded great though. I must have done something wrong...

  6. @Anonymous - I'm so sorry that the frosting flopped on you! :( How frustrating; that frosting takes forever to put together, even on a good day. I've read other reviews of this kind of frosting, and some people put the bowl into the fridge until it get stiffer (a good 15-30 mins). You can then fluff it back up with your mixer. Maybe these instructions are more clear: