I think I have mentioned that fall has fully taken over the UK, it’s damp, it’s cool, and thoughts of salad are a thing of the past. I know some people are reluctant to move on to pumpkin and all things fall, however I have no such qualms given the weather we have here and the fact that I have a freezer full of homemade pumpkin purée to use up.
My husband’s birthday was last week, and I decided to make him some cupcakes we could all enjoy. Actually he loves carrot cake and had asked for them more than once, so I made them with a bit of a twist, pumpkin purée and homemade chai spice. The result was a light moist cupcake, that not only tasted of fall, but gave the house a wonderful spicy scent that would rival the best potpourri.
I love any recipe I can put vegetables in, and if I can put them in a sweet recipe, so much the better. I had some sweet summer carrots in the house and they made all the difference to the cupcakes. I limit the amount of sugar in our deserts as my husband is diabetic and watches his diet very closely.
This recipe is quick and easy, the longest part is grating the carrots. Mix dry ingredients to wet, fold in the grated carrot and bake.
One area I have lightened up from the usual cream cheese frosting, is not using powdered sugar. I find that makes the frosting too sweet for me and definitely for my husband. I used light cream cheese, a small amount of butter, a small amount of sugar and vanilla. It whips up nicely, and tastes like a light cheesecake.
Another thing that reminds me of fall is cinnamon. While I do use it all year-long, I use it daily once fall hits. I have a bottle in my drawer at work and at least 2 bottles in my pantry so I don’t run out. When I decided to make the cupcakes, I decided that cinnamon wasn’t enough, and decided to use my chai spice I keep in the pantry as well.
I usually make up a batch and keep it in the pantry to use when I need it. The spice is versatile for use in cooking as well as being added to black tea for a warming mug of chai tea latte.
The mix I use is a vanilla version and it adds the most amazing flavour to your baking.
Vanilla chai spice blend
- 1/3 cup ground ginger
- ¼ cup cinnamon powder, finely ground
- ¼ cup ground cardamom, finely ground
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.
If you don’t want to make your own chai spice blend, you can steep a chai tea bag in a small amount of boiling water, and use that in the cupcakes instead. Or, if you don’t want a chai spice taste, then a mix of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg will work as well.