I’m calling these pumpkin cupcakes, but they could just as easily be pumpkin muffins if you didn’t top them with frosting. I was researching different pumpkin muffin recipes shortly after I had made these, and found that the amount of sugar in a pumpkin muffin vs a pumpkin cupcake is non existent. These are especially moist, and generously spiced muffin-y cupcakes.
I love to put tea flavors in food, so ripping open some extra spicy chai teabags and dumping them into my frosting was a natural progression to this recipe for me. The frosting is a slight adaptation on my favorite frosting recipe. It’s a flour based buttercream, which I find to be easier to make and more stable than traditional buttercream.
A couple notes about the frosting. It’s not a very sweet frosting, which is my personal preference. It’s light, fluffy, creamy, and subtly spicy from the chai. An additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup of granulated sugar could be added to suit your taste. Also, the tea leaves are left in the frosting unstrained and appear as little black specks in the final product. If for textural or aesthetic purposes the thought of tea leaves in your frosting bothers you, the tea may be steeped in the milk in the first step of the frosting before the addition of the flour and whisking. The resulting chai flavor will be milder with that method.
I topped mine with star anise which makes a beautiful garnish, but a horrible snack. I may top them with a touch of sparkly candied ginger next time.
Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted But Cool
4 Eggs, Beaten
1 Can Pumpkin Puree(15oz)
2 Teabags Chai Tea, Torn Open
1 Cup Milk
5 Tablespoons Flour
1 Cup Butter, Room Temperature
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Prepare cupcake pan with paper liners.
- In one bowl whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a second bowl mix together eggs, both sugars, and butter.
- Add first bowl with dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stir until combined. Then add pumpkin puree and incorporate fully into the mixture.
- Divide batter evenly into cupcake tins(filling each a touch over halfway), and bake 18-25 minutes.
- Let cool completely before frosting.
- In a small saucepan whisk together the milk, contents of the two teabags, and flour until smooth. Put over medium heat and continue whisking until a thick pudding is formed. It should look like paste and stick to a spoon when it’s ready. Remove from heat and let cool fully. You can pop it in the fridge or freezer if you want to hurry things along.
- Take butter and sugar in a bowl, and using an electric mixer beat until fluffy and light.
- Add in cooled pudding mixture and beat until you have delightful fluffy chai buttercream.
Cupcake Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.
Frosting Recipe adapted from the lovely Andie Mitchell.