I can’t believe we’re already half way through December. This year’s gone by way too fast. And it’s about to get even busier. Our niece is about to be born (any day now!) and of course the Holidays are coming up. So much excitement. I love it!
Yesterday was a cold and rainy day here in San Diego and I just wanted to warm myself up with a hot cup of masala chai. The ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg spices in the chai have such a warm, comforting effect. There is nothing better on a cold winter day!
As I was sipping the chai, I thought the spicy warm flavor would be perfect for some Holiday cupcakes. I whipped up a batch of ginger cupcakes and made a chai cream filling. Then I topped it with a simple mascarpone cheese frosting with a hint of ginger in it.
This was a recipe we came up with for another Jungle Frog photo contest. For the background we used my wedding sari which is a very Christmassy red and green with lots of sparkly gold. We also draped some Christmas lights in the background and put them outside of the field of focus for that cozy festive atmosphere.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom seeds
- 3/4 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside. (I made 16 cupcakes from this recipe so I lined 4 sections of a second muffin pan also)
- Whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Toss in the chopped candied ginger and use your fingers to separate the pieces stuck together and coat with flour so that you don’t get huge clumps of ginger. Doing this also gave the flour a delicious gingery aroma.
- In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter with an electric beater (or a whisk but that will take some serious muscle).
- Beat in one egg at a time making sure to combine it well with the butter and sugar before adding the next egg.
- Add the fresh grated ginger and cardamom and beat for a few more seconds.
- Beat in a third of the flour followed by half of the milk.
- Then beat in another third of the flour, the last half of the milk and finally add the last of the flour.
- Beat until well combined.
- Using a 1/4 cup measure as a scoop, pour 1 scoop full into each section of the lined muffin pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool completely on a rack before adding the filling and frosting.
Chai Cream Filling
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp black tea leaves or 2 black tea bags
- 4 oz mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom seeds
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1/2 tsp bourbon (optional)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or more if you like it super sweet)
- Heat the 3 tbsp of milk in the microwave for 40 seconds or bring to a simmer in a small saucepan on the stove.
- Add in the tea leaves and steep for 5 minutes. Then strain.
- In a small bowl, beat together the mascarpone with the spices using an electric beater.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the strained milk tea to the cheese and beat well. (Feel free to add more of the milk tea if you like a stronger chai flavor)
- Add the bourbon and beat well.
- Beat in the powdered sugar.
- Take a cooled cupcake, carve out a hole from the top with a pairing knife (check out picture 2).
- Pull out the little circle cut out, pipe in the filling either using a pastry bag or a teaspoon, and place the circle back on top. Don’t worry about pushing it back in all the way. We’ll cover up the uneven top with the frosting.
- 12 oz mascarpone cheese
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 pinch salt
- In a medium bowl, beat together both cheeses with an electric beater.
- Add in the vanilla, ginger and salt.
- Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat until all the powdered sugar is mixed in and the frosting is smooth.
- Frost the cupcakes and refrigerate until ready to serve.