Chocolate Chai Cupcakes

What do you do when your favorite west coast chica decides to make an appearance a mere 4 hour drive from you? You make her cupcakes and meet her in Orlando, of course! Since I never get to bake for said friend, I knew I wanted to make something special, but what? So many recipes, and so little time! Then it hit me, there was only one recipe that would work for the woman who introduced me to my favorite indulgent cool weather beverage, the chocolate chia latte. I had to make Chocolate Chai Cupcakes!

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1/3 veggie oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 4-6 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line your cupcake pan.
  2. Combine all cake ingredients and mix on medium until thoroughly combined.
  3. Divide the batter between the 12 liners and bake for 16-18 minutes (may take more depending on oven).
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

  1. Beat room temperature butter until smooth, then incorporate cinnamon and cocoa powder.
  2. Beat in powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  3. If frosting becomes too stiff, beat in heavy whipping cream a tbsp at a time until it loosens.
  4. Add vanilla and beat on high for one minute.
  5. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Ganache:

  1. While cake is baking, combine heavy whipping cream and semi sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Heat for 30 second intervals, stirring vigorously after each, until the ganache is completely smooth.
  3. Set aside to cool. Hot ganache will melt the frosting.

Assmble:

  1. Dip cooled cupcake into ganache and let set for about 15 minutes.
  2. Frost cupcakes with chocolate cinnamon frosting and then drizzle with remaining ganache. Top with a chocolate truffle and enjoy!

You may have noticed that I’ve been using pre-packaged mixes for my cake bases as of late. I have two reasons for that. The first, a lot of the things I bake go to work with Andy, and they have to last a couple of days. Scratch baking, while delicious, doesn’t have the longest shelf life; box mixes have a bit more longevity (a tip I picked up watching archived episodes of Good Eats). Also, I have been baking a lot more so I can practice piping and cake stacking. Using a mix as the base and then adding in my extras saves me a bit of time and allows me a little more energy for getting creative with frosting, fillings, and garnishes. Baking is a lot of fun, but don’t take the fun out of it by trying to do everything from scratch and all at once. It’ll help keep things fun 😉

About Julie

My name is Julieanna Bucior, but I go by Julie (unless I’m in trouble). I’m thirty one. I am a bookkeeper by day, rogue fashion designer/crafter/amateur baker by night. I spend most of my time feeling like a kindergartner trapped inside an adult’s body. I love reading, hanging out with my crazy cats and being silly. I’m pretty much the girl next door, with a twist.