Thursday, 21 July 2011

Double Chai Cupcakes, with addictive cream cheese frosting!

A couple of weeks ago, the lovely people at Drink Me Chai sent me a couple of samples of their chai powders to review.

As well as the spiced chai and chocolate chai varieties above, they sell vanilla chai, peppermint and mango - you can see more details of all the varieties here.

I could have just made these sachets into drinks as per the instructions on the packet, but as I already knew I loved the taste of the vanilla chai...

I decided to do something different with them - bake!

Double Chai Cupcakes
(makes 12-13)

For the cakes:
  • 190g butter, room temperature
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 24g chocolate chai powder
  • 15g cocoa powder (if making this again, I would use all chai powder, but 24g was all I had)

For the icing: (this makes double the amount needed for one batch of cupcakes)
  • 200g full-fat cream cheese (eg Philadelphia)
  • 200g butter, room temperature
  • 20g spiced chai powder
  • 380g icing sugar

  1. First, make the cupcakes. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
  2. Whisk together the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs and milk, whisk.
  4. Finally sift in the flour, chocolate chai and cocoa powder and whisk a little more to combine.
  5. Spoon the mix into cupcake cases (I used 12 muffin/cupcake cases, plus a couple more smaller silicone cases)
  6. Bake in the oven for 15-16 minutes. (Slightly less time than cupcakes 'traditionally' take to cook apparently, but these cakes were cooked through without being dry. Perfect.)

I couldn't resist eating one of the cakes un-iced whilst waiting for the rest to cool. You can't beat cake fresh out of the oven!

This was delicious. As I alluded to in the ingredient list, a) I'd have liked the chai taste in the cake to have been been stronger - these had a very slight hint of spice but were more chocolatey than anything - more than the 24g sachet I had was needed really! And b) I've mentioned before that I often find chocolate cake a little dry, but these were great - I think "under-cooking" them slightly (I've read you 'should' cook cupcakes for 20 minutes) prevented them from drying out - they were still cooked, the cake test came out clean when I removed them from the oven, but they were deliciously spongy rather than dry.

Once the cakes were cool, it was time to ice them. I was originally going to make regular butter icing, but then decided to do half butter, half cream cheese. Good decision. This worked really well with the spiced chai flavour - it tasted just like the cream cheese icing you have on carrot cake, delicious and addictive! I couldn't stop eating spoonfuls of the icing straight from the bowl, but luckily the recipe made loads!

Just whisk all the ingredients together (butter and cream cheese first, then icing sugar a bit at a time unless you want white powder all over your work surfaces!) and the icing is ready. Liam ended up icing the cakes for me as my initial attempt did not turn out well, to say the least! The icing doesn't pipe as well as butter icing as it's a bit runnier, but it would still taste good even if you just smothered it on with a knife!

The icing amount in the recipe actually made double the amount needed for these cakes! I recommend still making it all though, as it is so delicious! And I will share a (hopefully tasty!) way to use up the leftover icing once I take photos in the morning - stay tuned!

I'm so pleased with how these cakes turned out. A bit more interesting than your standard chocolate cupcakes, but 'safe' enough that Liam will eat them too - which is always a good thing unless I want to end up eating a whole batch of cupcakes myself!

Just to clarify, Drink Me Chai sent me the above samples for free, but didn't pay me for my review or my positive comments - I just love the drink and flavour! I'm kinda sad I baked with these powders rather than sampling the drinks - luckily the cupcakes are so good it makes up for it, but it would be nice to know what the drinks were like too - the spiced variety especially smelt amazing in the packet!! My local Waitrose sells the Vanilla and the Spiced Chai in the 250g tubs so I might just have to buy the spiced variety once my tub of vanilla runs out.

The only not-so-great thing about these powders are some of the ingredients - they are rather high in sugar etc. I spotted someone else bringing this up on Twitter the other day though, and it sounds like Drink Me Chai are already working towards a solution...

I look forward to seeing what their unsweetened version is like! :)

Have you tried any of the Drink Me Chai powders? Or other chai tea? I did buy some chai teabags a little while back, but when I made one up I found it weak and pretty flavourless - bleugh, I ended up tipping it down the sink. I think I should give them another go though, using less water and a longer brewing time perhaps, as they are certainly a healthier way to enjoy chai tea. These powders are nice for an occasional treat though - even making the powders up with water instead of milk, they are so creamy!


  1. What a lovely blog, recipe, and photos.

    I am a big fan of Drink Me Chai too. It is such a versatile product. I make hot drinks in winter that are relaxing and comforting, and iced chai milkshakes in summer which are yummy and refreshing.

    Worth mentioning that it is 99% caffeine free as well, so I like it at bed time.

    Try frothing the milk with a frother if you would like an extra creamy and smooth drink. :)

    Keep up the great work with this blog as it makes for an enjoyable read.

  2. Oh wow! I've seen that in Tesco but never tried it before, now I think I have to!!
    Such a good idea!

  3. I love Chai Tea! Those cupcakes look perfect! :)

  4. Are they the tubs you are supposed to add to milk? I had a chai latte once (Actually, Andy did and I had a sip which was all I could take)- found it so sweet and sickly, so I stick to chai tea. Powdered tea has always made me feel a bit weird. Have you ever had a plain starbucks chai tea? Order a cup of tea and ask for a chai teabag- because that is the king of chai teas. TEapigs chai tastes similar to that- lovely and spicy.
    I made earl grey cupcakes the other week, and the recipe said you could sub in other teas, and I was thinking that chai tea subbed in would be amazing :)

  5. Thanks everyone, glad you like the look of the cakes :)

    Maria - yes those tubs are the ones. I have a super sweet tooth (ie my latest addiction is coffee with about 12 drops of vanilla stevia in) so I like it, but can picture it might be a bit much for some. I normally have iced chai latte with vanilla syrup in it at Starbucks, but will give the regular chai tea a go...thanks for the tip! I've never actually had earl grey tea - what type of flavour is it?

    Right, really must get baby ready to go to school BBQ now!

  6. Earl grey tea is black tea,with bergamot oil added. It has a sort of perfumed taste (I really like it) and you are supposed to have it without milk, but I generally have it with milk. Want me to send you a teabag? I have some of my cosy tea ones left? x


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