They say print media is dying. And while it is true that we don’t subscribe to The Los Angeles Times, TD and I have had the pink-plastic wrapped Wall Street Journal delivered for years. TD, the excellent news consumer that he is, reads it every morning cover to news-printy cover. Me? Not so much. But, I do enjoy their weekend editions and have, surprisingly, found the WSJ to be a source of some excellent recipes. This is one of them.
Spicy and sweet, these cupcakes start out with a homemade chai blend. I found my cardamom pods at Whole Foods. Notice the peppercorns are black. Not pink.
The spice mixture is used to scent and flavor a cake with a dense but moist crumb, perfect consistency for a cupcake in my opinion.
The aromatic cake is further enhanced by a ginger-infused cream cheese frosting that takes five minutes to throw together.
The Wall Street Journal version is actually a layer cake. However, I think these cupcakes are just that much more festive. And we are celebrating. At this posting, not only are TD and I leaving on a jet plane for the land of down-under, but I am also about to have one those events that involve blowing out candles.
Like, forty of them.
Chai Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from the Wall Street Journal, February 2-3, 2013 (who adapted the recipe from One Girl Cookie, Brooklyn New York)
For the Cupcakes
- 30 cardamom pods
- 7 black (not pink) peppercorns
- 6 whole cloves
- 4 C all purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- 12 ounces (24 TBS) butter at room temp
- 2 ½ C sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ C sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2, 12-cup cupcake pans with liners.
- On a cookie sheet, toast cardamom, peppercorns and cloves until fragrant (about 8 minutes. Once spices are cool, grind to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and ground spices.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar mixing until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
- Set mixer on low speed and add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Mix until fully combined, 2-3 minutes.
- Set mixer on low speed, add in flour in three parts alternating with sour cream beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just combined after each addition.
- Scrape down sides of bowl and mix for an additional 10 seconds.
- Scoop batter into cupcake liners adding until just under the top of the liner.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Test with toothpick. Cupcakes are done when the toothpick comes up with moist crumbs.
- Allow to cool completely.
For the Frosting
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 6 TBS of butter, softened
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 lb confectioner’s sugar (more if desired)
- 1 ½ TBS ground ginger
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 C toasted and chopped pistachios if desired
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat cream cheese, butter and salt on medium until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl.
- Add confectioner’s sugar, grounds ginger and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until all ingredients are combined and the frosting is smooth.
- Frost cupcakes as desired and sprinkle chopped pistachios over top to garnish.