Chai Orange Cupcakes (muffins)

IMG_2677With Cinco de Mayo behind us, it is time to start preparing for next weekend’s excitment: Mother’s Day. Maybe it is not as exciting as a day dedicated to margharitas and mexican food (according to Wikipedia it is actually “to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War [in parts of Mexico] and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.”) but it does have its charms.

Generally (at least in my family), Mother’s Day means food. More specifically, it means brunch. Whether you are making something for a whole gaggle of people, you are making breakfast in bed for just your mom, or you are going out, I am a firm believer that the best way to show love is with baked goods.


I hear that there are people that do not immediately think, “This person in great, I should bake them something.” But who doesn’t love getting fresh baked goodness from another person? So, even if that is not your initial reaction, I say, show your mom you care and make her cake.

These cupcakaes are dense and spicy with just a touch of sweetness. They are practically muffins (Chai + orange sounds like breakfast and therefore these can be claimed as muffins, in my opinion). So why not make some muffin cakes for the woman who raised you?!


Chai Orange Cupcakes

IMG_2614From my Cupcake Calendar/ the book 500 Cupcakes (Sellers Publishing, Inc.). Side note, I multiplied this by 1 1/2 to make 18, the ingredients below will make a dozen my amounts are in parenthesis to the right of the original recipe.



  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted (3 C)IMG_2629
  • 1 tsp baking powder (1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt  (3/4 tsp)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (3 tsp)
  • 1 Tbs chai powder (1 Tbs + 1 1/2 tsp)*
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened (3/4 cup)
  • 2 large egg whites (3)**
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbs orange zest (1 Tbs + 1 1/2 tsp)***

Orange Glaze****IMG_2632

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Juice squeezed from one orange juice


Preheat the oven to 350° and line your muffin tins with liners (12 for amount on the left, 18 for amount on the right in parenthesis).

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and chai in a bowl. Beat the butter, add sugar and cream until smooth. Add egg whites slowly, beating well. Slowly add the flour mixture (this gets really dry and hard to move) and finally add the buttermilk and orange zest; mix until combined.


Spoon the batter into cups until 2/3 full (about one big tablespoon or an ice cream scoop).

Bake cupcakes for 20-22 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool slightly (about five minutes) then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.

IMG_2692To make the icing put about 1 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl and squeeze orange juice a little bit at a time, whisking after adding, until a smooth consistency and liquidy without being too runny. When cupcakes are completely cool dip tops into glaze and set upright to harden/absorb slightly.


* I wound up increasing this significantly. Definitely test your batter, depending on the chai powder you may need more. Mine was a “Chai Latte” and I don’t think it was particularly strong.

** If you want these to be more cake-y and less dense muffin-y, I suggest whipping these and IMG_2687folding them into the wet instead of beating them in.

*** I wound up thinking these were a little too orange-y and would maybe decrease this a little. I suggest adding slightly less and testing, it is in the last batch of additions so it is pretty easy to start with less and add more.

**** The original recipe called for a lemon cream cheese frosting. I thought it might overpower the chai cake so I went with a glaze, but if you are looking for cupcakes, the frosting will definitely help.