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!

Honey Graham Mini Cupcakes

If you, too, find yourself wandering listlessly through a CVS as often as I do, you know that the baking inspiration within its walls is hard to come by.

Instead of giving in to the host of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cartons that are eyeing you back as you pass through the freezer section, try this recipe instead.  Grab a box of graham crackers and a container of honey.  If you already are well stocked with the most basic baking ingredients at home, you’ll be all set.

These mini vanilla butter cupcakes are topped with honey buttercream, a dollop of honey, and a sprinkle of graham streusel.  The vanilla butter cake has a biscuit-y taste that pairs well with the uber-sweet honey frosting and sweet-n-salty streusel.  Honey is the sweetest type of sugar in existence, so it really needs that salt to balance out the flavor.

These cupcakes are so good and so simple that you’ll be amazed by your own ingenuity.  You will want to test out this same recipe with other various snackfoods after your next inevitable CVS romp!

Scroll down for the recipe.

Yellow Butter Cake

Makes 24 mini cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Mix together flour, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl.  Gradually add mixture to the butter mixture.
  5. Mix in the whole milk until combined.
  6. Let bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Honey Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • ½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and honey.
  2. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, at low speed.
  3. Mix on high until light and fluffy.

Graham Streusel

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, from 3 graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Instructions:

  1. Crush the graham crackers into small crumbs.
  2. Combine crumbs with the flour, brown sugar, and salt.
  3. Work cold butter into the mixture until it has the texture of wet sand.