living the sweet life

Mini Cupcakes: Honey Spice Chai, Nutella, & Limoncello

The only thing better than regular size cupcakes? Mini cupcakes.

They’re mini and adorable and bite size and delicious. The only problem? They’re so mini and bite size and delicious that you can pop one in your mouth and all of a sudden that one cupcake has turned into 8 and it doesn’t even feel like that. Dangerous.

But it’s a danger I’m willing to live with.

The story behind these 120+ mini cupcakes? (not all pictured here) My mom was having a housewarming party, and I, being the wonderful daughter that I am, volunteered my time to bake some cupcakes. And, being me, I just had to make 3 different kind of cupcakes, mostly to keep from going crazy doubling/tripling/quadrupling a single recipe.

We moved into this house a little over a year ago and it’s cool to see how my mom has decorated it. It’s very Swedish, with a lot of white walls, curtains, and furniture but it still feels cozy. So, basically perfect. She’s good at what she does. But we couldn’t have this party until railings were painted, rooms were done and things redecorated (I don’t even know what at this point, sometimes it’s so slow and subtle I forget what the house looked like when we bought it). But in all honesty, it’s really cool to see what she’s done with the place. It feels like home, which is saying a lot since asides from Wesleyan, the only other home I knew I had lived in for nearly 22 years.

So when it was finally time to invite 40 friends from different groups and towns together, I needed to make dessert. I had decided on mini cupcakes because most people (re:adults) won’t eat an entire cupcake, let alone a few cupcakes (re: me and my friends). I had made those wonderful Nutella cupcakes two days prior for two of my friends’ birthday, so I still had marshmallow filling and nutella buttercream leftover, since I had only made a half batch of cupcakes for them. Because I just neeeeeded to use that stuff up, I made mini Nutella cupcakes (recipe found here, see note at bottom)

I also had a bottle of limoncello leftover from earlier this summer, so I thought a light lemony alcohol cupcake would be another perfect addition. (recipe found here, see note at bottom)

But then I wanted something different, something I hadn’t made before. I already had chocolate and I had something lemon/citrusy. My baking friend at school – she is the real cupcake/cake master. It wasn’t until I started baking with her that I had started baking cupcakes at all actually. Before that I was mostly a cookie person. Anyway, she has made great chai cakes and cupcakes in the past, and I knew that with the huge abundance of tea in my house (I don’t have a problem or anything…), the Honey Spice Chai cupcakes she had made would be perfect. Especially since my mom loves chai tea.

Paired with a fluffy honey whipped cream on top? They were delicious. A spice cupcake that had made me excited for fall (in August), which is nearly impossible to do. But now that it is actually fall (re: scarf, boots and pants weather), these cupcakes are going to make a reappearance in my kitchen soon. The cupcake is warm enough from the spiced chai that it tastes like fall, and the honey whipped cream is light enough that you’re not weighed down by a cupcake. It’s a perfect balance.

So, in celebration of fall, October, and National Dessert month.. you need to make them. And then give them to someone because otherwise you will eat every last one. Especially if they’re miniature. I speak from experience.

Honey Spice Chai Cupcakes

makes: 12 full size or 24-30 mini cupcakes

3 chai-spice tea bags
2/3 cup boiling water
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, steep tea bags in the boiling water for 5-6 minutes. Discard the tea bags and let tea cool to room temperature.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt and whisk together. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, melted butter, buttermilk, and egg. Add in the dry ingredients and use an electric mixer to beat together until just combined, about 2 minutes. Add the cooled tea and beat again until just combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Line a muffin tin with wrappers and then fill each hole about 3/4 full (~1/4 cup for full size, ~1-2 tbsp for mini size). Bake for about 12-15 minutes (mini cupcakes) or 18-20 minutes (full size), or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool 5 minutes in baking pans and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Honey Whipped Cream (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey

In a chilled mixing bowl, combine the cream and honey. Use an electric mixer on low speed and beat until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the cream holds soft peaks, 2-3 minutes. Use right away and frost cupcakes.

The whipped cream will also keep in the fridge.

[source: a cookbook that I unfortunately don’t own]

1. The other recipes are already up on the blog in their full-size cupcake form. When making minis, make sure to adjust the baking time (12-15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean).
2. For the Nutella cupcakes, they’re too small to be cored for the filling, so just use a little pastry tip, insert it in the cupcake, and squeeze a little bit of the frosting into the cupcake.
Nutella Cupcakes
Limoncello Cupcakes 

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