Monday, December 2, 2013

Vanilla Chai Mini Cupcakes

1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
3 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Chai Spice Blend
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 c whipping cream
6 oz white chocolate chips
2 TBS Rumchata

6 TBS butter, softened
4 1/2 - 5 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp Chai Spice Blend
3-4 TBS milk
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 5 dozen mini cupcake molds with paper liners (or 24 full size).

Scrape vanilla seeds from pod into cream; set aside to infuse.

Blend together flour, baking soda, chai spice blend, & salt in medium bowl; set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter & sugar until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla & blend until smooth.

Add 1/3 of the blended dry ingredients, then 1/2 the cream & repeat, beginning & ending with dry ingredients. Be sure to mix well after each addition.

Using spring-hinge melon baller, scoop 1 TBS of batter into each mini cup (should be 2/3 full). (For full size, fill liners 2/3 full, about 1/4 c.)

Bake mini cupcakes 8-10 minutes or until centers test clean. (Bake full size 18-20 minutes.) Remove from pans to wire rack & allow to cool completely.

While cupcakes bake, prepare ganache.
Heat whipping cream in microwave using micro-proof measuring cup until very hot, but not boiling (1 minute 40 seconds in mine.) Immediately stir in chips until smooth. Add Rumchata & whisk until completely blended. Allow to cool; place in refrigerator to cool until mixture is a spreadable, frosting consistency, whisking occasionally to keep smooth.

Using tip of sharp knife, cut a small circle out of the center of each cupcake to make a "well" for the ganache, reserving the cutouts. Using cake decorating tool, "inject" ganache into the cupcake center, leveling off with the top of each cupcake. The ganache may settle into the cupcake. If it does, pop the reserved circles back into the cupcakes.

For frosting, whip butter in large bowl of electric mixer. Add about half of the powdered sugar & the Chai spices, beating well. Add 3 TBS of the milk & the vanilla, whipping until combined. Add remaining powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add more milk as necessary until desired consistency is achieved. Pipe on to ganache filled cupcakes using cake decorating tool.

Chill at least 2 hours to allow flavors to develop.

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