Friday, October 11, 2013

My Cooking Attempts: Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

I have three favorite cold weather drinks: 1) green tea latte, 2) vanilla chai tea latte, and 3) champurrado. Today we are going to talk about chai tea lattes!

I love cradling a hot latte in both hands while curled up on my couch. I love the smell of the spicy chai tea & the sweetness of the vanilla. 
Chai tea is one of the only reasons I put up with cold weather. Well, that & being able to bake without dying from heat exhaustion, boots, & sleeping in on rainy mornings. In honor of my reason to wake up on cold mornings I've decided to replicate my favorite vanilla chai tea latte in cupcake form. Because then I get two of my favorite cold weather things, a chai tea latte & baking, in one little cupcake.

3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, light or dark
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
4 chai teabags
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves

I know it may seem like a lot of spices, but they really make a difference, so don't skip any! I think its the perfect blend & depth of spices. You won't loose the taste of the spices in the sweet cupcake, yet I promise you won't feel overwhelmed by them either. Trust me, if my 6 year old nephew ate & enjoyed one, without frosting, then you will too!

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Bring milk to a light boil. Steep teabags in milk for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, & spices (cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, & cinnamon).

Cream your butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, & vanilla extract & paste. 

Mix in half the dry ingredients. Don't over mix. Add half the chai infused milk, blend to incorporate. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and milk. 

Fill in your cupcake liners 3/4 of the way up. Bake 15-18 minutes. 
Allow to cool slightly and transfer to cooling rack.

Meanwhile whip up some frosting. I opted for a stabilized vanilla whipped cream with a dusting of ground cinnamon to top it off. I figured I'd go for a literal interpretation of a latte topped with whipped cream.

1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder 
2 tbsp cold water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp confecctioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
pinch of salt

In a bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water. Scald 2 tablespoons of whipping cream & pour over gelatin. Stir until dissolved.
Refrigerate about 15 minutes. Then whisk until smooth.
*Warning: Don't let it sit for more then 15 minutes otherwise you will end up with lumps. And trust me they a'int no lovely lady lumps ;)*
Once it's smooth mix in the remaining cream. Slowly incorporate sugar, salt, & vanilla. Mix until smooth, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary.

Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with a dusting of ground cinnamon. Now inhale. Literally take a whiff of that baby, it smells delicious. Now taste it. Wasn't it worth all those spices? I sure think so!

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