These chai caramel cupcakes have a light and fluffy chai cake and the most delectable caramel buttercream. Made with warm Fall spices and homemade caramel, these cupcakes are the ultimate Fall treat.
Why you will love these chai caramel cupcakes
- The texture. The cake is super light and fluffy - it basically melts in your mouth. It is a butter and oil based cake, so it is incredibly moist and flavorful.
- The flavors. Made with warm Fall spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, you are in for a taste bud explosion! We also mix homemade caramel in the buttercream, which is just *mwah* chef's kiss.
- All purpose flour: all purpose flour is the flour of choice for this recipe. It yields the perfect soft and tender crumb for the cake.
- Leavener: baking soda is used in these cupcakes to help them rise.
- Fats: the key fats in this recipe are the butter, vegetable oil, eggs, and milk. All of these ingredients add moisture so the cupcakes don't dry out.
- Sugar: granulated sugar is used to add sweetness, flavor, and moisture. We also use powdered sugar in the buttercream.
- Spices: a combination of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg make the best chai flavor for the cupcakes.
- Make the caramel. Make the caramel according to my favorite homemade caramel recipe.
- Make the cupcake batter. Make the cupcake batter and bake for 15-17 minutes at 350F.
- Make the buttercream. While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the caramel buttercream.
- Frost & enjoy! Once the cupcakes are cool, frost with the buttercream, and drizzle more caramel on top. Store in an airtight container.
Why are my cupcakes dry?
Cupcakes can be dry from over measuring the flour. The best way to measure flour is with a kitchen scale - it is the most accurate. If you don't have a kitchen scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup, then level it off with a knife.
Over baking can also result in dry cupcakes. Just a few extra minutes in the oven can turn soft and moist cupcakes into tough and dry ones, so make sure to keep an eye on them. They are finished when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Why did my cupcakes sink?
Cupcakes can sink from over mixing the batter. Make sure to only mix your batter until the dry ingredients are JUST incorporated, not any longer. Additionally, underbaked cupcakes can sink, so make sure to bake them all the way through.
Can I use a different milk instead of whole milk?
Technically, yes. However, I really recommend sticking to whole milk due to its fat content. The fat content of the milk really adds to the soft texture of the cupcakes.
Can I use olive oil instead of vegetable oil?
Technically, yes. But the cupcake flavor will change significantly. Vegetable oil is used because it is a very neutral oil and does not have a lot of flavor. Olive oil, on the other hand, has a very distinct flavor that will most definitely come through in the cupcakes if you choose to use it.
Why is my frosting grainy?
Grainy frosting can be due to the butter being too cold or unsifted powdered sugar. In order to avoid grainy frosting, make sure to use room temperature butter and sift your powdered sugar if you notice it is clumpy.
If you do both of those things and your frosting is still grainy, let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then re-mix it with a tablespoon or two of liquid (milk, half and half, heavy cream, etc.).
Other recipes you may like
Chai Caramel Cupcakes
Chai Spice Mix
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ¼ cups (157 grams) all purpose flour spooned and leveled
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼ teaspoons chai spice mix
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 mL) vegetable oil
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 mL) whole milk room temperature
- ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 tablespoons caramel
- 3-4 cups (360-480 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons milk/heavy cream
- Make the caramel according to the linked caramel recipe. Let it cool and thicken while you make the cupcakes. You will have extra, which can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Chai Spice Mix
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and chai spice mix. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and oil together on medium-high speed until completely combined. This will only happen if the butter is fully at room temperature. About 2-3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, stream in the granulated sugar then beat on medium speed until combined and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well on low speed in between each addition, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla extract and mix on low-medium speed until combined.
- With the mixer on low, add half of the dry ingredients. Once almost fully incorporated, add half of the milk and mix until almost combined. Repeat this with the other halves of the dry ingredients and the milk. Do not over mix.
- Divide the batter evenly amongst the cupcake cups. The batter should be the perfect amount for 12 regular-sized cupcakes. Fill the liners until they are ½ - ¾ of the way full.
- Bake the cupcakes for 15-17 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream. In a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter by itself on medium-high speed for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add the caramel and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until combined. Add the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract and milk/heavy cream and beat until combined. You may need to add more powdered sugar (to thicken) or milk (to thin) depending on the desired consistency.
- Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost the cupcakes with the buttercream. Drizzle more caramel on top of the buttercream and enjoy! Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- I like to scrape down the bottoms and sides of the bowl every time after I add a new ingredient, this will ensure the cake is properly mixed.
Tried this recipe? Make sure to rate and review and tag @sturbridgebakery on Instagram!