For the Chai Caramel
Heat 150g cream until just beginning to simmer. You can do this on the stove or in the microwave. Add the chai tea bags and vanilla to the cream. Steep for 5 minutes. Squeeze the tea bags before discarding. Add more cream to the vanilla chai cream to make 150g cream total.
In a 2-quart sauce pot, combine the sugar, syrup, and water. Before heating, stir to make sure the sugar is evenly wet. Cover and cook the mixture without stirring, over medium heat. Once the mixture has starts to boil, remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high. Do not stir! Watch for it to turn from clear to a light caramel color. Once this happens, let it go a bit further until it turns to a deeper amber color. You may see a few wafts of smoke.
Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the warmed vanilla chai cream. It will bubble up, be careful of the steam! Once the mixture is smooth, add in your diced butter. Finally, whisk in the salt and vinegar. Carefully pour the caramel into a heat-proof container to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Before using in recipes, allow it to return to room temperature.
For the Cupcakes
Line two 12-count standard muffin pans with cupcake liners. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C.
In a small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar, set aside.
In a medium sauce pot set over medium-low heat, warm the butter, oil, water, and 1 tbsp espresso powder until the butter is melted. Remove from heat, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, remaining 2 tbsp espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the vanilla, milk mixture, and warmed butter mixture. Whisk until well combined. Add in the eggs, whisk until smooth. Once smooth, cover the mixer and bowl with a damp tea towel and mix on high for 15 seconds to lighten the batter. The tea towel will prevent batter from splashing out. Fill each cupcake liner to about ¾ full. Bake at 350°F/177°C until the cupcakes have risen and spring back when gently poked, about 20-25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Chai Caramel Buttercream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the caramel sauce and butter until completely smooth. Scrape down the bowl at this point, and continue scraping down the bowl as needed throughout the mixing process.
Add in half of the heavy whipping cream and the salt. Continue mixing on low until mostly incorporated. Add in half of the powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix on low for a few minutes. The frosting should look very smooth. Add in the remaining milk. Mix until smooth. Add in the remaining sugar. Mix until very smooth.
Use the frosting immediately or cover tightly and chill for up to two days in the refrigerator. Bring back to room temperature and mix on low for a few minutes before using.
Prepare a piping bag with a Wilton 1M piping tip. Pipe each cupcake with a spring. If you would like, use a fine mesh sieve to dust the tops of some or all of the cupcakes. Store and serve at room temperature.
Please tag myself @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife + @amandaefaber #cakeportfolio so we can see your beautiful Caramel Mocha Dirty Chai Cupcakes. Happy baking!!!
Reprinted with permission from Cake Portfolio by Amanda Faber 2019. Thank you so much Amanda for sharing your beautiful Caramel Mocha Dirty Chai Cupcakes recipe with us!