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Wednesday 31 December 2014

Masala Chai latte cupcakes with Chai buttercream recipe - with Remedy Cafe's chai syrup!

I love chai lattes. Okay, we chould be saying masala tea, which means spiced tea, cuz chai literally means "tea"... the gentle warming flavors of cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, cloves and pepper infused into full bodied strong black tea and mellowed out with the creaminess of milk.  So, for a momma-to-be's who happened to love love love Chai lattes, I decided to make some Masala Chai latte cupcakes topped with a chai buttercream for the baby shower.  I modified a recipe from the talented Jennifer Rao, owner and principal cake designer of Around the World in 80 Cakes to incorporate SC's favorite chai flavors from Remedy Cafe, a local legend in Edmonton - they mix up probably the best chai in the city, and plenty of other restaurants serve their chai by buying their ready made chai concentrate... off to make some delicious Masala Chai latte cupcakes with Chai buttercream!

I baked a test batch for a birthday a week before the baby shower... some cupcake recipes are forgiving and you don't have to smooth out the batter when you dump it into the liners, while some reallly turn out lumpy bumpy if you don't.. so I smoothed out (sorta, I was feeling lazy) the batter tops on the left, and left it haphazardly splattered everywhere on the right pan.  I used my Wilton muffin pans and they're so non-stick I don't need to spray it with oil.. the cupcake liners go right into the pan :)

And looks like for the babyshower, I'll have to smooth out the batter prior to baking... the unsmoothed out ones had more bubble holes and lumpy tops...

While the smoothed out ones had nice smooth rounded tops.  By the way, my house smelled like heaven while these babies baked!

Since Remedy Cafe's chai concentrate syrup is sweetened, I took a bunch of sugar out of the recipe, and added in a bunch of extra cinnamon to bring out the chai taste a bit more.  I've included her original recipe along with my modifications.  I simply added in some chai concentrate syrup to my super white fluffy butter cream recipe, and removed the water/cream/milk I usually add to the buttercream since the chai concentrate provided liquid... shove it all into a decorating bag, crammed on a random icing tip, and hastily topped the cupcakes as I was running late... and my icing/piping skills are almost non-existent so every single cupcake looked.. unique! :D

Remedy Cafe's Masala Chai latte cupcakes recipe adapted from Around the World in 80 Cakes
Ingredients for cupcakes
-4 large eggs
-1 cup (8 ounces) of milk (I use 2%, but next time will use homo milk for richer flavor)
-4 black tea bags (I subbed out 1/4 cup Remedy Cafe's Chai concentrate syrup)
-2¼ cups (11.3 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
-2¾ teaspoon baking powder
-½ teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
-16 Tablespoons (8 ounces) of unsalted butter, softened (can use salted butter)
-1½ cups (11 ounces) granulated sugar (I used 1¼ cup sugar)
-1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Spices (I used 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon and omitted the rest as the chai syrup is flavored) 
-1¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
-1 teaspoon ground ginger
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

How to:
1) Preheat oven to 350F. In the original recipe, you steep the tea in the hot milk and let it cool. Since I used concentrated chai syrup,  I skipped that step.  Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla on high in a mixer, scraping down the sides often until its nice and fluffy.
2) While the mixer is creaming butter-sugar mixture, in a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the milk and chai syrup if using.
3) Add in eggs, one by one to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.
4) Alternating between the chai-milk mixture and the dry ingredients mixture, add to the mixer, beating well between each addition.  The mixture looked dense so I cranked my mixer to high for 5 minutes to beat in some air bubbles to make the cupcakes fluffier.
Masala chai cupcakes lightly covered in piped icing
5) Line your cupcake/muffin tins with paper liners, and fill them about halfway full - should make a full 24 cupcakes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when you poke it in the center of a cupcake. Cool on cooling rack completely before icing. 
Remedy Cafe's Chai buttercream recipe (Makes 3 cups of icing - lightly covers 24 cupcakes.. but I like lots of buttercream, so I usually double the recipe)
-1 cup unsalted butter softened
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (regular or clear - both works as chai syrup adds in color anyways)
-4-6 cups sifted confectioners sugar (approximately 1 lb) - I usually use 4-5 cups in super unhumidified Canada.. only add sugar until its the consistency you want.
-2-4 tablespoons Remedy Cafe's concentrated Chai syrup (or strongly brewed black tea)
-1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
**If using strongly brewed tea and not chai syrup, add in 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1) In large bowl, cream butter with paddle attachment on electric mixer. Add in vanilla, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons concentrated chai syrup (or strongly brewed tea + ginger and cardamon). Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Stop the mixer and scrape sides and bottom of bowl often so everythign gets incorporated.
2) Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  You can add in an additional 2 tablespoons chai syrup or strongly brewed tea (4 max) to thin out the icing to the consistency you prefer. I like beating it for at least a minute on high after each addition of sugar... and am known to walk off and let it beat on high for about 5 minutes to let it get really light and fluffy at the very end.. you can't overbeat buttercream.. it only gets fluffier and lighter.
3) Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap until ready to use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip the heck out of it before using.

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