chai buttercream frosting


pumpkindonuts-12My winter drink of choice has changed over the years. I’m not a coffee drinker — gasp! — so when it comes to picking a liquid guilty pleasure, I’ve had to get creative. A few years back, I switched over from a playful (but SERIOUS) love affair with hot chocolate to a more mature, thoughtful relationship with vanilla chai lattes. Now, they’re my daily vice. I just love anything chai, and adding vanilla balances out the spice perfectly.

UGH. I just love ’em.


I set off to invent a way to bake with that vanilla chai latte flavor I adore so much, and realized pretty quickly that the obvious place to start was with frosting.  That way, I could add my favorite chai kick to a whole bunch of different baked goods.  The result? A quick, simple recipe that yields surprisingly sophisticated results. I just wish you could see more clearly the specks of brown that show up in the final product, which give it a super organic feel.

Ah well. Just another excuse to make more frosting and take pictures of it.


Chai Buttercream Frosting


What you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 chai tea bags, preferably decaffeinated
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cold whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • A barely-there pinch of ground pepper

What you’ll do:

  1. Steep tea bags in boiling water for 10 minutes to create a super strong tea.
  2. Cream the butter in a medium bowl using an electric mixer until creamy.
  3. Add powdered sugar in small increments (so as to avoid coating your entire kitchen in a thin layer of the stuff) using the electric mixer.
  4. Add cinnamon,  ginger, cloves, cardamom, and pepper and incorporate using mixer. Add tea, beat until smooth. Finally, add milk and beat until smooth. The frosting should not be runny or glaze-like; if it is, continue adding sugar until it reaches desired consistency (and vice versa: add more milk if it seems too stiff).
  5. After licking the beaters thoroughly (duh!), ice cupcakes, donuts, cakes and more. And enjoy!

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