Best Cupcakes (involving words like chai, swiss, meringue, honey, buttercream, dougie)

Today I am going to share with you one of the best cupcake recipes EVER! Why do I say this is so?

’cause it’s frickin Chai for goodness sake!!

Autumns vigorous symphony of spicy n’ sweet nostalgia together in one warm cup(cake).

And if you don’t like Chai well that’s just plain… well, it’s plain unIndian!!

I can’t take credit for the recipe, but this Pastry girl can.  I will, however, take credit for making them awesomely.  ’cause i sorta did.

Here’s how i did it…

Boyfriend Kitchenaid makes its first appearance in the new crib.  I’m happy to report it works just as well in this kitchen as it did in the other.


Take the Bracelets off and turn your Ella Fitzgerald-Iron&Wine-Band of Horses-Beatles mix on ’cause this one requires some fuller employment.

And yes there is that one other necessary item…

SO glad that guys back.  Anyways…

First, you get your tai-“chai” on by mixing Fall’s mascot spices

Chai Spice Mixture

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamon

Combine the spices together in a small bowl

The other ingredients you’ll need:

1 ½ cups cake flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons chai spice mixture

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg plus 2 egg whites

½ cup whole milk

I have trouble finding Cake Flour at supermarket chains that’s not in retro (and i mean the crappy kind of retro) packaging with the word BLEACHED! prominently displayed.  I mean- i’m all good with “ignorantly” eating pounds of chemicals as long as they’re not splashed up on the front of the box reminding me i’m disgusting. sheesh. So I get all bourgie and find the good stuff at Whole Foods.

Directions. Cupcakes

(via Dessert First)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Stir in the chai spice mixture.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed until soft and creamy.

Add in egg and egg whites, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition to combine before adding the next.

Add in the flour mixture and milk mixture in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat just to combine each addition before adding the next.

Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon, fill each cupcake liner about ¾ full with batter. Bake in oven for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcakes comes out clean. Mini cupcakes will take about 15 minutes, so check sooner.

Let cupcakes cool in tin on a wire rack until cool before decorating

“Oh that’s SO easy” you say.  Not so fast my lass!! You may want to grab that Duncan Heinz pre-made icing off the grocery shelf, but  stop and consider first… what does a most upstanding respectable deliciously sophisticated cupcake deserve?  Would you wear a dirty ol’ baseball cap with your little black Versace dress? not relatable enough? ok then – Would you wear a dirty ol’ baseball cap with your new Target dress you just found on sale from $29.99 to $14.99? Of course not!!

So my chai cupcakes get their due with a match made in cake heaven: Swiss Meringue Honey Buttercream icing.

And this is where the relationship gets really involved…(ingredients and directions follow along with my visuals and commentary which is in red italics)

Swiss Meringue Honey Buttercream

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons honey
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-in pieces
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the sugar, honey, and egg whites in a medium metal bowl and place over a pan of simmering water.

Whisk the sugar mixture constantly over heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks smooth and shiny. Continue whisking until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F.

I did not have a thermometer so i just guesstimated.  Also i placed it over a pot of simmering water which the bowl may or may not have fallen into a couple of times, and i do think this affected the sugar dissolving properly.  This also takes a lot of watching and whisking so it’s not the time to take a break and learn how to Dougie .

Remove mixture from heat and pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk on medium speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture has cooled.
Switch to the paddle attachment and with the speed on low, add the butter a few pieces at a time, beating until smooth. Do not add the butter too quickly or beat too quickly or the buttercream may break.

mmmm…. Butter….(my  nephew used to eat butter by itself.  all the time.  true story. i think he’s ok)

When all the butter has been added, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed for about 6-10 minutes until it is very thick and smooth. It may appear to separate briefly but continue beating and it should come back together.

Now this is when you can step back for a moment… start cleaning up your mess or stare at the pretty flowers your totally cool roommate brought home…

or pick up the latest Harper’s Bazaar and sigh at how lovely Louis, Tommy, and Marc are these days

or eat an apple……. seductively…….. on the floor… .(???????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


….I don’t know

It should be about done now, looking something like this:

Finale: Add in the vanilla extract and beat to combine.

The buttercream is ready to be used. Place a piece of plastic wrap against the surface until you are ready to use it to prevent it from drying out.



………………..Put it on the frickin’ cupcakes already and stuff it down your face!!!

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1 Tera { 09.30.10 at 9:26 pm }

wow, i am so making these

2 Anne deeb { 09.30.10 at 10:02 pm }

Uh, yum! (the cupcakes, not the seductive apple-eating dude, of course) :)

3 MegShaffer { 10.05.10 at 6:32 pm }

will you come over and make these with me asap??!?!?!