Chai Latte Cupcakes

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Soft and moist chai latte cupcakes with chai tea, and whipped chai buttercream! This simple cupcake recipe tastes exactly like your favorite coffeehouse chai latte drink. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let me take a moment to thank you so much for all the birthday wishes for sweet Noelle over the weekend. ♥

Between the birthday party, family visiting, a special birthday cake, some quiet family time, and all the thoughtful wishes from you– this was truly one of the best weekends ever. We felt the love surround us as we celebrated our daughter’s 1st birthday. Mom may have gotten super emotional on the night of her birthday as I read her On the Night You Were Born, but I suppose that’s expected when your baby turns 1!!!!

I made all the birthday desserts for her safari themed birthday party and will share all the dessert details next week, so stay tuned for that!

Soft and moist chai latte cupcakes with chai tea, and whipped chai buttercream! This simple cupcake recipe tastes exactly like your favorite coffeehouse chai latte drink. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ok and now the real reason you’re here: chai latte cupcakes. Can I confess something? I’m sort of over pumpkin spice lattes. I know… am I even a real 30 something foodie if I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes? It’s true. They’re too sweet. Very ironic considering you’re looking at a mountain of buttercream in these photos. (I also don’t like matcha lattes. They taste like grass flavored milkshakes. Can someone, anyone, please say they think the same?!)

Instead, my favorite fancy coffeehouse beverage is a chai latte. The hotter, the better. When brainstorming recipes recently, I turned to the very beverage I was sipping at that moment. And in the swarm of pumpkin spice flavored everything right now, I feel like you’ll appreciate this fall beverage inspired cupcake as much as I do!

Soft and moist chai latte cupcakes with chai tea, and whipped chai buttercream! This simple cupcake recipe tastes exactly like your favorite coffeehouse chai latte drink. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade chai spice mix with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and allspice on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Between the chai spice buttercream and intensely spiced chai cupcakes, this dessert pushes all other fall flavored desserts to the back of the line. Pumpkin who?

How to Make Chai Latte Cupcakes

There are 3 parts to today’s chai latte cupcakes.

  1. Homemade chai spice mix – a blend of 4 simple kitchen spices makes the delicious chai spice flavor you love. Grab some cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and allspice. This chai spice mix will be used in both the cupcake batter and buttercream, as well as the garnish on top.
  2. Chai infused cupcakes – we’ll use my basic vanilla cupcakes as the base, adding a generous amount of our chai spice mix. Instead of regular milk, we’ll use chai tea milk made from a bag of chai tea steeped in 1/2 cup warm whole milk. This concentrated amount of chai flavor turns our spiced cupcake batter into actual chai cupcake batter. It’s the secret sauce. Let the milk cool before adding to the batter. Steep it the night before to save time.
  3. Chai spice buttercream – richly flavored vanilla buttercream spiced with our homemade chai spice mix. It’s unbelievable how much flavor dry spices can add to our frosting!

And some photos so you can see the cupcakes coming together. First, here is our chai tea milk that we’ll use in the cupcake batter. This stuff is potent!

Chai tea milk for chai latte cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chai latte cupcake batter on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Because of the chai tea milk and chai spices, the chai cupcake batter is a beautiful shade of caramel. Curious about the other ingredients in the cupcake batter? Here’s a run-down of the recipe explaining why cake flour, sour cream, and egg whites are KEY to their soft, fluffy, and moist texture.

Tip: Fill the cupcake liners only about 2/3 full to avoid overflowing.

How to make chai latte cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Deliciously creamy whipped chai buttercream! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Make Chai Spice Buttercream

Remember when I said rainbow chip frosting is the best frosting in the world? Lies. This chai spice buttercream, in all its silky smooth and spiced glory, sits at the top of the frosting world. Look how creamy!

How I decorated these chai latte cupcakes: I’m having a Wilton 8B piping tip moment. Remember my white chocolate strawberry cupcakes and lemon buttercream photos? I LOVE this piping tip. Start in the center of the cupcake and swirl upward. You can watch me use it in this frosting tutorial video (:38 second mark).

Deliciously creamy whipped chai buttercream! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Soft and moist chai latte cupcakes with chai tea, and whipped chai buttercream! This simple cupcake recipe tastes exactly like your favorite coffeehouse chai latte drink. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

A cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of sugar/leftover chai spice mix adds a rustic chic garnish to our chai latte cupcakes. A dessert you can prepare ahead of time, these chai latte cupcakes are fall must-try whether that means a batch of seasonal cupcakes for your coworkers, a unique contribution to a fall bake-sale, an impressive ending to a Friday night dinner party, a football Sunday treat, or even if you just freakin’ love chai tea lattes like I do!!! Sip and savor, my friends.

