Tuesday 21 February 2012

Chai Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream Icing

I love chai tea with that lovely blend of spices and a hint of honey. I've got some Choc Chip Chai loose-leaf tea from T2, and I woke up one morning with a craving for some chai-flavoured baking using the tea. What better to make than chai cupcakes?

I adapted this recipe and upped the chai flavouring by infusing the milk before making the cupcakes, and adding chai tea to the icing. It made it extra delicious! The recipe says it makes 12 cupcakes, but I managed to get 23 out of it, so I guess it just depends on how big you make your cupcakes!

Makes approximately 23 cupcakes

For the cupcakes
75g butter, softened
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
3/4 cup of milk, plus a bit extra (the amount of liquid will reduce slightly after you infuse it with the chai tea)
2 tsp loose-leaf chai tea (I used T2's Choc Chip Chai)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt

For the chai spice mix
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves

For the honey buttercream icing
125g unsalted butter at room temperature
250g icing sugar (approx)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup hot chai tea (black, no milk) NB: You only need 2 tsp for the icing, but if you make a whole cup you can just drink the rest! You can also substitute the chai tea for 2 tsp hot milk.
4-5 tbsp honey


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake papers.
  2. Mix spices together in a small bowl and set aside.

  3. Heat the 3/4 cup of milk gently in a small saucepan over low heat until it is steaming. Take off the heat, and add the chai tea. Set aside to steep and cool to room temperature.

  4. Beat together butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla and salt, mixing until combined after each addition.
  6. Strain milk into a small jug, pressing down on the tea leaves to squeeze out the liquid. Top up to 3/4 cup again with the extra milk if necessary.
  7. Add milk and sifted flour alternately in two batches each, stirring until combined. Add 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and mix gently until batter is combined and smooth.

  8. Spoon mixture into prepared cupcake papers and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then cool on a wire rack.

Honey Buttercream Icing

  1. Beat butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually sift in icing sugar and add honey tablespoon by tablespoon to taste, beating until smooth. Add vanilla and two teaspoons of the chai tea, and beat until smooth. NB: I tend to make icing without measuring out my icing sugar. I just keep adding a little more until the icing has the right consistency.
  2. Place in fridge for 15 min to set slightly before piping onto cooled cupcakes.

  3. Sprinkle the cupcakes with the remaining spice mix and enjoy!

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