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Christmas in a Cupcake

Yesterday, I spent the day at the hospital. It was a very long day. In the morning, my pastor and his wife came down to pray with my Poppa before surgery and to be of tremendous comfort to me. Pastor Phil offered to buy me a coffee, but since I don’t drink it, I declined. Then he offered a chai latte – something I’ve never had, but know is what Phil drinks. My sister happened to have just purchased one and was standing next to me with her aromatic steaming cup in hand. As I took a sip, I realized Leslie’s (Phil’s wife) description was perfect – “like Christmas in a cup” she’d called it. It was really amazingly good. Filled with holiday spices. Mmmmm. Since I have been diagnosed with addictive food disorder (I totally just made that up), I still didn’t take Phil up on his offer. The last thing I need it to become hopelessly in love with a calorie laden beverage. However, it reminded me of a cupcake I’d seen in one of my cookbooks. Chai Latte Cupcakes. I’ve adapted the recipe, made some tweaks and have come up with what I’m going to call (love you Leslie for giving me this name) “Christmas in a Cupcake”. Today was the perfect day to try them out – because it’s Pastor Phil’s birthday! 🙂

Christmas in a Cupcake

Christmas in a Cupcake

1 1/2 C cake flour*
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 C whole milk
1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 T instant chai tea latte mix

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan with baking cups
-In large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and chai latte spices.  Set aside.
-In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
-Add sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
-Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition.
-Add innards of vanilla bean and extract.
-Turn mixer to low and alternatively add milk and flour mixture until fully incorporated.
-Using spoon or scoop, divide batter evenly among baking cups (should fill about 3/4 full).
-Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean.
-Remove from oven and let cool completely before icing.

*If you don’t have cake flour, make your own using the following quick substitution! The easiest way to do this substitution is to put 2 tbsp of cornstarch in the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup, then fill the cup as usual with all-purpose flour and level top. Repeat process to get two cups of cake flour. If you only need 1/2 cup of cake flour, put 1 tbsp cornstarch in bottom of 1/2 cup measuring cup, then fill and level as above.

Frosting & Garnish

4 oz white chocolate chips
1/3 C butter, softened
4 C powdered sugar
1/4 C milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Ground cinnamon, if desired

Using a double boiler, melt chocolate chips until smooth. Whip butter and sugar together, add milk, chocolate and vanilla and whip until fluffy. Spread frosting on cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon.

I think next time I make these I’ll tweak a little more and add some additional spices – some cinnamon, or maybe even pumpkin pie spice. I wasn’t sure how spicy the chai mix was going to be and didn’t want to over do it the first go round. Tasty, moist and spiced – but not quite as pungently spiced as that sip of latte I had yesterday.

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