Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chocolate Chai Cupcakes

It was my birthday recently. The big 2-9. The last year before ::whispers, panicked:: thirty. Panic, panic? Let's eat some chocolate!

Chai spiced tea is actually my favorite tea and one of the only things I get when I go to any coffee shop. Add to that I recently found an organic chai chocolate bar at my local grocery store and I just had to make something with the flavor combination. Since truffles are a little too labor intensive for me right now, I thought a cupcake would be a good idea.

I was inspired by this recipe from Cupcake Bake Shop. She runs a great blog with so many unique cupcake flavors, it is unreal.

I made these twice. Both times I used the frosting recipe listed below and both times I found it too sweet. No one else complained but I think I am done with this kind of frosting recipe.

Chai Spice Mix

2 teaspoons fennel, whole
2 teaspoons cloves, whole
1 tablespoon cardamom, ground
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
2 teaspoons ginger, ground

~ Grind the fennel and cloves in a coffee grinder.

~Combine the fennel and clove mixture with the cardamom, cinnamon and ginger in a small bowl and mix to combine.

Chocolate Chai Spice Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes

200 gram bar of 61% cacao
3 sticks butter
2-1/4 cups sugar
8 eggs
1-1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons chai spice mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

~Chop chocolate and cube butter. Combine butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl and place over a pan on simmering water. Stir until melted and combined, careful to not let the water boil or touch the bottom of the bowl.

~Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

~In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, chai spice mix and salt and mix until blended.

~Transfer the chocolate mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 3 minutes.

~Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds until the egg has been combined.

~With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

~Fill cupcake 2/3 the way full and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chai Spice Buttercream Frosting


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
2-4 teaspoons chai spice mix, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons crystallized ginger

~Beat butter until creamy. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar, milk, spice mix, vanilla and ginger. Beat until combined.

~Add more powdered sugar and chai spice as needed until desired flavor and consistency.

I added closed to 4 teaspoons of the chai mix just because I like it so much. The chai flavor in the cupcake is subtle, so the addition of the mix in the frosting really brings out the flavor. I also don't think I added 4 cups of powdered sugar, just because it was too sweet for me.

Overall these produced a dense, moist cake and a light frosting. They were also a big hit at both The Good Husband's work and my grad class. But I also need to clearly work on my frosting skills.