I must admit… I almost felt like I was cheating with this recipe. I used my current favorite chocolate recipe and added a few teaspoons of ground up spices – that was it!
But while the approach was straight forward, the result was great. The spices shown through the flavor of the chocolate just enough to add complexity and interest to the experience. The moist chocolatey goodness of the cake can live on its own, but ultimately, the frosting is what makes it a cupcake and the simple chai spice buttercream was a great addition. Not too overwhelming, but enhancing the flavor all the more. (I added a bit extra minced fresh ginger which was a nice touch.)
Just goes to show you… with a great base recipe and a rummage through the spice rack or pantry, anyone can come up with an interesting and tasty concoction. Days later, my husband is still talking about them and they seemed to be a hit at the art opening I made them for.
Chai Spice Mix
2 teaspoons fennel, whole
2 teaspoons cloves, whole
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.
Chocolate Chai Spice Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cacao
3 sticks butter
2-1/4 cups sugar
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.
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
6. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, chai spice mix, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and mix until blended.
7. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Chai Spice Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons chai spice mix
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
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.
Note: Everyone’s personal preferences differ. With frosting, the flavor is up to you. If you are unsure of how much of a chai flavor you want, start light on the spices and add a teaspoon at a time until you get to a flavor you like. Same goes for the sugar. It’s a matter of taste and what consistency you want to work with. Experiment until you get at what works for you.
1. Frost the cooled cupcakes.