chocolate chai cupcakes with vanilla chai buttercream

July 9, 2011
G'day folks!  Recently, I've been overly obsessed with baking, cooking and eating dishes and desserts inspired by my favorite Austin restaurant, The Steeping Room.   I've mentioned this profound love of mine before, and it's been really lovely living in the same city now!  Sadly, "Steeping" is not very convenient to get to during the week and I happen to have found another great place with a very similar style and menu that's very close.  Both are intimate experiences with healthy, fresh dishes and a very wide selection of teas.  My favorite among them all, is chai tea.  Since Tara is responsible for introducing me to my fave restaurant, I decided to bake some chai cupcakes after she invited me over to her place for the evening.
The chocolate blends beautifully with the chai's warms spices.  The frosting is made with a chai tea concentrate and beaten and sweetened with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vegan butter and powdered sugar.
And p.s. My bikram yoga that I began Tuesday has been amazing.  I've never enjoyed yoga like I have with these classes.  They're challenging and refreshing all at the same time.  I'm so happy I gave it a go.  Next on my to-do list... bring my Jerzzzy dodgeball skills to Texas!

Chocolate Chai Cupcakes with Vanilla Chai Buttercream
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread (1 stick)
3 cups powdered sugar
2 chai tea bags
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. To prepare the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cupcake pan with liners; Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together vinegar and almond milk and let sit for five minutes.
  3. Add canola oil, sugar and vanilla to the milk/vinegar mixture and whisk.  Separately combine and sift together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking sod and salt. 
  4. Add wet to dry and mix until well incorporated.
  5. Scoop batter into a lined cupcake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops become springy. 
  6. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. 
  7. To prepare the frosting, place the Earth Balance in the bowl of a stand mixer and until smooth.  
  8. To make a tea concentrate, boil two tablespoons of water and steep two tea bags for 10 minutes.  Add almond milk to the tea concentrate.  
  9. In the bowl of the mixer, add powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and tea concentrate and beat until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes.)
  10. Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with vegan chocolate chips.