Monday, February 13, 2012

Chai Latte Cupcakes

I don't usually make cupcakes, but had to try these out. It's my friend's recipe and they are delicious (Thanks, Sutira!). It's a little complex for me - lots and lots of steps! I guess I'm just not used to making cupcakes and frosting from scratch (box mix is much easier! and faster!) but it was well worth it for these ones.

Chai Latte Cupcakes
// 350 degrees // 15-18 minutes // makes about 12 regular cupcakes //

Chai Spice Mixture
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1 teaspoon ground cloves 
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom 
Combine the spices together in a small bowl.

(FYI - cardamom is super expensive... like $12 for a little itty bit. So being on the spending diet that we are, I ended up using about 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. It's not an exact substitute for cardamom, but I think it did the trick.)

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes
1 ½ cups cake flour 
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder 
½ teaspoon salt 
2 teaspoons chai spice mixture 
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 cup sugar 
1 egg plus 2 egg whites 
½ cup whole milk 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl
4. Stir in the chai spice mixture
5. Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed until soft and creamy
6. Add in egg and egg whites, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition to combine before adding the next
7. Add in the flour mixture and milk mixture in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat just to combine each addition before adding the next
8. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill each cupcake liner about ¾ full with batter
9. Bake in oven for 15 to 18 minutes

Now for the frosting... I've never made buttercream or meringue before, so this was interesting. A lot of work if you ask me (and a lot of butter!) but it was pretty darn tasty.

Swiss Meringue Honey Buttercream

3/4 cup sugar 
2 teaspoons honey 
4 large egg whites 
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-in pieces 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

1. Combine the sugar, honey, and egg whites in a medium metal bowl and place over a pan of simmering water
2. Whisk the sugar mixture constantly over heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks smooth and shiny. Continue whisking until the mixture reaches 160 degrees
3. Remove mixture from heat and pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk on medium speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture has cooled
4. Switch to the paddle attachment and with the speed on low, add the butter a few pieces at a time, beating until smooth. Do not add the butter too quickly or beat too quickly or the buttercream may 
5. When all the butter has been added, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed for about 6-10 minutes until it is very thick and smooth. It may appear to separate briefly but continue beating and it should come back together
6. Add in the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Place a piece of plastic wrap against the surface until you are ready to use it to prevent it from drying out. 


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