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Belinda's 3 Cs Cupcakes: Chocolate, Chai, Coconut!

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Why I Love This Recipe

Chocolate Ginger cupcakes, Vanilla Chai Frosting with toasted Coconut topping.

Notes on Ingredients

There are several ways to adjust this recipe to suit your tastes or if you don’t have certain ingredients on hand (like me).

Cocoa - If you don’t have this, you can use 3-4 squares of semi-sweet cooking chocolate, melted OR 3 Tbsp. of melted chocolate chips.

White Sugar - You can surely substitue this with Demerara sugar (raw cane sugar) to give the flavour a different kick. I originally created this recipe with a higher amount of sugar but with the frosting it was waaaaaay too sweet so I reduced and it was much more harmonic.

Powdered or Confectioners Sugar - The amount you use in your icing dictates how “firm” the icing will be. Because the chai flavouring I used was the boiled-down kind and not the instant powder, I had to offset the liquidity in the frosting by adding more powdered sugar so it would “hold”.

Buttermilk - As I was pouring the buttermilk into my measuring cup, I realised I wasn’t going to have enough. So, to make-up the remaining amount I substituted a mixture of plain yoghurt and milk.

Ginger - I’m not sure what is available to you but I used fresh ginger because I like the “bits” as a form of added texture. Obviously you can replace this with powdered or dried ginger to your taste. Galangal (a root that also tastes like ginger, just more aromatic and in my opinion, milder) is also a good substitute if you happen to have this.

Distilled vinegar - I didn’t have this and I wasn’t about to go and buy this so I substituted with half regular vinegar and half water.

Ingredients You'll Need

1 tsp baking powder
1.5 Cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 Cup butter, softened - if melted, wait for it to cool slightly before working with it.
1 Cup sugar
2 Large Eggs (or 3 small ones)
1 tsp vanilla extract or 2 real vanilla beans with the insides scraped out
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 tsp white, distilled vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
2-3 Tbsp. grated/ground ginger, to taste. (see notes)


Preheat your oven to 170°C (about 330-340°F) and line 2 cupcake pans with the paper cups. This makes 16 normal sized cupcakes so you will need two pans because you’re not able to set aside this batter. If you’re using those larger sized muffin pans you will obviously need just the one =)

In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder (if using). Set aside

In a larger bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy and light. Add one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition to allow each egg to incorporate properly. Add vanilla and mix well.

Slowly add your flour mixture and butter milk alternating each time. That is, add some of the flour mix, then some buttermilk. Repeat these steps ending with the flour mixture.

In a small cup add your baking soda. Pour the vinegar over and allow to fizz. Working a little faster, flold the liquid into your cake batter gently.

Immediately spoon your batter into the prepared cupcake pans. Do not overfill, 3/4 of the way is fine.

Bake for 15-20 mins or until your toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the pans on a rack for about 10 mins. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and set on the rack again for further cooling. Allow them to cool fully before frosting them.

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