Friday Faves – Apple A Day makes Cranberry Chai Cupcakes

Happy Friday! What’s everyone up to this weekend? I’m on my way to NYC for the Avon Walk!! I’ve got a great guest post for this week’s Friday Favs. Kelsey from Apple A Day is one of the bloggers that I met on an online food forum quite a few years ago. I’ve been following her blog pretty much since the beginning. Kelsey makes food that is similar to how we eat, so I have quite a few of her posts starred in my Google Reader (and quite a few have made an appearance on my blog too!) Be sure to head over to her blog to check it out!

If you’re a long-time Beantown Baker reader like I am, you are no doubt aware of Jen’s penchant for cupcakes and cranberries. I mean, really…the girl has done some amazing things with both of those things.

As luck would have it, I also love cupcakes and cranberries. So when Jen first asked me to be one of her Friday Favs, I jumped at the chance (who wouldn’t?!?) and immediately began looking for the perfect recipe to share with her readers. As soon as I saw this one, I knew my search was over.

What I didn’t realize until I sat down to write this entry was that I also would have the privilege to make my guest post during October, a month in which Jen always goes above and beyond in support of breast cancer awareness, research, and treatment. While my cupcakes have only a hint of bright pink from the cranberries, I think those hints are enough to remind us all how important it is that we continue to support each other in bringing an end to a disease that will affect 1 in 8 women.

So in honor of Jen’s Power of Pink challenge, women currently fighting breast cancer, those who can count themselves as survivors, and the numerous friends and family everywhere who lend invaluable support, I bring you these cranberry chai cupcakes. I hope you’ll make up a batch for a girls’ night and share them with the women in your life.

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Cranberry Chai Cupcakes with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting


For the chai spice seasoning:
1 tsp ground fennel
3/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

For the cupcakes:
1/2 cups (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp chai spice seasoning
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3/4 cups chopped fresh cranberries

For the frosting:
1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, at room temperature
4 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp chai spice seasoning
4 cups confectioners’ sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 20-24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed for 30 seconds to loosen. Gradually add sugar, about ¼ cups at a time. Leave butter and sugar to cream until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together flour, chai spice seasoning, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Return to butter and sugar. Lower speed to medium and add in vanilla then eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.

Scrape down sides of bowl, then turn to low speed and alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down sides of bowl and fold in cranberries.

Using a standard-sized scoop or a scantly filled ¼ cup measuring cup, fill each muffin well two-thirds full. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack, in the pan, for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes and allow to cool completely.

While cupcakes are cooling, make frosting by creaming together cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on the medium setting. Add vanilla and chai spice seasoning and beat until fully incorporated. Add confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time, until frosting reaches desired sweetness and consistency. Frost cupcakes when they are completely cooled.

Recipe slightly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Cupcakes

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4 Responses to “Friday Faves – The Way the Cookie Crumbles does a Tapioca Pudding Comparison”

  1. #
    Gail — January 31, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    I am of two minds on this post. On the one hand, my OCD really kicked in when I read that you had not followed Mark Bittman’s recipe but still decided to write about it. Seemed a bit sloppy for a nerd and an engineer. On the other hand, that is how Pasteur discovered Penicillin. Bittman is such a great cook, that I think he deserves better treatment; so I plan to do him the honor of making his recipe. I am not going to make the other two though!

  2. #
    Gail — January 31, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Oops! Senior moment that – it was the Scottish scientist and Nobel laureate Alexander Fleming in 1928. Apparently, the Pasteur Institut ignored the work of a French physician, Ernest Duchesne, who in 1897 discovered the curative properties of the Penicillium Glaucum, a different mold than the one Fleming discovered, but in the same genus. Gotta love Wikipedia.

  3. #
    JD — February 14, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    There are two tapioca recipes on the Minute Tapioca box. I always use the one for Fluffy Pudding, which calls for 2 cups milk and whipping the egg whites separately from the cooked milk with tapioca and egg yolk. I think you will find the pudding much improved over the basic recipe.

    Also, the quality of the vanilla makes a huge difference in something like tapioca. Cooks Illustrated likes McCormick and I found this on amazon and at Sam’s Club in large bottles for very reasonable prices.

    One other note: I find that CI has a sweet tooth: their recipes are sometimes too sweet for my taste, though they are a go-to source otherwise.

  4. #
    Sam — October 26, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    This is an interesting discussion. I tried the Kraft recipe today. I threw everything (except the vanilla) in the blender before putting it on the stove. I also added 1/2 tsp. salt and a bit more vanilla. I actually thought it was sweet enough already, though. However, I agree with your overall conclusion that it’s a bit boring. Well, at least it was easy. Anyway, next time I may a recipe using large tapioca. 🙂

    Thanks for the comparison.

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