A few weeks ago I got to visit one of my favorite local brands – Bhakti Chai! I was so inspired by the flavors from the brewery, I’ve been dying to make the perfect chai spice cake recipe. After LOTS of testing, I’ve found the perfect recipe for my Bhakti Chai Cupcakes with Cardamom Buttercream! The cupcakes are light and moist, while the frosting packs a punch with cardamom infused sugar. Enjoy a cupcake with your favorite Bhakti Brew!
Chai is a traditional Indian beverage made from brewed black tea, ginger, milk, and masala (a spice blend with spices such as cardamom, cloves, allspice, etc). Most people enjoy this beverage hot, but in the middle of the summer, Iced Chai is my favorite way to go! It tastes pretty darn good with these cupcakes too.
Cardamom Infused Buttercream
I grew up making chai with my mom. Each family has their own blend of spices, but my mother uses lots of fresh ginger and her special cardamom infused sugar. Whenever she used cardamom seeds in a dish, my mother would save the pods and leftovers and put them in the sugar bowl. Over time, the sugar infused with the tasty aroma of the cardamom and provided it’s own unique flavor! I used her method as inspiration for the cardamom buttercream. However, rather than allowing the pods to infuse the sugar with cardamom flavor over time, I used a spice grinder to grind cardamom seeds with granulated sugar to form my own infused confectioner’s sugar for the buttercream. The little brown flecks in the frosting are pieces of the ground cardamom seeds!
To make the buttercream, I used a simple, tried-and-true buttercream recipe. Make sure to use room temperature softened butter when making your buttercream! That is the key to getting a smooth and silky texture without any fatty plain butter lumps. I use the ratio 3:1 – 3 parts confectioner’s sugar to 1 part softened butter. It seems like a lot of sugar at first but you’ll need it! I also add the milk based on how my sugar / butter mixture is doing. Only add enough milk so that the frosting is smooth, not runny. Your patience will be rewarded!
Chai Spice Cupcakes
Chai is unique for its spice kick which is even more delicious in a cupcake. The secret to this recipe is in the brew – I made this recipe with concentrated Original Bhakti Chai. The concentrate has plenty of flavor and spices. In order to get the cupcakes to pack in the flavor, I reduced the concentrate into a syrup and used the syrup as my “liquid” in the cakes.
To make my syrup, I poured the chai concentrate + 1/3 of my brown sugar into a shallow pan. The wider and shallower pan, the better. This provides more surface area so the chai reduces faster. Stir constantly and don’t take your eyes off this pan, it can start to reduce quickly! Only reduce the mixture until it starts to coat the back of the spoon. It should be reduced to about half of it’s size at this point. Let the syrup cool slightly before pouring into the cake batter. For an extra something something, I added a tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice to the syrup. Wowza!
Bhakti Chai Cupcakes with Cardamom Buttercream
The cupcakes are light and moist, while the frosting packs a punch with cardamom infused sugar. Enjoy a cupcake with your favorite Bhakti Brew!
Chai Spice Cupcakes
- 1 cup Original Concentrated Bhakti Chai
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.25 sticks softened butter
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups flour
For the Frosting
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- 10 pods cardamom
- 1 cup butter softened
- 2 tbsp milk
Chai Spice Cakes
In a wide shallow pan, mix 1 cup chai concentrate with 1/3 cup of brown sugar.
Stir continuously to reduce. Allow the syrup to reduce until it coats the back of a spoon, about 1/2 the original volume.
Set aside and allow the syrup to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake baking pan with liners.
Cream the softened butter with the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add 1/3 of the dry mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. Pour in 1/2 of the chai syrup into the mixture. Alternate until all ingredients are incorporated.
Scoop batter into pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle of the cakes and come out clean.
Allow cupcakes to cool thoroughly before frosting.
Remove cardamom seeds from the pods.
In a spice grinder, grind seeds and 1/4 cup sugar. Pulse until the sugar is the consistency of confectioner's sugar.
Cream butter, cardamom infused sugar, and regular confectioner's sugar until incorporated throughly.
Add milk as needed to achieve the desired texture. Don't add too much!
Frost the cooled cupcakes and enjoy with a glass of iced Bhakti Chai!