Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream & Candied Orange Peel

Cupcakes have exploded in popularity in the past few years, and for good reason. They do make the world a better place! I have tried my fair share. A few of my favorite cupcake artisans include Mission Minis  in San Francisco, Cakeology in Boston, MA. (they deliver!), and Kickass Cupcakes in Somerville, MA.  I have been thinking about experimenting with tea flavored desserts and was inspired to make a chai cupcake. I became addicted to Chai after traveling to India. Almost everywhere we went we were offered some piping hot homemade chai served in small metal cups. It is fairly easy to make your own chai which typically consists of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, milk and sugar. For this recipe I decided to use some chai purchased from Trader Joes. Next time I may try a stronger chai to emphasize the spices more in the cupcake. In the end, this was a fun dessert to make and those who tried the cupcakes liked the flavors. The really fun part for me was making the candied orange peel. I don't think I will ever buy candied fruit again. Though time consuming to make, they came out very delicious and paired well with the chai and cinnamon buttercream. Next time I may try storing some of the orange peel in the sugar syrup with tea. I learned this tip from a pastry chef over at Clio restaurant in Back Bay. More on my visit to Clio in my next blog post! 

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine (I use earth balance)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup of your favorite chai, concentrated and cooled

Cinnamon Buttercream
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup earth balance
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
soy milk

Candied Orange Peel
1 Orange
1 cup water
4 cups sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan. Whisk soy milk and vinegar together and let sit for a while until it curdles. Remove 1/4 cup of the vinegar and soy milk mixture (you will replace with the chai). Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl whip together margarine and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla followed by the 1/4 cup of cooled chai, followed by alternating the soy milk mixture with dry ingredients to form a fluffy batter. Add mixture to cupcake liners about two-thirds full. Bake for 20-22 minutes until slightly golden. Let cool completely before frosting.

Mix together powdered sugar and margarine. Add soy milk and vanilla until desired creaminess. Add cinnamon to taste. Frost cupcakes using a pastry bag and star tip. Or use a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.

Remove peel from the orange. Cut into 1 inch thin strips or however big you would like your candy to be. Place in saucepan with enough water to cover the peel. When the water comes to a boil, remove from heat, drain and add fresh water. Repeat twice. Blanching three times allows the peel to reach the perfect consistency. Next, after the final drain, add 1 cup water and 4 cups of sugar to the pan with the peel. Cook for about 9 minutes. Simmer for 45 minutes. Drain and reserve sugar syrup for sweetening tea or for other desserts.

Roll the peel in sugar a course sugar works well for this step) on parchment paper, shake off excess sugar and let sit for a few hrs. Add one or two to each frosted cupcake. Voila! You have your finished product! 

before blanching

after blanching

sweet peel

orange syrup for tea!

sugary orange candy!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Nomsense is on Facebook!