There was a time when i knew nothing about baking cakes. I didn’t grow up with an oven, most people in India never owned one. Most people in India bought cakes for 2 or maybe 3 occasions, birthdays, Christmas and new year. The ones bought around Christmas and new year always came in a box with assorted cake slices, some with vanilla frosting, some chocolate and some with pistachio frosting and the box always contained one ball of plum or fruit cake.
Fast forward 20+years, here i am baking cakes just because i want to de-stress. Times have certainly changed, so have my tastes. That said, my newest weakness is this beautiful vanilla chai cupcakes adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe. Plain, simple vanilla is paired with complex chai spices to create this fluffy, aromatic cake. I used lagrima pure vanilla extract and whoever thinks vanilla is boring will definitely change their opinion after using this liquid gold. This vanilla extract definitely stands apart from other brands i have used in terms of flavor and aroma and i love that the glass bottles come with a vanilla bean inside. Cardamom and vanilla are definitely a match made in heaven and this cupcake is a testimony to that. This recipe yields about 20-22 mini cupcakes. If you are watching your sugar intake, make sure to share the vanilla love because i promise you can’t stop with just one. These cuties would make a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table.
Ingredients for vanilla cupcakes
3/4 stick butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
Ingredients for chai spice mix
3/4 teaspoon powdered cardamom
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Ingredients for frosting
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line mini muffin pan with paper liners and set them aside.
2. Mix all the ingredients listed under chai spice and reserve half for frosting.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in the egg and add vanilla extract, mix well.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and half of the chai spice mix.
6. Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
7. Fill each muffin liner with 1 tablespoon of batter.
8. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with few crumbs.
9. Cool the cupcakes completely and frost with chai spiced frosting.
10. For the frosting, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, chai spice, salt and vanilla extract. Beat until creamy and smooth.
11. Beat whipping cream in a chilled mixing bowl and whisk until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
12. Fold the whipped cream with cream cheese mixture until everything is incorporated.
13. Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. I used Wilton 1M swirl tip for the cakes in the picture.