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Brown butter dirty chai cupcakes

Ingredients: (chai spice mix)

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

Ingredients: (cupcakes)

  • ½ cup unsalted brown butter, melted
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chai spice mix
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brewed espresso or coffee (substitute whole milk)


Ingredients: (chai buttercream)

  • 1 cup unsalted brown butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chai spice mix
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk, as needed
    brown butter dirty chai cupcakes with star anise decoration


  • I highly recommend making the brown butter for the buttercream the night before so that it has plenty of time to fully cool!


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the chai spice mix and set aside.
  • Whisk the cake flour, almond flour, 1 tablespoon of chai spice mix, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the melted brown butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until combined.
  • Stir in about half of the flour mixture then stir in the brewed espresso. Next add in the remaining flour mixture and mix until fully combined.
  • Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
  • Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.
  • Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Chai Buttercream:

  • In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and powdered sugar until smooth.
  • Add in the 2 teaspoons of chai spice mix and vanilla extract and mix until creamy.
  • Add in milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Then beat the frosting on high speed for 4-5 minutes until super light and fluffy.
  • Frost cooled cupcakes. I used an open star piping tip for these photos.
  • Top with a sprinkle of the chai spice mix and enjoy!
  • These cupcakes will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, they taste best when served at room temperature! I like to let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving.


Notes for cooking:

To make brown butter, melt unsalted butter over medium heat, stirring frequently. Watch closely for the butter to develop brown specs and a nutty aroma. Once you start seeing brown specs, let cook for just a few seconds longer (watch very carefully or it will burn). Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl so that it doesn’t continue to cook. Set aside and let cool for about 20 minutes in the fridge until soft and pliable.


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