Recipe: Chai of the Tiger Cupcakes

These cupcakes aren’t flashy; I improvised on the topping because I didn’t have frosting ingredients.  It was pure serendipity, however, as the bittersweet chocolate drizzle contrasts so nicely with the sweetness of the cake. Plus it made them look kind of stripey like little brown tigers, which is the sort of thing that would probably never occur to anyone but me.

Chai of the Tiger Cupcakes
with Bittersweet Chocolate Drizzle

(preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners of whatever sort you fancy)

What You Need:


1 cup vanilla almond milk (soy or rice would work too)
4 English breakfast or other black tea bags
1 cinnamon stick (3-4″ long is fine)


1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 c vegetable oil
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract


1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sat
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp black pepper


1 3-ounce bar dark chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger’s 82% Extra Dark, but you could use any level of  dark chocolate you have, including semisweet chocolate chips.  I just happened to have the bar in my freezer, and it was extremely bitter, which went nicely with the cake; but if you want something less intense by all means use what you like.)
1/4 c almond milk (amount may vary by a teaspoon or so)

Let’s Get it On:

1 – Over very low heat, bring (A) to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan.  Once it’s bubbling, remove from the heat, cover, and let steep until no longer scaldingly hot, 15 minutes or so.

2 – Strain the milk into a large mixing bowl and discard the tea bags and cinnamon stick.  Add the vinegar and let sit a few minutes to curdle a bit.

3 – Add the rest of (B) to the bowl and whisk briskly.

4 – Sift in (C) and stir until the major lumps are broken up. Don’t overbeat.

5 – Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon and a prayer, fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake 22 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack while you prepare the topping.

6 – Over low heat (you could use the same saucepan as before) melt the chocolate and milk together until smooth and runny.  Make sure it’s thin enough to drizzle but not so thin it’ll run off the cupcakes; add more milk if you need to, one teaspoon at a time.

7 – Hold each cupcake over the sink and using a spoon, flick the chocolate at the cake tops so it looks stripey.  You don’t want to totally cover the top; since the chocolate’s really dark a big mouthful of it might be a bit overwhelming.  Once you’ve drizzled all the cuppies, allow to sit for 20 minutes or so until the chocolate sets up a bit.

8 – Consume in mass quantities.

Credit Where Credit is Due:

This recipe is adapted from two recipes in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World; I improvised the topping, though it’s a basic ganache like you’d find in any cookbook.

Since I don’t have a picture of these little guys, here: have a video of Dean Winchester singing “Eye of the Tiger.” It’s almost as awesome as cupcakes.


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