Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

September 10, 2020

These Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes are a delicious flavor battle between two classic flavors—-pumpkin + chai. Together, however, they are even more PERFECT! Made with a soft, fluffy, + moist vegan base, these cupcakes are filled with bold pumpkin flavor and warm spices in every bite. Paired with a fluffy chai buttercream, these cupcake are the epitome of comfort during the cooler months ahead. Completely oil-free. Gluten-Free option available.

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes. What else is there to say about these cupcakes? They live up to their name in every way—-SO easy, yet so delicious!

When it comes to the Fall season this year, I’m intentional about creating incredible flavor with Fall ingredients, especially when it comes to using pumpkin. That’s why I came up with #PumpkinWeek.

Although pumpkin flavor isn’t a new invention that was created in the food space, I wanted to re-create new ways that it could be introduced with bold flavors. 

Hopefully, you’ve been enjoying my pumpkin-inspired creations thus far and in case you haven’t been following Orchids + Sweet Tea, let me quickly recap a few of our newest additions.

PUMPKIN OVER EVERYTHING!!! 

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Feeling Everything Pumpkin? These are Delicious Options!

Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats—-Vegan, Gluten-free, and only takes 5 minutes to whip together while you allow the refrigerator do the rest overnight. This recipe boasts of it’s creaminess, thickness from the thickly cut oats used, and generous Fall flavors which reminds you of the traditional pumpkin spice latte.

This One-Pot Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta is the perfect way to enjoy a good plate of creamy pasta much like the classic Alfredo version, but without the dairy and cheese (all Vegan), completely loaded with pumpkin flavor married with cajun seasonings, and of course with the amazing texture of Pappardelle noddles. This recipe is easy to make, satisfying, and is sure to be your family’s next staple Fall-inspired comfort food.

This Vegan Pumpkin Chai Latte is made with only a handful of ingredients and is the perfect warmth + coziness to any day. Literally whipped together in a few short minutes, this homemade latte comes fully dairy-free, vegan, + gluten-free. Enjoy this coffee-free cup of goodness every morning. 

Of course, we have other pumpkin recipes that you can find on our site by searching “Pumpkin” at the top of the site!

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Honestly, eating these cupcakes were the best part after making them. Haha.

I know that many people LOVE cupcakes. I actually think that they are highly consumed as much as cookies and cake, if I’m guessing right.

But these cupcakes are definitely a killer combo, I might add. 

Pumpkin + Chai are just AMAZING together. Period.

Are these Cupcakes Vegan or Regular or BOTH?

These cupcakes are vegan with a regular buttercream simply because I try to minimize dairy as much as possible for my health, but of course, you can choose to make these entirely vegan or entirely regular—it’s up to you! Just substitute the ACV for a large egg, at room temp.

Personally, I LOVE the velvety-ness of regular buttercream, therefore, I don’t mind consuming a bit of dairy for that reason. Haha.

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

TIPS TO MAKING PERFECT CUPCAKES:

#1: YES, THE KIND OF FLOUR MATTERS!

To come out with a soft, moist cupcake, I’ve noticed that mixing All-Purpose Flour + Cake Flour, really does justice!

#2: DON’T OVER FILL!

Yes! This has been my trial and error moment when it comes to baking! I tend to fill my batter with most recipes to the brim, but I’ve recently gotten into the habit of pacing myself!

Over-filling makes a huge mess later and doesn’t allow your baked goods to come put perfectly, especially with cupcakes. So, filling it 3/4ths of the way is key!

#3: START HIGH, THEN END LOW!

One other pet peeve of mine when baking is when you’re ultra confident at the amazingness of your batter (the taste and aroma is there), yet after it bakes—-it becomes flat or sunk in once it touches air. The solution?

Start by baking the cupcakes at a higher temp for the first 5 mins (maybe 400 degrees Fahrenheit) then lowering it to the standard 350 degrees Fahrenheit temp for the rest of the time.

