December 7, 2008

Spiced Chai Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients
1 cup soy milk
4 black tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose leaf black tea
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For frosting:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Heat soymilk in a small saucepan or microwave until almost boiling. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, then remove teabags, squeezing out as much soymilk as possible. Re-measure, and add more soymilk to make exactly 1 cup. Whisk in cider vinegar, and side aside until curdled.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Pour in soy milk mixture, along with oil, sugar, and vanilla, and stir just until no large lumps remain.

Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter (liners should be 2/3 full), and bake for 20-22 minutes or until puffed and golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For buttercream: put the sugar and eggwhites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick and shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until is is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and whip for another 30 seconds until incorporated. Spread or pipe on cooled cupcakes.

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