In India, chai is a lot more than just tea. It’s a way off life. Chai shops across the country are filled all day with people chattering about life, politics, cricket, or just passing the time. And Indian chefs are starting to take the chai out of the tea glass and into the kitchen
The spice mixture the flavors the milky brown liquid also makes a great addition to cocktails, soups and especially desserts.
The spices in these cupcakes – like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves – are kind like India’s answer to pumpkin spice. The cupcakes are topped off with a rich buttercream frosting and finished off with candied orange peel garnish for a touch of color and citrusy sweetness.
And you can’t go wrong serving them with a piping hot cup of chai. Feel free to leave the politics out of it.
Recipe via The Food Channel.
For the chai cupcakes
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 bag chai tea
For the cinnamon buttercream frosting
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup salted sweet cream butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the candied orange peel garnish
- 2 orange peels
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup water
To make the candied orange peel garnish
- 1 Start with the garnish, as your orange peels will need to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. To start, rinse oranges and remove the skins in thin, even strips (I try not to get too much pith otherwise they can get a little too bitter).
- 2 Place the strips of peel in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Drain the water from the peels and repeat this process two more times.
- 3 In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and ¾ cup water. Pour the sugar water into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let the mixture cook for 8-9 minutes at a constant simmer.
- 4 Let the mixture cook for 8-9 minutes at a constant simmer. Add the peel and cook for 45 minutes up to 1 hour, OR just until the peels are translucent, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain the simmer. Avoid stirring, as this will cause crystallization.
- 5 If necessary, swirl the pan to make sure that all of the peels get covered with the syrup. Drain any remaining syrup from the peels and place them on wax paper or a cooling rack to harden.
To make the cupcakes
- 1 Preheat oven to 375F.
- 2 Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer until fluffy and well combined. Crack and beat the 2 eggs in a separate bowl, then add them into the sugar and butter mixture.
- 3 Mix well. Add vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, milk, ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange zest and chai tea.
- 4 Beat all the ingredients until well incorporated and pour into individual baking cups, about ⅔ full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
To make the cinnamon buttercream frosting
- 1 Place sugar, butter, vanilla extract, milk and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Beat on low until powdered sugar is incorporated. Then move mixer up to medium-high speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.
- 2 Paste on finished cupcakes.