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Chocolate Of The Day: Chocolate Chai Latte Cupcakes

Chocolate Chai is a big food fad right now, and one my husband has jumped all over. I’m not a huge fan of Chai drinks, but I love Chai in baked goods, so I put this yummy recipe together so I can be on trend and quit being jealous of his Chocolate Chai Lattes.

Completed cupcakes on a platter
Yummy Chocolate Coffee and Chai perfection!

If you’d rather just have chocolate Chai with no (delicious, wonderful) coffee flavor, you can easily substitute strong Chai tea for the coffee in these recipes. The Espresso Ganache is the star of the show, in my opinion, and I use it in all kinds of recipes. As written, the recipe is a little thick, perfect for putting between a cake layers and giving you a nice firm base to frost, or refrigerating and using to make truffles. Since chocolate brands differ, and I’m cheating by using chocolate chips instead of weighing out chopped bar chocolate, there may be some slight variation in how the recipe comes out, and you may need to play with the texture a bit for your particular application. I aim to have to thin it out a bit, rather than thickening it up because it’s much easier to add liquid than it is to melt more chocolate if I’m too far off. There are several components, but they come together quickly and the end result is impressive enough to be worth the effort.

Ingredients for cupcakes laid out.
Ingredients all ready to go.

Chai Spice Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 3/4 T salt
  • 3/4 C almond milk
  • Contents of 2 chai tea bags (I use Stash Double Spice Chai)
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F and line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners.

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl until evenly combined. In a separate small bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients.

Wet ingredients being poured into dry
Muffin method cakes are the easiest.

Add wet ingredients into dry, and whisk until combined, being careful not to over mix.

Mixed cupcake batter
Yummy chai batter.

Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Cupcake batter evenly divided into 12 muffin cups.
Ready for the oven!

Allow to cool for 5 minutes and remove from the muffin pan.

While cupcakes are baking, make the remaining components.

Ganache is shiny and smooth.
Perfect Espresso Ganache

Espresso Ganache

  • 1 1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C triple strength coffee or fresh espresso, near boiling
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1 T Kahlúa (Optional)
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean, or 1 T vanilla extract

Dump hot coffee into chocolate chips and whisk until chocolate is melted and ingredients are combined.

Coffee poured into chocolate chips
Hot coffee melts the chocolate chips almost instantly.

Add remaining ingredients and whisk thoroughly until powdered sugar is dissolved.

Remaining ingredients being mixed in.
Powdered sugar, vanilla seeds, and Kahluah.

Cool, covered, in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, then whisk again and allow to come to room temperature. If ganache is too thick, add remaining coffee glaze 1 teaspoon at a time, until the texture is thick, but glossy and spreadable. If mixture becomes too thin, add additional powdered sugar.

Ganache is too think, dull and hard.
This is a little too thick for cupcakes, but it’s perfect for truffles! Just add a little liquid and it’ll be beautiful and shiny.

Coffee Glaze

  • 1/4 C triple strength coffee
  • 3/4 C powdered sugar

Whisk together in a microwave safe bowl, and then microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, just until it comes to a boil.

Brushing coffee glaze onto warm cupcakes.
Coffee glaze being brushed on warm cupcakes. You could do a Chai glaze, and omit any frosting and have breakfast cupcakes. That’s totally legit.

Spiced Powdered Sugar

  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 1/8 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 C powdered sugar

Whisk together and put in a spice shaker or sifter.

Spiced Sugar being sifted onto frosted cupcakes.
Spiced sugar for an extra chai punch!

To assemble cupcakes:

Brush coffee glaze on cupcakes while they’re still warm, and then allow them to cool completely.

Completed cupcake flat iced.
I piped the ganache on most of the cupcakes, but they’re just as pretty iced with a butter knife. Reserve a little extra ganache for drizzling on top and they’ll be just as fancy.

After cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe or spread on espresso ganache, reserving about 2-3 tablespoons.

Dust with spiced powdered sugar.

Completed cupcake with piped frosting.
And here’s the piped version. Both are perfectly pretty and yummy.

Heat reserved ganache for 5-10 seconds in the microwave until just melted, being careful not to overcook it, and drizzle over completed cupcakes. Chill in the refrigerator, or keep them in a cool place until it’s time to munch.

Garnish with chopped spiced nuts or chocolate-covered espresso beans if you want extra fanciness.

By Laura-C

Hopes to someday train her dogs not to be douchebags.

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