Then once they are done, turn off your oven, BUT leave them in for about 5 minutes with the oven door slightly open so that they don’t sink right away (this is especially a good rule of thumb for cheesecake bites!).

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

#4: ALWAYS KEEP THINGS FRESH!

I know that this is a common mistake, especially for those of us who aren’t daily bakers. Ensure that your ingredients (flours, etc.) are fresh and haven’t been sitting there for months improperly sealed, etc.

Also, ensure that your leaveners (baking power + baking soda) are fresh. This is super important and often is the culprit in flatter baked goods.

#5: DOUBLE PROTECTION IS BETTER THAN ONE!

While using cupcake liners are a huge lifesaver when making it easier to remove your cupcakes after they are ready, ensuring that you not only use high quality liners, but that you also lightly spray the inside of your liners with a cooking spray HELPS A TON! Don’t you just hate when your cupcake inevitably gets stuck on one of those cupcake liners?

#6: WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW THEM OUT. Haha.

Last but not least, always ensure that your batter is JUST RIGHT. With cupcakes, your batter should be slightly thick and not extremely watery. This allows them to come out fluffy and not too wet. Therefore, always slowly add in the wet ingredients (while mixing) to ensure that your batter isn’t too crazy liquid-y to the point that it looks like your scooping up milk. When it doubt, throw it out and start again. Trust me, it’s best that way!

What You’ll Need For These Cupcakes?

Cake Flour – Creates a nice airy, fluffiness to cupcakes, BUT all-purpose flour can be substituted

Almond Milk – Makes things nice + soft; Sub with your fave plant-based milk

Pumpkin – The epitome Fall flavor. Rich + Savory subtle flavors

Vanilla – A great addition of flavor and marries everything together

Agave – A light sweetener; sub w/ maple syrup

Homemade Chai Mix – The best fall spices known to man in my opinion. So easy to make and mix together

Spices: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cloves, All spice – the best combo of Fall flavors (creates Pumpkin Spice blend)

Powered Sugar – The base of your buttercream

ACV — Mixed in with the milk to act as an acid agent for the leaveners to activate

Baking Soda + Baking Powder — Very important leaveners for your cupcakes

Unsalted Butter — Creates a beautiful fluffy, velvety buttercream from the fat within it’s ingredients

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

What About the Pumpkin?

When it comes to the pumpkin flavor, I use the pumpkin from the can specifically for pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling (I use the organic version from Libby’s). 

NEED CUPCAKE IDEAS? TRY THESE RECIPES.

These Easy Caramel Coconut Cupcakes are melt in your mouth coconut cupcakes that come popular by demand. 

These Vanilla Cupcakes with Sprinkles are the best + most favorite cupcakes I’ve made. Soft, fluffy, + extra moist, these cupcakes are bursting with bold vanilla flavor in every bite.

These Best Banana Cupcakes + Maple Buttercream are classic flavors that never get old, but together they are even more PERFECT!

These Homemade Vegan Funfetti Sprinkles Cupcakes are a tasty, healthier option to your classic childhood favorite—funfetti Birthday Cake!.

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

What You’ll Love Most About These Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes.

Very easy to whip together. Literally one-bowl needed for cupcakes.

Ready in less than 30 minutes TOTAL—-including prep.

Warm and comforting with EVERY SINGLE BITE.

Super soft + fluffy on purpose.

Loaded with delicious Fall/Winter spices.

All dairy-free, vegan, + a GF option available.

Makes for the perfect sweet treat for adults + kids alike.

Did I mention—–just delicious?

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

LOOKING FOR A HEALTHIER SWEETENER OPTION?

The Best Healthy Sugar Alternatives + Substitutes list is all about finding better ways to enjoy your favorite sweets without compromising your healthy lifestyle. For those who follow a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle, this lists offers a few great ideas to incorporate healthy sweeteners into your diet.

Now, let’s dig right into this recipe shall we?

For Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prep your cupcake pan with liners + spray.

