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It’s been cold out there this week! Having a relatively warm January, thought we may have escaped the wrath of winter. But since the weather hasn’t cooperating as such, can’t help but find other ways to stay warm.
Being of Indian/Pakistani descent, the most obvious way is to indulge in a piping hot cup of tea – which we call chai. Often we make an indulgent-spiced version by brewing the tea in milk, and infusing it with lots of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel. My favorite is dipping some plain cookies into the chai. Perfect way to spend the time indoors, staying warm.
However, feeling a bit adventurous (and craving some carrot cake), I decided to add those flavors to my carrot cupcakes.
The recipe is quite simple, especially since like many carrot cake recipes, it uses oil instead of butter, allows for a batter that prepares quickly, without needing any electric mixers to clean.
The flavor in this recipe comes from infusing the milk with the tea and spices before mixing them into the batter. The brown sugar in this recipe along with the milk produces a moist and flavorful cake.
The cake itself isn’t too sweet; the spices pair perfectly with a cool, sweet cream cheese frosting. I chose to make some cream cheese buttercream and pipe it on once the cupcakes were cooled.
Try it for yourself, and let me know what you think!
Spiced-Chai Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Yield: 12-14 cupcakes
2 cups shredded/grated carrots (about 3-4 carrots)
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
3-4 whole cloves (optional)
3 tablespoons Black tea (2 servings worth)
Infuse milk: In a microwave-safe bowl, add some milk and mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add black teabags (about two servings)
Heat for 2 minutes on high. Let sit for 10 minutes while tea steeps. Once steeped remove the tea bags / tea filter.
Tip: if you are using loose leaf tea, use a tea filter or strainer and add the cloves to this
Combine dry ingredients: While the tea is steeping, in a large bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda.
Add in the wet ingredients: Combine the milk with eggs and canola oil, and add to the dry ingredients. Make sure they are blended well.
Fold in shredded carrots: Add in the shredded carrot and gently mix until the carrots are well distributed.
Bake: Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Prepare a cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Check by inserting a clean toothpick. Cupcakes are done when the toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool for 5 minutes and then take out of the cupcake tray, so the cupcakes don’t get too mushy.
Top-it with your favorite cream cheese frosting or make your own!