Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

I made these vanilla chai cupcakes because I’m a runner.

I know what you’re thinking.

I can rationalize this. Just bear with me for a minute.

I went for a run this morning.

Running made me think of my Virginia running buddy and partner-in-crime, Amanda. Amanda made me think of champagne. Champagne made me think of Aladdin (yes, the Disney movie). Aladdin made me think of pink flamingos. Pink flamingos made me think of Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls made me think of ferris wheels. Ferris wheels made me think of caramel apples. Caramel apples made me think of Jenn & Caleb’s wedding. Their wedding made me think of Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. OCS made me think of vanilla chai lattes (naturally). Vanilla chai lattes made me think of campaigning with the College Republicans. Campaigning made me think of yard gnomes.

Still with me?

Yard gnomes made me think of my childhood neighbor, Gloria. Gloria made me think of popsicles. Popsicles made me think of Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts made me think of Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scout cookies made me think of my college roommate, Emily. Emily made me think of the Gilmore Girls. The Gilmore Girls made me think of mallomars. Mallomars made me think of New York City. NYC made me think of the LOVE statue. The LOVE statue made me think of my summer as an intern in D.C. That summer made me think of Clarendon. And Clarendon made me think of cupcakes.

So I made vanilla chai cupcakes.

You never knew running could be so intellectually demanding, did you?

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Active time: 20 minutes (plus decorating time)
Start to finish: 1 hour
Makes about 20 cupcakes

For the cupcakes
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 quantity chai spice mix (recipe to follow)
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup buttermilk or yogurt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Chai spice mix
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the vanilla chai buttercream frosting*
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 quantity chai spice mix
1-2 tablespoons cold milk, if needed


For the cupcakes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans.

Mix spices together in small bowl.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla, and beat in one egg at a time. Stir in half the quantity of chai spice mix. Fold in the flour and buttermilk (or yogurt) alternately and stir until combined; don’t over mix. Mix together the baking soda and vinegar, and mix into the batter.

Spoon into prepared pans until 3/4 full, and bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. On low, mix in the vanilla and the rest of the chai spice mix. Carefully beat in the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time. If the buttercream is too thick, add 1-2 tbs of cold milk until the desired consistency is reached. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes with your favorite frosting tip.

*Note: To decorate cupcakes as pictured above, double the frosting recipe. For a flatter frosting style, the single recipe should be sufficient.

7 Comments on Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

  1. Emily
    November 18, 2010 at 11:36 pm (7 years ago)

    Just found your blog today while I was FB stalking Paddy. I’m honored and privileged to have made it into the Blog world! Can’t wait to try some of these recipes. I’ll send you some of mine to try, too.
    Love you!

  2. Joe
    November 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm (7 years ago)

    Hey, very nice blog post.

    • Amanda
      December 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm (7 years ago)

      I actually made these a while ago and brought them to the office. They were a huge hit! I even got icing tips and piping bags so they would look extra perfect. So delicious, one of my new favorites! (I only got 12 out of the recipe though.)

  3. Denise
    February 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm (7 years ago)

    What frosting tip did you use for these?

    • Nikki
      March 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm (7 years ago)

      Hi Denise! I use a Wilton 1M for almost all of my cupcakes. It makes beautiful swirls…and it’s so easy!

  4. Rhi
    July 18, 2012 at 9:00 am (5 years ago)

    Just out of curiosity… When you say (and this may sound silly….) ‘1/2 quantity chai spice mix (recipe to follow)’ is the recipe below for a 1/2 quantity, or for me to halve the recipe given?

    • Nikki
      July 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm (5 years ago)

      The recipe is for the full quantity. You should use half of that recipe in the cupcakes and the other half in the frosting. Hope that helps clarify!


Leave a Reply