In the Kitchen: Chocolate Chai Spice Cupcakes

In an attempt to get all my recipes and cooking talk in one place, I’ll be periodically re-posting recipes from my time writing on the Kitchen Mirror here. In some cases I may update pictures & proof-read, but for the most part it will just be a re-posting of what I had there. The posts are not in chronological order – I’m trying to post holiday appropriate recipes near the holidays they go with & fill in others around them.

Originally posted November 20, 2009.

I found (or was sent) this recipe for Chocolate Chai Spice cupcakes at least 2 years ago, maybe more. And it sat in my bookmarks for those entire 2+ years without me trying them, partially because I didn’t have cardamom, partially because they looked like a lot of work.

Chocolate Chai Spice Cupcake
When knit night friend Selena was back in town in October, I had promised to make her some cupcakes. I didn’t want to make the same ones I had done last time I went cupcake crazy, but wanted something special. I decided to break out this recipe and get down to business.

The day I was baking the cupcakes, I was looking over the recipe at work to make sure I had everything I needed to get started. My twitter status updates that day were about cupcakes, with such gems as:

There were also discussions on if I could use applesauce in place of some of the butter because, HOLY MOSES THAT’S A LOT OF BUTTER. And that was just in the cupcakes & did not include the 2 sticks in the frosting. In the end, though, I said “screw it” and just went with the recipe as written. With all 5 sticks of butter.

I bake things like this and wonder why I’m not on the weight loss train at the moment. Hmm. Let me think about that some more.

The cupcakes turned out fabulous – I think Mindy said they were her new favorite cupcake or something to that effect. It’s been a month since I made them, I can barely remember my name at this point.

The recipe, lifted from Chockylit with my notes in green:

Chai Spice Mix

  • 2 teaspoons fennel, whole (I used ground because I could find it & don’t have a food processor)
  • 2 teaspoons cloves, whole (again, I used ground)
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom, ground
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, ground

1. With a small food processor, grind up the whole fennel and cloves.
2. Transfer to a small bowl and add remaining spices. Mix to combine. (Obviously I just mixed mine all together since I didn’t have to use a food processor.)

YIP 169.365 Cupcake Overload
The ones that aren’t chocolate are a failed experiment in sweet potato cupcakes. Lesson: Don’t try other recipes when you have a perfectly good one already.

Chocolate Chai Spice Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

  • 200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cacao (Ghiradelli works well if you can’t find Valrhona easily)
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons chai spice mix
  • pinch of salt

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined. Time to come clean – I don’t have a real mixer, I have a hand held one. And until about 2 weeks ago, I didn’t have a proper bowl for melting and mixing. So I just melt things directly over the heat on my gas stove and it works FINE as long as I don’t forget it’s there and keep stirring. Seriously.
3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
5. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each. Or be lazy like me and add the eggs 2 at a time, then mix until they’re blended in.
6. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, chai spice mix, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and mix until blended. Yes, I actually sifted it in. It was quite nice, too. Except that I don’t have a real sifter, just one of the small wire strainer doohickeys, so it took a little longer to sift through that than it would with an old school sifter like this one. My parents had one like that. It was fantastic.
7. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I think, other than the mixer issue, I did everything just like she says there. I let my cupcakes cool overnight. My ironing board makes a great cooling rack since I lack counter space. I have no idea how I’m going to be able to bake for Christmas with no counter space.

Chai Spice Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup milk I may have forgotten the milk and used water instead because I was reading two recipes at once. I should not multi-task when baking. Or did I do that with a different recipe? I did it once and everything turned out fine. Now I think I did that with the peanut butter frosting, though. Hmm.
  • 2 teaspoons chai spice mix I think I used at least 3 tsp, maybe more. I still have some of the mix left.
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger I did not use this.

1. Beat butter until creamy, scrape bowl.
2. Add 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, milk, spice mix, and ginger. Beat until combined.
3. Add more powdered sugar as needed to get piping consistency.

Seriously, y’all, this frosting was amazing. I still have some in my freezer because I didn’t use it all.

This recipe has definitely earned a place in my personal arsenal of baking. They turned out great, really weren’t that much work, and were devoured almost instantly. YUM.


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