In a measuring cup, add the Almond Milk and Apple Cider Vinegar, mixing until well combined and let it sit for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and sea salt. Set aside.

Add in the milk-ACV, vegan butter, pumpkin, Agave, + vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, mix everything together until well combined (and smooth) and no lumps are visible for the most part. Batter should be slightly thick, but not as thick as muffin batter. DO NOT OVER-MIX!!

Scoop the batter into each cupcake liner cavity (3/4 full) and bake ate 400 degrees Fahrenheit for the FIRST 5 minutes. Then reduce to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for another 14 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean in the centers.

Once done, turn off oven and keep cupcakes inside with the oven door slightly open for about 2 minutes before taking them out.

Let them cool COMPLETELY before frosting.

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 18 mins
Total Time: 28 mins
Serves: 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients

Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups Super fine cake flour (I use Bob's Red Mill; See Notes!)
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (For Homemade, See Notes!)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT Pie filling!)
  • 3 Tbsps Agave (See Notes!)
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk + 1 Tbsp! (You can use your fave plant-based milk)
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps melted vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Chai Buttercream: 

  • 4-5 cups organic powered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp. (That's 2 stick!; I use Land O'Lakes)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp chai spice mix (See Notes!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsps organic Heavy cream (I use Organic Valley)

Instructions

For Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prep your cupcake pan with liners + spray.
  • In a measuring cup, add the Almond Milk and Apple Cider Vinegar, mixing until well combined and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and sea salt. Set aside.
  • Add the Milk-ACV mixture, vegan butter, pumpkin puree, Agave, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, mixing until everything is well combined (and smooth) and no lumps are visible. DO NOT OVER-MIX!
  • Scoop the batter into each cupcake liner (3/4 full) and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for the FIRST 5 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for another 14-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.
  • Once done, turn off oven and keep cupcakes inside with the oven door slightly open for about 2 minutes before taking them out.
  • Let them cool COMPLETELY before frosting.

For Chai Buttercream: 

  • In a large bowl, add the powdered sugar and unsalted butter together, beating until it looks ‘peas-like’. Beat in the salt, chai mix, vanilla, and heavy cream until buttercream is creamy and fluffy.
  • **NOTE: If buttercream is too ‘runny’, add additional powdered sugar (1 Tbsps at a time); if too thick, add additional heavy cream (1 Tbsp at a time).**
  • Add buttercream to a piping bag and pie onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with additional chai spice mix, if desired. 
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

 
  • GLUTEN-FREE VERSION: To make these cupcakes GF, I recommend using a GF Flour Blend (Bob’s Red Mills has a great version!). **NOTE: If the cupcake mixture is too ‘thin + runny’, simply add additional GF flour, 1/4 cup at a time.**
  • SWEETENER: If you choose to opt out of Agave, you can always substitute with maple syrup or pure can sugar as well.
  • PLANT-BASED BUTTERMILK: Add 1 cup of Almond milk (or your fave plant-based milk) + 1 Tbsp lemon juice (instead of ACV) and let sit for 10 minutes, until it slightly thickens.
  • MAKE AHEAD:You can always bake these cupcakes the night or day before and let them cool, tightly wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. The buttercream frosting can also be made prior and tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge as well. When ready to serve, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, frost, and enjoy!
  • VEGAN BUTTERCREAM: To make this buttercream vegan, simply use 1/4 cup organic vegetable shortening + 1/4 cup vegan butter (at room temp.) instead of unsalted butter. Reduce powdered sugar to 2 1/2- 3 cups. Follow remaining steps.
  • STORAGE: Best kept if stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days (unfrosted) and 3-4 days when frosted. Also, can be frozen for up to 6 months when unfrosted and thawed.
  • PUMPKIN SPICE BLEND:Mix together 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ground ginger, + 1/4 tsp ground cloves. 
  • CHAI SPICE MIX: 2 Tbsps cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp ground cloves

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Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes.

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

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