Chai Infusion

Every year for Rosh Hashana or Passover, my family and I drive out to Toronto to celebrate at my aunts. What I love most about the holidays is that we get to eat all the best comfort foods in one sitting with all the people we love! At our dinners, everyone ends up bringing their own special dish, so we can count on the tried and true favorites being there as well as some special surprises.

This year we’re heading over for Rosh Hashana, and in the spirit of my last post on fall and all things cozy, I decided that I was going to make and bring these delicious fall inspired Pumpkin Cupcakes with a Chai Buttercream Icing. This is pure comfort food if you ask me and since I wanted to make something that would be easy to transport during the 6 hour long drive, cupcakes were the best bet. I could also decorate them when I got there which made me really happy – because let’s face it, isn’t that the best part of baking?

These cupcakes were perfect and truly inspired by the delicious pumpkin chai tea that I have been drinking daily. By adding a chai flavour to the buttercream I was able to create the perfect marriage! Since the buttercream recipe calls for 1/2 cup of milk, I decided I would infuse it with the chai flavour by bringing it to a low simmer and seeping 2 chai tea bags in it for about 5 minutes. I then let it cool and added the mixture to the recipe as called for. The results were perfect! These cupcakes turned out just the way I imagined them. They were moist and had the ultimate balance of sweet and savory. The strong spicy pumpkin flavour of the cupcakes really complimented the very sweet chai buttercream icing on top. The perfect fall treat!

Ingredients:

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

Cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside (I use parchment paper so they slide off easy). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices; set aside
2. In the bowl combine butter, 4 cups sugar, infused milk, and vanilla and chai concentrate. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating for about 2 minutes after each addition, until icing reaches desired consistency (you may not need to add all the sugar).
3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched,  20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Icing:
Ingredients:
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Latte Concentrate to taste (optional)

Directions:
1. Simmer 1/2 cup of milk on low with 2 chai teabags for 5-8 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
2. In the bowl combine butter, 4 cups of sugar, infused milk, vanilla and chai concentrate.
3. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Gradually add the remaining sugar (1 cup at a time) beating for about 2 minutes after each addition, until icing reaches desired consistency (you may not need to add all the sugar).

Enjoy!

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