Soft and moist chai latte cupcakes with chai tea, and whipped chai buttercream! This simple cupcake recipe tastes exactly like your favorite coffeehouse chai latte drink. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

More chai spice inspired bakes you’ll love:

Chai Latte Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Chai Spice Mix

  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Cupcakes

  • 1 bag chai tea
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (200g) cake flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 3 and 1/2 teaspoons chai spice mix (above)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature

Chai Spice Buttercream

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5-6 cups (600-720g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chai spice mix (above)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • optional for garnish: cinnamon sticks + mix the remaining chai spice mix

Directions:

  1. Prepare chai spice mix: Mix all of the chai spices together. You'll have 5 and 1/2 teaspoons to use between the cupcake batter, buttercream, and garnish.
  2. Steep the tea*: Bring milk to a boil or heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Pour over tea bag and steep for 20-30 minutes. This chai milk is the milk you'll use in the cupcake batter. This can be done the day before and refrigerated overnight. Make sure the chai milk is room temperature before adding to the cupcake batter.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2-3 liners - this recipe makes 14-15 cupcakes. Set aside.
  4. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the cake flour, 3 and 1/2 teaspoons of chai spice mix, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  5. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour and mix in the chai milk *just* until combined. Do not overmix. Batter will be slightly thick and smell incredible!
  6. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only 2/3 full to avoid baking over the sides. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 35 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  7. Make the frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 5 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, the heavy cream, 1 and 3/4 teaspoons chai spice mix, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick. Add another pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  8. Frost cooled cupcakes and serve. I used Wilton 8B piping tip, stuck a cinnamon stick in some of them, and sprinkled with a mix of the remaining chai spice mix and a pinch of granulated sugar.
  9. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Make ahead tip: An easy way to get a head start is to prepare the chai spice mix and steep the milk/tea 1 day ahead of time (steps 1 and 2). Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Step 2: You'll steep 1 bag of tea in 1/2 cup of hot milk to use in the cupcake batter. You could also steep a 2nd chai tea bag with the heavy cream to use in the buttercream, if desired! Make sure it's hot when steeping, then cool to room temperature when adding to buttercream.
  2. Cake flour: If you cannot get your hands on cake flour, you can make a DIY version from all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 Tablespoons. Mix in 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. This equals 1 cup of cake flour. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups in this recipe.
  3. What to do with leftover egg yolks? I have some recipe ideas for you!
  4. Why is everything at room temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.
  5. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!
  6. Interested in a cake instead of cupcakes? I suggest following my vanilla layer cake recipe as the base, which is almost double this cupcake recipe. Use 2 tea bags for the milk since that recipe calls for 1 cup. For the chai spice mix, increase the cinnamon to 2 and 3/4 teaspoons, ginger and cardamom to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons each, and the allspice to 3/4 teaspoon. You'll have 6 and 1/2 teaspoons of chai spice mix. Use 4 and 1/2 teaspoons in the cake batter and 2 teaspoons in the vanilla frosting recipe listed with the cake.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Soft and moist chai latte cupcakes with chai tea, and whipped chai buttercream! This simple cupcake recipe tastes exactly like your favorite coffeehouse chai latte drink. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Measuring Cup | Chai Tea | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Cooling Rack | Wilton #8B Piping Tip | Piping Bags | Wood Slice Cake Stand | Wood Pedestal Cake Stand

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

96 Comments

All Comments

  1. I would love to know where you got the measuring cup you used in one of the first pictures! It would match my new kitchen!! And– just thought of this– what about the icing on your Best Ever Banana Cake? Bet it would be amazing!

  2. As it was our Wedding anniversary today I decided to make your Chai Cupcakes for an after dinner treat. And a lovely treat they were. The chai flavour is quite subtle and not at all overpowering. Thankyou for having this recipe in time for us to enjoy. 🙂

  3. I think my husband would love these! I have to admit that I’ve never tried a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Not a huge coffee drinker (only the occasional mocha), but I’m REALLY not into pumpkin. Still, I am curious about all the hype.

  4. Holy cow, Sally, I don’t know how you did it, but you did. I’m a total chocoholic, yet I took one look at this recipe and thought, “I have to make these.” I can’t explain why, cause my usual take is if it doesn’t have chocolate, it’s not worth the calories. Well……..these are beyond awesome! I made 9 regular size plus a tray of mini’s thinking that would keep me from eating a whole cupcake. Wrong. After consuming 4, (the mini’s, not the full size, LOL!), I immediately put the rest that are unfrosted in the freezer. Can the buttercream be frozen, as well? I sure hope so, otherwise I might have trouble eating dinner tonight….er, I mean, a healthy dinner!

    Thanks for a fantabulous recipe!!!!

    1. Haha – I’m thrilled you tried these and loved them so much! Yes you can freeze the buttercream as well! Just let it come to room temperature before you use it again – don’t try to heat it up in the microwave 🙂

  5. Can I make this as a cake? Would it be one or two 9 inch cake pans? Also what would be the cooking time?

    Thanks so much, your recipes are always winners!

    1. Hi Mallory! I can’t see why not, though I would follow my recipe note for making a layer cake and instead of dividing into 2 cake pans as the recipe I linked to instructs, pour into a 9×13 cake pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  6. Hi Sally, I would love to make this in cake form for my mom’s birthday! Do you think that this recipe would fit into at least 2 9″ round pans? Thanks in advance 🙂

      1. Great!! Thank you so much for taking the time to edit the recipe. I truly appreciate it, I will be sure to share it on the FB group!

