Monday, November 23, 2009

The Cookbook Challenge - Week 2 - Indian - Chai Cupcakes

I love Indian food. Tandoori, dhal makhani, jahlfrezi, naan, sweet, sweet naan… love it. I thought I could pull out my Indian cookbooks and whip up a curry, but fate stepped in and while I was looking through 500 Cupcakes for the citrus challenge, I came across these:

Chai cupcakes

There is a variation in the book which is for vanilla and white chocolate chai cupcakes, and since I received my order from USA Foods of Hershey’s white chocolate cinnamon chips last week, I thought they’d go perfectly with the Bondi Chai Club Cinnamon


 Perfect match?

Ok, so Bondi isn’t terribly Indian. Let’s focus on the chai and cinnamon part.

The Hershey's chips were shipped on what must have been the hottest day of the year and were left at my front door. They were in a semi-solid mass on my arrival home from work.

I needed to do some chopping, bashing it on the bench a few times did most of the work, but it just needed a little more.

I didn’t bother to look for buttermilk in the supermarket, to create 2/3 cup of buttermilk substitute I used 2/3 tablespoon of lemon juice and added enough regular milk to make up 2/3 cup.

That looks a lot more like a dough than a batter, and is almost too much for my monster 320 watt Breville Wizz mixer to handle. It certainly made some noises which indicated it was not overly impressed with what it was being asked to do. Set facial expression to sceptical… now.

The mixture was really thick and sticky, I wasn’t really sure how they’d go. I kept re-checking the recipe to see if I’d misread something or omitted an ingredient, but I couldn’t work out what I’d done wrong. From the baked result, looks like I didn’t do anything wrong (which was nice after my recent brownie misadventure).

I thought apple would go really well with the cinnamon, so tried baking a slice of apple on the top of a couple of the cupcakes. Taste wise this was a good idea although I’m not sold on the final presentation. Next time smaller apples, whole circle slices, less full cups.

What I found interesting about these cupcakes is that they only use egg whites, and no yolks. It’s the first cupcake I’ve come across that does that.

Chai cupcakes – 500 Cupcakes

2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon chai tea powder (I used Bondi Chai Club Cinnamon)
1/4 cup sweet butter, softened (I assumed this just meant unsalted)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (I used regular brown sugar – anyone know what ‘light brown sugar’ is?)
2 egg whites
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius (I preheated mine to 175 with the fan on, and it actually maintained its temperature – I think that’s the secret with my temperamental oven, use the fan).

Place 12 baking cups in a muffin pan. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and chai powder. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until smooth (I found smooth was a flexible term, just beat it until you get bored – that’s what I did). Add egg whites slowly, beating well, then slowly add the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk.

At this point if you want to do the white chocolate and vanilla variation, this is  where you add ½ cup of white chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. I added ½ cup of Hershey’s cinnamon chips, and no vanilla.

Bake for 20 minutes (mine took 20 minutes exactly).

The recipe suggests that it makes 12, and that’s what I produced, but next time I will make them smaller and make 18. And you can re-set your facial expression to hungry now, turns out my pessimism was unjustified.

And just because the book is such a pretty pink....


  1. Great twist on the Indian theme! These look delicious.

  2. 500 Cupcakes was great inspiration for Indian, surprisingly. I had to choose between these, saffron cupcakes or cardamom and orange cupcakes. I chose chai because I had the cinnamon chocolate chips, otherwise I don't know how I would have chosen!

  3. Ahh, you're so organised! I haven't even decided on a recipe yet. :) The chai cupcakes sound great.

  4. Good luck choosing a recipe Agnes, I think that's the hardest part of this challenge! I had to do this week early, as Monday and Tuesday were the only days I was home long enough to cook. I'm a bit stuck on what to do next week though.

  5. Sensational ideal (and twist) Kate - I'm a big fan of cupcakes! Leigh

  6. Thanks Leigh, you can never go wrong with cupcakes, who doesn't love them?

  7. Fabulous idea on the theme!! I wish I was clever enough to think of making cupcakes instead of struggling with the savoury dish! It is interesting that it only calls for egg whites, perhaps that's why it was so dry?

    I love the sound of those Hershey white chocolate cinnamon chips! I might have to get me some of those!

  8. Looks great! cupcakes are always a fun choice - and Ive never had a chai one!

  9. That looks fantastic with all the spices in a cupcake.

  10. Rilsta, if you try making them with whole eggs, let me know if that helps! They were fine once I added icing (I just forgot to take a pic).

    imasugarjunkie, I can recommend them. They're mostly cinnamonny but with a little something extra.

  11. Mmm these look good! And without the egg yolks they're not as calorie dense so you can eat at least three before you feel guilty, right? :D

    The melted Hershey's chips remind me of when my Mum posted some of those Tim Tam balls to me when I was overseas, and they arrived to me in a big solid mass. I had to bite big chunks off to eat them, but that wasn't such a bad thing :)

  12. Cool idea I would never have thought of cupcakes for this challenge! I have this cookbook too, will have to take a closer look at it :)

  13. Yum, so was the chai flavour really strong?

  14. I wasn't too enamoured with the book when I first got it, I thought the 'variations' were cheating. Once I got over that, it's quite good.

    The chai flavour wasn't overpowering, you could probably make it stronger by soaking chai teabags in the buttermilk. I wouldn't try adding more tea powder though, as they were fairly dry already.

  15. oh yum. I think I will have to break my yeast free, sugar free diet with these.


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