Chai Tea Spiced Cupcakes

Fun fact, what we commonly associate with “chai tea” is actually “masala chai”. The word chai simply means tea, so by saying chai tea, we are in fact saying, “tea tea”. Masala means spiced, so “masala chai” translates to spiced tea, which is in fact the well loved drink we are referring to. So yeah… can we now call this an educational blog too? Also, it’s been a while since we had cupcakes on here so, let’s fix that too.

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Cloves, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon come together in the perfect blend in this cake, to create a not too sweet but not too spicy sponge, complimented by a delicate, light vanilla buttercream. Whoever said chai is just for lattes was wrong, it’s for cake too!

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I love exploring spices and flavours from other cultures. India has a pretty warm spot in my heart. My husband’s family are anglo-Indian, and his grandparents moved over in the 1950’s. I have spent many hours listening to his Grandad’s stories of working in gold mines, encountering tigers and eating tons of awesome food. And since dating, I have had hands down the best Bombay potatoes ever. Like ever.

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Most chai tea cupcakes don’t actually have any tea in them, but this one does. The tea gives the cupcake a depth of flavour and adds an authentic tea flavour, without tasting like you just threw a tea bag in a cake. The tea (chai spiced for good measure) gently infuses in the milk before being added to the batter.

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They may look understated, but these cupcakes pack a punch. I mean, it’s no secret I could quite happily curl up in a corner and live on tea for the rest of my life, but give me one of these as well and it would sweeten the deal.

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All they need is a small swirl of buttercream to finish them off, then dive in! These unusual cakes won’t last long!

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Chai Tea Spiced Cupcakes

Yield: Makes 15 – 18 Cupcakes


Cupcake batter

80g Butter
250g Caster Sugar
240g All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Baking Powder
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp Salt
240ml Whole Milk
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Ground Cardomom
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1 Chai Tea Bag


150g Butter
300g Icing Sugar
2-3 Tbsp Milk
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence

Optional Star Anise for decoration


1. Preheat an oven to 170 degrees C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with large cupcake liners or muffin liners.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. This should take around 2 minutes in a stand mixer or with an electric handheld mixer.

3. Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing thoroughly until fully combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl after each addition to ensure the eggs are fully incorporated.

4. Heat the milk in a saucepan until steaming, but do not let it boil. Take the milk off the heat and add the chai tea bag. Let sit in the milk for 5 minutes to infuse, then remove the bag and allow the milk to cool down.

5. In another bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder and mix thoroughly to ensure there is an even distribution of ingredients. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the egg and butter mixture, alternating with milk until all the ingredients are combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl after each addition. Do not over-mix at this stage, and if you are using a standing mixer, keep it on a low speed.

5. Fill the cupcake or muffin liners between 1/2 – 2/3 full. Any more and the cakes will overflow.

6. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean, and the tops of the cakes are golden brown and spring back when gently pressed.

7. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Put the butter in a stand alone mixer and beat on high speed for a good 4-5 minutes. While this is beating, measure out the powdered sugar. Gradually add the sugar into the butter and mix again on a high speed for a couple of minutes. Add the milk and the vanilla essence and mix on a high speed.

9. To assemble the cupcakes, pipe or spoon on the buttercream however you like. Add some star anise as optional decoration.

Images by Lauren Caris Short.