Shortly before I left the US I got really interested in loose leaf teas. I had entered a Twitter contest that Rishi Tea was hosting and won a big tin of Earl Gray Lavender tea. It smelled and tasted fantastic and I often replaced my morning cup of coffee with this tea. I still had a bit over half of the tin left when I left the US, so I gave it to a tea-loving friend of mine, so I knew it would go to a good home.
I can’t get Rishi Tea in Australia though, so I needed a replacement. Luckily for me, there is an awesome tea shop at my local shopping center called T2 Tea, and right next door to the tea shop is the T2 Tea Teahouse which not only can make you a cup of any of their teas, but also sells a variety of delicious foods. You can get something savory made up for you, but hey, you know me, I’m more interested in the sweets and they have a tantalizing variety of those, including some beautiful cupcakes.
Well, unfortunately, on the day I went there, they didn’t have any of those cupcakes. I decided on a chocolate chai cake instead. Pictured above is said cake, a tall glass of iced chocolate tea, and a sample of gundpowder green tea. All were very delicious.
I’ve been obsessing over T2 Tea for quite a while now and peruse their little tea catalog often. A couple of my favorites that I have yet to try are Choc Chip Chai and Gorgeous Geisha teas. Choc Chip Chai is obviously a chai tea but it has chocolate in it as well; I bet this is just decadent! Gorgeous Geisha is a strawberry flavored green tea and a tea I’d so much like to try. I have quite a few green tea recipes on this site, and even a strawberry green tea cupcake which is my second favorite cupcake that I’ve made (my first favorite are the pumpkin dulce de leche ones, of course).
The Choc Chip Chai tea got me thinking though a few weeks ago about a chocolate chip chai cupcake. I was sure this would be a great combination of flavors and was looking forward to try it.
And wow, they are fantastic! These cupcakes aren’t just flavored with ground chai spices, but actually infused with real chai tea from a T2 Tea Chai T-bag. These cupcakes pack an immense chai flavor and the chocolate makes a brilliant match. They tasted surprisingly similar to the chocolate chai cake I ate from T2 Tea’s Teahouse earlier this week.
Note that I would have used their Choc Chip Chai tea in these cupcakes, but I haven’t gotten any of it yet! Long story on that actually. If you care to hear it, I’ll try to sum it up. I gave my mom a T2 Tea wishlist and she ordered from their online shop for my birthday. I never got it in time for my birthday, so a week later I called T2 Tea (this was yesterday) and found out it actually had been delivered in time for my birthday – but to the wrong address! This address was just 5 houses down from mine, so I went to ask them about it. They had given it back to the post office since the package wasn’t in their name. But I had already called the post office and they didn’t have my tea. This is where I’m at in the matter right now, just waiting on the post office and T2 Tea to open to call them each again today. I hope I am able to still get my birthday tea, which will probably include Choc Chip Chai or Gorgeous Geisha! Update – both the post office and T2 Tea tracked down my package (it is in transit back to T2 Tea) and T2 Tea is resending it, so I hope to have it within the next few days! Yay!
Back to the cupcakes now… In order to infuse the chai tea in these cupcakes, I brewed the chai T-bag with the amount of milk called for in the recipe, in this case 1/2 cup of whole milk. This needs to come down to room temperature before using it in the recipe. I also used a chai T-bag to infuse the ganache frosting by brewing the T-bag in the heavy cream; the ganache (which is made from Green & Black’s 70% chocolate) also has a healthy dose of cinnamon brewed into it.
Please know that you can use any brand of chai tea for these cupcakes, but T2 Tea is highly recommended! 🙂
- For the chai spice:
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1½ teaspoons ground cardamon
- For the cupcakes:
- 1½ cups cake flour
- 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons chai spice mixture
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 chai tea bag
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- For the frosting:
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 chai tea bag
- For the chai spice: Combine the spices together in a small bowl.
- For the cupcakes: Place ½ cup whole milk in a small saucepan with 1 chai tea bag. Brew, stirring occasionally, until just before it starts to simmer. Remove from heat, let cool completely to room temperature, and remove tea bag before using in the recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Stir in the chai spice mixture.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed until soft and creamy.
- Add in egg and egg whites, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition to combine before adding the next.
- Add in the flour mixture and chai milk mixture in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat just to combine each addition before adding the next. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
- Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon, fill each cupcake liner about ¾ full with batter. Bake in oven for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Let cupcakes cool in tin on a wire rack until cool before decorating.
- For the frosting: Place chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl.
- Combine cream, cinnamon and chai tea bag in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat just until it comes to a simmer.
- Remove tea bag and pour cream over chocolate. Let sit for a minute before stirring to combine. Stir until chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Pour into a container and chill in refrigerator for an hour or until it is firm.
- Place ganache in a stand mixer and whip with whisk attachment until it is light and fluffy. Do not overwhip or it will become dry and crumbly, just like overwhipped cream.