February 1, 2012

chai one on

I wouldn't call myself a tea-drinker. I imagine there's something soothing and cathartic about bouncing that little bag of herbs up and down in a steaming mug of water, but the flavors I've tried have never really done anything for me.


That said, I shamelessly confess to being obsessed with chai tea. I first discovered it when I was a barista at a Barnes and Noble cafe (proudly serving Starbucks beverages since 1993!), and I've loved it ever since. Yes, I like it even more than the sinfully decadent white chocolate mocha.

If you predicted that I used a recipe from Martha's book, you get 30 points and a cookie. I did make it my own, however, by filling it with dulce de leche (which, for the record, was quickly absorbed by the cupcake and left a giant hole in the cupcake...doh!) and topping it with a cinnamon-tinged buttercream frosting. Even though the caramel seeped into the cupcake, the flavor was still there and delicious. The only thing affected was the appearance--I suppose a cone-shaped crater can be a bit off-putting.


This is a great cupcake. I'm feeling generous today--62 points for Martha and her team (but no cookies!).

Chai Cupcakes with Caramel Stuffing and Cinnamon Buttercream
(from Martha)

3/4 cup milk
2 bags black tea
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon course salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup dulce de leche

Cinnamon Buttercream:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2-3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Bring milk to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat; add tea bags, and let steep, covered, 15 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing the bags over the pan, and discard. Allow milk to cool completely.
Whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt, pepper and spices.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of tea-infused milk, and beating until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops spring back when lightly touched and are pale golden, 10-12 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few minutes. Add the cinnamon and milk and briefly blend. Add the powdered sugar gradually until the frosting is thick enough to spread easily. If the frosting is too dry, add additional milk until the desired consistency is reached.
To fill the cupcakes, carve out a cone-shaped hole (forget donut holes--I'm marketing cake holes!) and carefully spoon the dulce de leche inside. Apply frosting generously to cupcakes and, after giving the components a few minutes to get to know each other, devour.

45 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wonderful! Chai tea tastes amazing. Your cupcakes must be divinely spicy.

Cheers,

Rosa

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

I will gladly take your cone-shapped crater cupcake and a cookie, please. :)

kimberleyblue said...

I would look past the hole and just enjoy what looks like a gooey, wonderful cupcake. I love the addition of the dulche de leche, must've been amazing with the chai flavours.

Elizabeth said...

I love chai tea!! I bet these are amazing!

Lynda said...

I'm betting these cupcakes taste amazing. Love the chai tea flavor; and dulce de leche elevates any thing in my book, crater or not. Great job Grace!

Faith said...

Chai is one of my favorite teas and I bet it's amazing in these cupcakes! The dulce de leche was a great addition -- I don't mind a crater in it if a cupcake tastes this delicious!

Pam said...

I have a vague memory of making a chai baked good. I went and checked my blog, and it was Chai Biscotti, for a cinnamon event that you hosted!

Kanan said...

Wonderful cupcakes.. love chai in it.
cake looks so moist. I m going to boomar it

Aarthi said...

This looks awesome..Yummy Recipe

Aarthi
http://www.yummytummyaarthi.com/

Lisa-Marie said...

I think you are aware I QUITE like tea.

I am all over these. Do you think if I froze the caramel stuff, it would stay inside and not be absorbed?

Juliana said...

Grace, chai and dulce de leche? I am in...looks delicious! Great combination...
Thanks for this recipe and hope you are having a great day :)

Erica said...

I love dulce de leche!!!These cupcakes look amazing!

Katy said...

Try, instead of coning the center of the cupcake, using a piping nozzle and piping bag to squirt the dulce de leche in without cutting any cupcake out. It'll soak in, and you'll still have a nice fat cupcake!

vanillasugarblog said...

gracie i love me some chai too, but sadly i don't like it too sweet (i cut way back on hot sugar drinks a year and a half ago). BUT i did not cut back on sugary foods LOL. I just couldn't take all that sugar in the mornings. So now I take my espresso with whole milk and I love it--the buzz is way better. LOL

~~louise~~ said...

I'm a coffee drinker myself, Grace. However, afternoon tea has become a ritual around here since Marion arrived and I must say, I rather like the "bouncing" tea bag:) My first experience with chai is recent and I just fell in love with it.

