chai cupcakes (again)

This post is actually documenting a little project that has taken place over a few weeks.

First, I made the chai cupcakes from vegan cupcakes take over the world (VCTOTW).  Though I love love love Isa’s work, the cupcakes did not make me happy.  Though they smelled AMAZING in the oven, the chai cupcakes have disappointed me (as did the mexican hot chocolate cupcakes).  They were not even good enough to take to my brother, who will eat nearly everything I give him.  I checked them at the set time and they were still sticking to the toothpick, but even after adding about five minutes to the bake time they came out soggy and dense.  Isa introduces them as moist and light, but that is a bit of an overstatement.  A combination of tea-infused soymilk and soy yogurt makes it a bit too moist for my liking.

But, not wanting to waste the goodies and the amazing spices, I have put them in my freezer until they begin their (multiple) new lives.

Last night began one of their incarnations.  I made the always-perfect basic chocolate cupcake from VCTOTW, but with some adaptations:  I loved the chai flavor so much that I steeped black tea and some loose chai tea in the soymilk, and I chopped up the chai cupcakes while still frozen into tiny pieces and added them to the batter of the chocolate cupcakes for an extra spicy and double-cupcake creation.  And it totally worked!  Though the little cubes of tea-colored cupcakes got lost in the dark chocolate, they are generally visible and offer little bits of texture to the cupcake.

chai chocolate cupcakes (adapted from the basic chocolate and chai cupcakes from VCTOTW) (vegan)

1 cup soymilk (important to use soy for its curdling properties)
2 tbsp loose black tea and/or chai tea (or use 4 teabags)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
¾ cup sugar
1/3 oil (I used safflower)
1½  tsp vanilla extract
1 cup ap flour
1/3 cup cocoa
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of ground black pepper
3-6 frozen chai cupcakes, chopped into little squares (optional, and depending if you want all the chocolate cupcakes or just half of the batch with the extra cupcakes inside)

Preheat your oven to 350.  Heat the soymilk in a saucepan on medium heat; when it is hot (not boiling) add the tea and let it steep for 10 minutes.  Strain the soymilk back into a measuring cup; add more soymilk to make it a full cup (the tea will absorb some of the liquid).  Let it cool for a bit.  Meanwhile, mix up the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a small-ish bowl and set that aside too.  After the soy-tea has cooled to the touch, add the vinegar to curdle the soy-tea and swirl it around in the bowl.  Wait a few minutes for the magic to happen then add the sugar, oil, and vanilla.  Mix this well, and then slowly add the dry mix into the wet mix.

After the mix is incorporated well, add the chopped chai cupcakes into the batter and mix gently, just to coat.  Drop the batter into muffin tins until nearly full, and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Yahoo for saving not-too-good goodies! Yahoo for frugal yumminess!

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