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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Chocolate Chai Cupcake for a Change

Well another year gone .... It's so weird, when it comes to birthdays everyone is SO sure what kind of cake they want.  Heck my older brother has already requested his, of course his birthday IS next week.  But ME?  I can NEVER decide.  I like it to be something different, something I have not had before.  I guess it's a good thing to always strive to try something new.   Of course I think that whenever I cook or bake something it's always something new because I just can't leave a recipe alone.  This one is no different.  I ALREADY know what I want to try different the next time.  It's good AND bad but never the same.  I shared some of these with the rest of my family, well those that were home (Sorry Brian, Christin, and Tam!)  And they enjoyed them!  However, I find that Pinterest is becoming a fun get away for me.  I am enjoying finding new things to try, whether they be food, DIY projects, medicinal remedies, etc.  So I found something and Oops it's a bad link but that's OK because it's NOT exactly what I'm looking for.  So I poke around some more, and make my own recipe.... well sort of.  I decided on a Chocolate Chai Cupcake with a Vanilla Caramel Buttercream frosting.  I took a generic recipe for a frosting and made it my own.  Then someone posted to take your favorite box cake recipe .... WHAT?  This woman does her best to NEVER use a boxed cake mix unless I truly CANNOT help it.  So I took my favorite from scratch chocolate cake recipe and added chai spice, also made from scratch, and VIOLA!  

Chocolate Chai Cupcake with Vanilla Caramel Frosting
It's really easy to make, but that's if you have some of it pre-made.  Since I've used my chai spice mix before, all I had to do was pull out my air tight container with Chai Spice in it.  
There are many recipes for it but I like this one, it seems JUST right.
2 teaspoons each Ground Cinnamon, Ground Cardamom, and Ground Cloves.
1 teaspoon each of Ground Ginger and Ground White pepper.  Whisk together and store in air tight container.
I recently made some caramel sauce for a friend and had some left over.  Used the recipe from http://wearemorethanjustsweets.blogspot.com/2012/07/its-rich-but-its-now-favorite.html Salted Caramel Sauce.

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2/3 Cup Cocoa Powder (I used 1/3 dark cocoa and 1/2 milk chocolate as I like a darker richer chocolate flavor)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt, I only use Kosher
2 Teaspoons Chai Spice Blend (You can add more to your taste but I wouldn't add more than 3 total as you don't want to over power the chocolate flavor.)
1 1/2 Cups Sugar (I use a mix for the richer flavor and to add a little smokiness, so for this recipe I did 3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar and 3/4 Cup White Sugar)
1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, Softened
2 Large Eggs, Room temperature
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Milk
(Makes 18 cupcakes)

Preheat oven to 350, line cupcake tin with paper liners and set aside.
Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and chai spice blend in a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Add Milk and dry ingredients, alternating dry and wet ending in dry.  Do not over mix or you will have a tough cake.
Fill each one 1/2 to 2/3 full, and bade for 18 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let set 10 minutes and remove from tin to continue to cool completely.

For the frosting ... Really simple:
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
2 Cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
2 Teaspoons Vanilla 
1 Tablespoon Caramel Sauce (You can use Hersey's if you don't want to make it from scratch :0))
1 Tablespoon Milk

Cream butter.
Beat in 1 cup sifted powdered sugar.
Add Vanilla and Caramel Sauce.
Add 1 cup sifted powdered sugar.
Add milk, beat on high.  Store in fridge if not ready to frost cupcakes BUT you will need to bring frosting to room temperature for ease of frosting.  
If frosting is not right texture you can add more (up to 1 more cup) of shifted powdered sugar of if too think 1 more tablespoon milk.

Frost those cupcakes and eat or serve... but do share them.  They are so worth it!  I guess it's always good to look around because you find something new to enjoy.  I am definitely looking forward to breakfast tomorrow.  It's Sunday morning and with hubby working some extra hours and trying to get back into the swing of things since the holidays we have not had a regular Sunday breakfast schedule.  But this Sunday is hubby's famous chorizo and eggs.  And even he's getting in the swing of changing it up. ;0)  I am looking forward to this ... then dinner at the family home and dinner is a surprise as I told Mom to make whatever she wanted.  LOL  So no matter what plans you have take a look around and trying something different because with all those recipes out there and all your imagination you can change something up and making it your own because remember,.... the best ingredient is you!  Enjoy!!!!!