I can only imagine the delectable taste of your "pocket book" cupcakes. I attempted Sweet Potato Muffins the other night and I can tell you, those "babies" were a disaster! (you know how baking challenged I am:)

Nothing would please me more than to be able to take a nibble at your enticing cupcake. (most likely with a cup of coffee:)

Thank you so much for sharing...

Sue/the view from great island said...

Black coffee for me, and lots of it, but I would love to have one of the cupcakes along with it.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I'm quite tea obsessed (although infusions not as much, I like a bit of caffeine ;) ). I didn't guess that you'd use a Martha book but can I have the cookie anyway? ;)

MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College said...

Oh my this look amazing! I love chai tea, and ALL tea really.

I can't stop thinking about cinnamon tinged butter cream...

shaz said...

You could call it a "Mystery cupcake" - guess what was in the crater :) Sounds delicious, caramel and cinnamon, oh my! Now I want cookies...

Btw - your inside out pineapple cup cake sounds sensational!

Joanne said...

I go through phases with tea, but I've always loved chai. It's all those spices...they're intoxicating. I'm sure even more so in cupcake form.

Becki's Whole Life said...

They look awesome - caramel hole and all! I love S'bucks Chai - it's probably my favorite sweet drink there. It's definitely the spices and they are captured very well in this cupcake. The cardamom makes it for me:-). I like Tazo and TJ's chai tea. Not the sweet flavor, but you get the nice spices.

The Blonde Duck said...

This is a cool cupcake!

Julie M. said...

I've fallen victim to the caramel hole in baking as well. Why can't it just stay there darn it! It certainly doesn't affect the flavor though and chai with caramel sounds perfectly heavenly to me.

Deborah said...

I'm not a tea drinker, but that center has totally drawn me in!!

Angie's Recipes said...

I love tea in the baked goods too. The cupcake looks really super, esp. the cinnamon buttercream.

CharlesR said...

Hi Grace:
So with the hole there.... are there less calories?

I kind of like the hole, it looks so ooey and gooey.

Thanks for not using a cream cheese icing!

Charlie

Barbara said...

You've used black tea! What fun. I like chai tea too. And why does it not surprise me to see cinnamon in the frosting as well as the batter? :)
However.....the thing that caught me was dulce de leche. My downfall.
Yummy cupcake, Grace!

Cara said...

I never thought I was a tea drinker, till I had reason to cut way back on coffee. Now I find that chai is one of my favorites :)

Beth said...

These sound wonderful! Crater or not, I know I'd love them.

Helene said...

I'm addicted to Starbucks Chai Latte. Yummy cupcake.

Amy said...

Wow! I love chai tea - these cupcakes are so creative and look sooo good!

Lori said...

I have chai every afternoon- totally love it. I like Stash brand the best.

Hungry Dog said...

Somehow I've never had chai tea--why not, I have no idea. I certainly would go for one of these cupcakes though, crater or no.

foodhoe said...

Ooh, I love chai! All the spices mixed in with fragrant tea and then topped with cinnamon buttercream... oh my

lisa is cooking said...

Interesting that the dulce de leche disappeared into the cake. Good to know! Love the thought of chai flavors in a cupcake. Can I have a cup of tea on the side too?

Magic of Spice said...

That is most delightful and so very pretty! Love the flavors :)

culinography said...

You had me at chai.... oh. my.

Pam said...

I love chai so you can imagine how much I would love these little beauties. YUM!

Carolyn Jung said...

I think a cup of tea just naturally makes you slow down to enjoy it. It must be sipped, not gulped. It's relaxation in a cup. ;)

vianney said...

Chai is one of my many weakness!! I know I would love these ... but no sharing!

Gloria said...

Oh my Grace Always when I m come here I feel hungry and want cravings! look delicious and amazing of course!!! gloria

Hornsfan said...

Love Chai!! Love it so much, these look divine!

Rosita Vargas said...

Ohhh...mi querida Grace es una tentación estupenda ,me encantaría dar un mordiscón,abrazos hugs,hugs.

Velva said...

These chai tea cupcakes look divine. Awesome.

Velva

I Wilkerson said...

Looks sooo good. I'd probably just fill the hole with extra buttercream!