These brown sugar chai cupcakes are soft and made with my own masala chai spice mix. To top them off, I paired them with a velvety chai cream cheese frosting.
Even though I consume chai any time year-round, I always feel like I should consume more chai during fall. And since it’s that time of the year, you may see more chai-related recipes from me than usual. Since I’ve already made my own masala chai spice mix, I had to find excuses to use it as much as possible. I felt that making cupcakes with this was a strong start.
Note on the chai usage
If you don’t feel like going through the trouble of making your own chai mix, or if you just don’t have all the ingredients for the mix on hand, don’t despair! You can use any unsweetened chai powder mix of your choosing. Why unsweetened? You’re already going to be using a whole cup of brown sugar here, so you don’t want to risk these chai cupcakes to turn out overly sweet.
For the chai concentrate, I used the one from Trader Joe’s, but you can use your own. Alternatively, you can steep a black tea bag in hot water and use that as a substitute instead. As long as you get that black tea flavor in with the amount indicated in the recipe, you’re good!
Tools you’ll need
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 egg, room temp
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp chai mix*
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup chai concentrate**
- 1/3 cup sour cream, room temp
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cream cheese frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp chai mix*
- 1 tbsp chai concentrate**
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat the butter and brown sugar using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium-high until light and floofy (at least 5 minutes). Add the vegetable oil and egg and beat for another minute.
- In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients (flour, chai mix, baking soda, baking powder, salt) and mix thoroughly.
- In a smaller bowl, mix the chai concentrate, sour cream and vanilla extract together.
- Going back to your batter in the stand mixer, alternate adding the dry ingredients and sour cream mixture and mix on low. So first add about half of the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated, then half of the sour cream mixture, and so on.
- Scoop out your batter into a lined cupcake or muffin pan, filling only about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- While your cupcakes are baking, make your cream cheese frosting. Beat the softened butter and cream cheese together first. Then, add the rest of the ingredients (chai mix, chai concentrate, vanilla extract, powdered sugar) until well-incorporated and your frosting is fairly homogenous. You can either put in a piping bag or just a container and let it chill until your cupcakes are ready to frost.
- Make sure your chai cupcakes have sufficiently cooled down before topping them off with the cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!
*I used my own masala chai mix (which you can find the recipe for here, but you can use any unsweetened chai powder mix of your choosing.
**For the chai concentrate, I used the one from Trader Joe's, but you can use your own. Alternatively, you can steep a black tea bag in hot water and use that as a substitute instead. As long as you get that black tea flavor in with the amount indicated in the recipe, you're good.
Storage and refrigeration
Since these chai cupcakes have cream cheese frosting, make sure to put them on the fridge. You don’t want them sitting on the counter for more than 8 hours. However, before eating or serving these again, let them get to room temperature so the cupcakes can relax. Otherwise, the texture will be a bit tough. Lastly, these chai cupcakes can last up to 3 days in the fridge. Hopefully, you wouldn’t take that long to eat them all 😉
// ON THE SCENE
- Bottom backdrop: Woodville Workshop — Amsterdam
- Props: cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, whole allspice, whole cloves