  7. HI Sally. Im dying to make these for this coming thanks giving. Do you think it would be OK if I use gluten-free flour for this cupcakes?

  8. My schedule is very busy and I was wondering if I could make the batter one night, put it in the fridge, and then put the batter in the oven the next day??

    1. Hi Katie! The baking powder is initially activated once wet, so you’ll lose a lot of rise if you wait to bake the cupcakes.

  9. I made these yesterday. While the flavor was good, the cupcakes turned out dense and spongy. I’m not sure what happened. I am really cognizant of not overmixing and did only two turns of the mixer after adding the milk, and otherwise followed the recipe to the T. I was thinking it could be my baking powder. A friend tried them and described them as “dry” and “dense”

  10. I made these this week and the recipe turned out great. It’s a subtle chai flavor but I think just enough with the chai incorporated into both the frosting and batter. Plus the aroma is lovely. Brought them into work and they were gone in record time!

  11. Made these for a kids and parents costume party. The taste and texture was perfect. They were pretty to look at and tasted amazing (used a Wilton 2D tip to decorate). Recipe is definitely a keeper.

  12. I made these this week and they turned out fantastic! I’m usually not a big fan of butter cream frosting, but even the frosting was delicious. I got 12 muffins out of my batch, baked for 20 minutes and they came out perfect and plenty moist. I took the step of freshly grinding whole cardamon pods and I think it made the difference. The Chai flavor really popped (in a good way).

  13. Being a poor college student, I don’t have access to a mixer, can the frosting be made my hand mixing or would it not develop the right texture. I’m an avid baker, but don’t have access to my mother’s tools out in the real world lol.

    1. Hi Taylor! It’ll take some time and a lot of arm muscle, but you can try to cream the butter for the buttercream.by hand with a whisk or spatula.

  14. Would this work as a 2 layer 6” cake ?
    If I wanted a stronger Chai flavor in the batter, how much more do I add ?
    Since the scale of ingredients is small, due to it being a cupcake recipe.

    1. Hi Emmi! This amount of batter will yield a 3 layer 6-inch cake. An extra teaspoon or 2 of chai spice mix would be plenty extra if you think the recipe needs it!

1 2

Reviews

  1. Holy cow, Sally, I don’t know how you did it, but you did. I’m a total chocoholic, yet I took one look at this recipe and thought, “I have to make these.” I can’t explain why, cause my usual take is if it doesn’t have chocolate, it’s not worth the calories. Well……..these are beyond awesome! I made 9 regular size plus a tray of mini’s thinking that would keep me from eating a whole cupcake. Wrong. After consuming 4, (the mini’s, not the full size, LOL!), I immediately put the rest that are unfrosted in the freezer. Can the buttercream be frozen, as well? I sure hope so, otherwise I might have trouble eating dinner tonight….er, I mean, a healthy dinner!

    Thanks for a fantabulous recipe!!!!

    1. Haha – I’m thrilled you tried these and loved them so much! Yes you can freeze the buttercream as well! Just let it come to room temperature before you use it again – don’t try to heat it up in the microwave 🙂

  2. I made these yesterday. While the flavor was good, the cupcakes turned out dense and spongy. I’m not sure what happened. I am really cognizant of not overmixing and did only two turns of the mixer after adding the milk, and otherwise followed the recipe to the T. I was thinking it could be my baking powder. A friend tried them and described them as “dry” and “dense”

  3. I made these this week and the recipe turned out great. It’s a subtle chai flavor but I think just enough with the chai incorporated into both the frosting and batter. Plus the aroma is lovely. Brought them into work and they were gone in record time!

  4. Made these for a kids and parents costume party. The taste and texture was perfect. They were pretty to look at and tasted amazing (used a Wilton 2D tip to decorate). Recipe is definitely a keeper.

  5. I made these this week and they turned out fantastic! I’m usually not a big fan of butter cream frosting, but even the frosting was delicious. I got 12 muffins out of my batch, baked for 20 minutes and they came out perfect and plenty moist. I took the step of freshly grinding whole cardamon pods and I think it made the difference. The Chai flavor really popped (in a good way).

Questions

  1. Can I make this as a cake? Would it be one or two 9 inch cake pans? Also what would be the cooking time?

    Thanks so much, your recipes are always winners!

  2. Hi Sally, I would love to make this in cake form for my mom’s birthday! Do you think that this recipe would fit into at least 2 9″ round pans? Thanks in advance 🙂

      1. Great!! Thank you so much for taking the time to edit the recipe. I truly appreciate it, I will be sure to share it on the FB group!

  3. HI Sally. Im dying to make these for this coming thanks giving. Do you think it would be OK if I use gluten-free flour for this cupcakes?

  4. My schedule is very busy and I was wondering if I could make the batter one night, put it in the fridge, and then put the batter in the oven the next day??

    1. Hi Katie! The baking powder is initially activated once wet, so you’ll lose a lot of rise if you wait to bake the cupcakes.

  5. Being a poor college student, I don’t have access to a mixer, can the frosting be made my hand mixing or would it not develop the right texture. I’m an avid baker, but don’t have access to my mother’s tools out in the real world lol.

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