Chai Cocoa Cupcakes (2 1/2 dozen)

Some people noticed that in the photo collage of our Wine + Market review, there were some cupcakes pictured, but not mentioned. So I shall mention them now and provide the recipe as well.

Chai cupcakes with milk chocolate buttercream

(If you like cupcake pix, head over to my post on Sweet Cuppin Cakes to see the cutest kids in the world eating cupcakes.)

6 ounces butter, room temperature
15 ounces sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
3 eggs, room temperature
9 ounces cake flour, sifted
3 ounces cocoa powder, sifted
12 ounces chai tea, brewed with a double portion of tea, cooled
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

A handful of toasted almonds
A batch of Swiss Buttercream in the flavor of your choosing (above: cinnamon).

Preheat the oven to 350°, time to bake some cupcakes. Line your pans with cupcake papers and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar, along with the salt, leavening, and spices on medium speed. We’re going for the classic light and fluffy, so around 8 minutes. Stop and scrape the bowl down every once and a while.

Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until the batter appears homogeneous. Turn the speed down to low, and add the flour and cocoa, all at once. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the tea and vanilla. Continue mixing only until everything is smooth.

Use a 1/3 cup measure to fill the cupcake pans. Bake for approximately 18 minutes. You really don’t want to over bake these, so you may want to hover by the oven during the last few minutes to pull them out at just the right time.

You know that whole thing about “bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean”? It’s the worst advice ever given to mankind regarding baking time. It’s a meaningless measure- the toothpick will come out clean the exact moment the cake is done, as well as 20 minutes after the cupcakes have turned to hockey pucks.

You want to remove the cake/cupcakes when a few moist crumbs are still clinging to the toothpick. As they cool, they will continue to cook a little. If you go the “clean toothpick” route, you’ll end up with dry cake, as they will continue cooking and losing moisture as they cool. Got it?

The above photo has just plain cinnamon buttercream, but we also love Dark Chocolate and Cinnamon Buttercream too.

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Any questions?

Oct 02, 2010 ·  1:37 PM

This is why we’re in love.

 · JenRa · 

Oct 02, 2010 ·  3:17 PM

How in tune are we? Love me some Chai!


Oct 26, 2010 ·  9:44 PM

i cant wait to try these!

 · Megumi ·

Oct 26, 2010 · 10:44 PM

Let me know if you do! They’re so good with a cup of tea.


Feb 25, 2011 ·  6:18 PM

Hi, I was just wondering if there is any way of making these cupcakes without the eggs as I don’t eat eggs… vegan version maybe?
I have everything that is needed except that I don’t eat eggs..

 · Sharanya · 

Feb 25, 2011 ·  7:44 PM

Hi Sharanya! I am, unfortunately, not very experienced with egg-free baking. A vegan-friend of mine, and also a chef, says when he makes vegan cakes, he simply leaves the eggs out, and substitutes a little applesauce. I’ve never tried his method, so I can’t vouch for it, but I thought it worth passing along.

Otherwise, it’s my understanding that commercial egg substitute will work too.

I’m sorry I’m not being very helpful!


Mar 31, 2011 ·  9:27 AM

I make chai lattes with the chai concentrate. I don’t have the tea bags. How much concentrate should I use? What do you think?

 · Barbara  · 

Mar 31, 2011 ·  5:29 PM

I’ve never used the chai concentrate before, does it contain milk and sugar, or just spices and tea? If it’s just spices and tea, make up two servings using a double strength portion of chai concentrate. That’s my best guess, let me know how it turns out!


Dec 28, 2011 ·  9:17 AM

Oh. my. gosh!!! These cupcakes are amazing! From batter to final product, they are delicious! Pretty simple to produce as well!

Thanks for the recipe!

 · Jo Jo · 

Dec 29, 2011 · 12:20 PM

@Jo Jo, thanks so much for stopping by to let me know! I'm glad you enjoyed making them, they're so perfect with a cup of tea, no? Cheers!


Jan 02, 2012 · 12:36 AM

Yep, very excellent. Still yet to try them with the cinnamon buttercream but am planning another batch for my birthday next week that I’ll ice. I’m sure they’ll be even better with icing on top.

 · Jo Jo · 

Jan 02, 2012 ·  2:27 PM

@Jo Jo, Happy Birthday in advance, dear!


Jul 27, 2012 ·  7:07 PM

Hey there my new love, could you please send me a recipe for soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes. My last couple of batches have been dense?

 · Loadedsakl · 

Jul 28, 2012 ·  6:54 PM

@Loadedsakl, haha, hello my dear! I’m still working out the kinks in my own quest for fluffy, vanilla perfection. Not quite there yet! Stay tuned.


Sep 04, 2012 ·  9:13 PM

Mine came out a very dark brown, like a chocolate cupcake. Too much cocoa do you think?

 · Jadzia ·

Sep 04, 2012 · 10:09 PM

Hi Jadzia, They’re actually pretty dark. When we took this photo, I was still playing around with the recipe and at that time there was less cocoa. As I made them more and more, I increased the cocoa. I keep meaning to make them again so Sarah can take a new photo to match. I hope you weren’t disappointed in the results! PS, I gotta ask. Are you a Deep Space 9 fan?


Nov 14, 2012 ·  5:03 PM

Two things I love most in the world; chocolate and chai! I’ve grown up with both, so I seriously can’t wait to try making these!! Your blog is literally the thing I’ve been looking for; I see sooooo many baking experiments in the future, starting with these and some mac’s!!!

 · Zara · 

Nov 14, 2012 ·  6:19 PM

Hi Zara! Aw, thanks. I hope you have fun baking these up; I think I’d like to make ‘em chai-ier somehow, but they’re still pretty tasty as is. Happy baking!


Feb 12, 2013 · 11:44 PM

Never had chai before. Just made these and all I can say is HOLY CRAP. I think these are my new favorite cupcake.

 · Amy · 

Feb 13, 2013 · 10:25 PM

Hi Amy! Ahhh! I’m so glad to hear it, thanks so much for letting me know how they turned out. Now if only you had a cup of chai to go along with your cake!


Mar 24, 2013 ·  3:24 PM

Hi Stella!
I made these cupcakes today (and the chocolate cinnamon buttercream) — YUM!
One question — I made 2/3 of the recipe (and I triple-checked my math) but I only got 13 cupcakes when I put 1/3 cup of batter for each, not the 20 that I was expecting. Any guesses as when could have gone wrong?
Thanks for your help!

 · Des · 

Mar 24, 2013 ·  3:35 PM

Hi Des! That’s probably my bad, the yield estimate here is more of a guesstimate than a solid number. When I make these at work, I usually make a much, much larger batch and make “jumbo” sized cupcakes, so when posting the smaller recipe here (and giving normal cupcake portions), I just had to guess about the yield. So sorry it didn’t make as many as you were hoping for!!


Mar 24, 2013 ·  5:06 PM

That’s ok Stella. Thanks for the quick reply. I was just afraid that I messed up somewhere especially since I have used other recipes from your site and they always come out to exactly the amount you described!
Love your site and your recipes!

 · des · 

Mar 25, 2013 · 10:19 PM

Aw, thanks Des! Some of these older recipes (this one’s from my first few months blogging) are a little less precise in terms of the yield, because it was back before I knew anyone ever stopped by to read my recipes, haha.


Feb 05, 2016 · 11:47 AM

Hi Stella

Just in regards to the cupcake yield that Des discovered, will it really take an entire batch of your buttercream to frost 12-13 cupcakes, or was that more for the original 20 cupcake estimate?


 · Diana  · 


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