Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Spiced Frosting
These moist, light cupcakes are loaded with vanilla flavor from both extract (we used homemade) and vanilla beans. The smooth, creamy frosting is flavored with a variety of fresh ground spices including allspice, ginger, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and even a hint of black pepper.
- 2-1/4 cups sifted cake flour
- 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
- For the Chai-Spiced Frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 3-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Measure the sifted flour and add the baking powder and salt. Sift together one additional time and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy.
Stir to combine. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter-egg mixture, beating well after each addition.
Halve the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the batter. Stir to combine.
Spoon the batter into the paper-lined muffin cups and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back readily when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cupcakes cool, place the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and confectioners' sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add all the spices (see recipe notes) and combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before frosting the cooled cupcakes.
Store cupcakes in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving (about 10 minutes out of the fridge).
Makes 12 to 14 cupcakes
You don't have to follow our spice mix exactly - just use about 2-1/2 teaspoons total of your favorite blend of spices.