I thought it was time to get all the girl’s together for a night of champagne, silly games, and lots of girl-talk. So what better thing to serve than only desserts!
I am by no means an accomplished baker. In fact, I don’t even own real cupcake tins and I certainly don’t have a standing mixer. So, I wanted to strike a balance between making something unique, delicious, and not too advanced.
Chai Tea cupcakes with cinnamon frosting!
Now before you become really impressed with me for inventing an awesome recipe, I have to let you know that I did some research and stumbled upon an amazing recipe from a really great website called Bakingdom.com.
Here are the basic ingredients you will need to get started, along with my recommended tweaks to make these even better!:
FOR THE CUPCAKES
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I put in more like 2.5 teaspoons because, let’s be honest, who couldn’t use more cinnamon!)
3/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves (I recommend buying whole cloves and crushing them with the flat blade of a knife. They are a lot more fresh that way)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 eggs (for vegan cupcakes replace the eggs with an extra half cup apple sauce)
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 cup soy milk
4 chai tea bags
FOR THE FROSTING
1 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon (up to 1/2 teaspoon more, if desired)
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (I only used about 2.5 cups of sugar so that the frosting wasn’t overbearingly sweet)
Ok, I admit it. When I saw this list, I was also feeling a little over my head! I don’t think I’d ever heard of cake flour before this recipe (and I’m still not sure what the difference is) but, here we go!
Heat up the soy milk in a saucepan and wait until it simmers. When it’s simmering, put the 4 tea bags in the milk and remove the pot from heat. I left the tea bags in for almost 30 minutes, while I prepared the rest of the mix.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl. As a side note, if you buy whole cloves, you can easily crush them by taking a large knife or the side of a saucepan and pressing down on the cloves until they are crushed.
The recipe asks you to cream butter and sugar together. How, you may ask, do I do this without a mixer! Well, here’s a temptation you should avoid at all costs: do not melt the butter in the microwave!! I have learned this lesson the hard way and I’d like to save all of you from a butter-related incident. If you melt the butter in the microwave, your mix will become a liquid disaster. It’s not a good look!
Instead, I would leave the butter out on the counter while you prepare the rest of your recipe so that it is soft enough for you to work with. Put the butter into a bowl and, using a large spoon, press down firmly. As it melts, it will become easier to work with and, eventually, you will be able to mix it around until it, literally, creamy.
Once you have acheived a creamy texture, add in the sugar and keep mixing until it is nice and creamy. Start adding the eggs, one at a time and keep mixing! Once the eggs are mixed in, add the apple sauce and mix the whole thing until it has a really soft consistency.
This is the last step! You are going to add everything together, but I found that it worked best to add the chai tea mixture to the creamed butter and then add a little of the flour mixture. Alternating between the two will allow you to feel out the right consistency. So, keep adding and mixture until it feels thick and liquid.
I do have to warn you that this cupcake recipe comes out in a more liquid texture. Which, of course, worried me when I was pouring the liquid batter into my little paper cupcake foils, thinking they would fall apart at any second. But, fear not! This fact actually makes these cupcakes the most moist I’ve ever had.
Ok, so now you can throw them in the oven, take a sip of the wine (that you’ve probably already been sipping, let’s be honest), and…oh wait, the most daunting task of all is still ahead: the frosting! I hope you have more wine where that came from!
You can check on your cakes by putting a toothpick through the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, they are ready to come out.
To preface, I was really surprised at how amazing and easy this frosting was. I also encourage you to purchase a piping bag (I bought mine for 3 bucks at Safeway!). It’s a little touch that really goes a long way and gives off the air of totally knowing what you’re doing!
Again, don’t forget to the use the butter trick I talked about above to create a smooth consistency with your butter. Once the butter is creamy, add in the vanilla and cinnamon. I also added nutmeg and cardamom, about two dashes of each. Adding more than the cinnamon gave the frosting depth, as opposed to it just being sweet.
Mix in the vanilla and spices. Once everything is mixed, start adding in the confectioner’s sugar, about a half a cup at a time. It should really start to look like frosting! And, just in case you aren’t sure, you can do a little taste test (little being the operative word) and see if it’s the consistency and taste you want.
If you find the texture is too soft, you can add more sugar, but be mindful that it will add sweet too. To counterbalance sweetness, add more spice. And if the frosting is too stiff, add a little soy milk. See, there’s a quick fix for everything!
FROSTING THE CUPCAKES:
One of the hardest parts for me is waiting for these bad boys to cool down! But trust me, it just won’t work if you try to put frosting on the cupcakes before they are ready.
Once they are cool, fill up the piping bag and squeeze out as much frosting as you want. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can also use a spatula or spoon to press frosting onto the cupcakes.
Ta-da! I really learned that any recipe can be tackled, even if you don’t have all the tools. Which reminds me a lot of being a lawyer. Sometimes, you don’t have all the tools but, somehow, you can pull off someth
ing really amazing that makes you look like a pro!
I only took a couple pictures of the final product, but I promise, I’ll take more pictures of everything I make and post going forward!