Cherry Chai Cupcakes

My latest collaboration with Dona Chai and Brins Jam & Marmalade resulted in these adorable cherry chai cupcakes.  A lightly flavored Dona chai cupcake is crowned with cherry chai buttercream from Brins (formerly named Stagg Jam & Marmalade).  Brins actually used Dona chai in their jam recipe, so this cupcake is a flavor match made in confectionery heaven!

The cherries on top remind me of the alluring ice cream sundaes at old time-y diners, such as the one on my old college campus in Chicago.  Sometimes the only thing that would motivate me to write a paper was a friend dragging me from the bookish danger zone of my dorm room to study at our diner with a sweet treat close at hand.  That cherry on top could make it or break it!

Dona is a Masala Chai tea concentrate.  If you mix equal parts with hot milk, you’ll have a wildly good chai tea latte on your hands.  With vibrant spices like green cardamom and black peppercorn shining through, Dona chai breathes sparkling life into baked goods.  I suggest drinking a chai latte as you munch on your cupcake batch!  Dona chai is brewed in Brooklyn, where the brand also concocts a golden latte concentrate made from turmeric.

While I was cozy at home eating cupcakes this weekend, I was excited to browse the upcoming lineup at New York’s Dessert Goals festival next week.  I’m excited to see their new space in Long Island City!  I won’t leave before grazing on some fluffy shaved ice at the Bonsai Kakigori stand or taking incessant photos of the push-pop cake creations at The Pop Cake Shop.  I think there are a few tickets left for the event, so skedaddle on over to their website as soon as possible!  And if you can’t make it, definitely, DEFINITELY mix up a batch of these gorgeously flavored cupcakes.

Scroll down for the recipe!

For the Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Dona chai concentrate
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and beat in the eggs.
  3. Mix in the Dona chai concentrate.
  4. Fold in the flour and buttermilk, alternating between each, and mix until just combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar and then mix into the batter.
  6. Distribute batter in cupcake holders until 3/4 full.  Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cups Cherry Chai Jam from Brins Jam & Marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Beat the butter in an electric stand mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Slowly incorporate powdered sugar, sifted.
  3. Add cherry chai jam and vanilla.
  4. Beat until well combined.

Don’t forget the cherry on top!

Chia Pudding Parfait Shots

I almost made some “The Handmaid’s Tale” themed treats for Mother’s Day, but reconsidered.  That ominous baking project can wait!  Instead, I wanted to make use of some adorable shot glasses that my friend recently gave me.  They are the cutest little munchkin mason jars!

I’m celebrating the spring holiday with something on the (somewhat) lighter, (vaguely) nourishing side of the pastry spectrum.  However, my mom is actually the biggest fan of peanut M&M’s… so I’m not sure that she’d approve of this healthier decision.  In a way, these little chia pudding cups are actually kind of anti-mom.  Good thing she’s a safe distance away from me, back in Illinois!

I’ve never sampled chia seeds before, so this is my first documented experiment.  Here are the results.

The chia is flavored with coconut milk, honey, and a touch of vanilla.  I layered the chia pudding with raspberry preserves.  Each shot is garnished with banana cut-out.  The super-sweet preserves balanced the far milder coconut/chia flavor.  Time to search for your mini spoons!  For a less-healthy option, layer the chia with cinnamon yoghurt and top the shots off with Biscoff cookie crumbles.

I’m so thankful that my mom has instilled in me a love for creative challenges.  I’m pretty sure that most moms don’t let their kid paint a mural on the kitchen windows as a first grader!  Without her encouragement, I would never have embarked on this pastry chef/food styling adventure.  I’m looking forward to collaborating with her later this year by using some of the ceramic cupcake and cake stands that she’s created.

Happy Mother’s Day!  Make some chia parfaits with your mom… or your anti-mom.  Scroll down for the recipe.

Chia Pudding Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • raspberry fruit preserves
  • fresh bananas or fruit of your choice

Instructions:

Pulse the coconut milk, honey, and vanilla together in a blender.  Pour over the chia seeds and let the mixture sit overnight in the fridge.  The following day, layer your chia pudding with your choice of fruit preserves and fresh fruit.  Cheers!