At approximately 6:30 PM on Wednesday, February 22nd, exactly one boy entered my apartment.

There was eating, talking, laughing, kissing (unless you’re my mother and/or father, in which case. Definitely not, none, zero, I would NEVER.)

And exactly zero ran out screaming.

I’d call that a success.

Let’s rejoice eat cupcakes.


Cause if we’re being real, here.  One of the major perks of dating is the post-date gossip session with the girls that inevitably ensues.

And if there’s anything I love more than a good gossip session with my ladies…

…it’s a good gossip session with my ladies that involves cupcakes.

Common sense.

You know you feel the same.


These cupcakes are actually ideal for such a get together.  They taste like a warm cup of tea (and we all know gossip sessions necessitate tea!).  But with frosting on top.

And not just any frosting.  But my new favorite frosting.

With a hint of honey and a touch of salt, it has that sweet/slightly salty thing going on.  Swoon.

I highly recommend you keep a bottle of dishwasher soap nearby while making it.  Because when you have extra frosting sitting in a bowl on your counter…it’s gonna be important.  Trust me.


The intriguing thing about these cupcakes is that they actually require you to tear open your tea bags and put actual tea leaves into the batter.  We’re not just steeping milk and hoping the flavor comes through.  No, no, no.  We’re getting down and dirty with our bold, tea-loving selves.

While Joy originally called for chamomile, I opted to go with chai instead.  (Because chamomile makes me nauseous.)  And while the spices definitely came through, they weren’t overpowering and didn’t make you feel like you were eating a tea bag.  Even though that’s essentially what you were doing. Times nine.

I have a feeling you could use just about any tea in these, so just choose the one you love.  And get baking.

There’s lots of cupcake-eating gossiping to be done in this world, and we have not a moment to lose.


Chai-Spiced Cupcakes with Honey Frosting for the Joy the Baker Spotlight!
All the spices of chai tea in cupcake form! These Chai-Spiced Cupcakes with Honey Frosting bring afternoon tea to a whole new level of awesome.
Yield: 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp chai tea, from tea bags (originally called for chamomile)
  • ½ cup almond milk (or regular milk!)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the frosting
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 6 tbsp heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325. Line a cupcake pan with paper or foil liners and set aside.
  2. To make the cakes: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and tea leaves. the mixture will be slightly coarse and sandy when mixed for several minutes.
  3. Whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla.
  4. Pour half of the milk mixture into the flour mixture with the mixer on medium-low speed. Beat until just incorporated. Pour in the remaining milk mixture, and turn mixer up to medium. Beat for 1 minute, until well blended.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake cups. There isn’t a lot, so only fill the liners up about halfway. Scrape the bowl to make sure you get as much batter out as possible…there is not even a tablespoon to lose!
  6. Bake cupcakes for 17 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting: whisk together the sifted powdered sugar, honey, cream and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth. Use a butter knife to generously spread the frosting atop the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with a bit of tea leaves (or top with a sugar pearl!). Cakes will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cupcake

This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off!  Take a minute and stop by Girlichef’s site to read her interview with Joy the Baker.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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92 Responses to Chai-Spiced Cupcakes with Honey Frosting for the Joy the Baker Spotlight!

  1. Jeanette says:

    Yum, I’ve never tried putting actual tea leaves in cake batter, but I love the flecks of color and I bet you get a mouthful of antioxidants. Must be a healthy cupcake right? 😉

  2. These look wonderful, Joanne! I love the honey in the frosting. What a lovely addition

  3. Wow, tea leaves in cake! Never would have thought of that. I bet these have so much flavor! And that frosting sounds delicious. Would love to use that recipe on other cakes/cupcakes! P.S. Yay for a great date 🙂

  4. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Joy the Baker cookbook – still another month to go here in the UK 🙁 This recipe looks lovely – Joy is awesome!

  5. Way to go, Joanne! I love the rehash gossip on the blog, too. 😉
    I bet these would be great with Earl Grey but Chai is very near to my heart, too. Yum!

  6. Looks so good, I’m not a tea drinker but I’d give this a shot, they look so good.

  7. Danielle says:

    I have all the ingredients for this in the house right now – I am tempted to give these a try today.

  8. I have to agree. This is my new favorite “white” frosting. (The chocolate buttercream w/ ovaltine being my new favorite “brown” frosting.) I’ll try chai next time – it does sound good. And yes, dishsoap at the ready. Classic! 😉

  9. I’ve decided that since drinking tea is so good for you, eating it in cupcake from must be too. Love the switch to chai!

  10. I’m a tea drinker, it gets me started every morning. Your cupcakes are intriguing and I must give them a try. Perfect for an afternoon (gossiping) discussing the days events.

  11. Victoria says:

    Okay, I don’t think I even need to state the obvious. That I’m all for anything involving tea, and especially cooking or baking with it! I think both the chamomile and chai versions sound lovely, and even more so the frosting is a must! I will be bookmarking this shizzle. Thanks, love. And PS where’s my cupcake and gossip for that matter? 🙁

  12. Kim says:

    I love that you changed up the recipe to include the flavors of chai tea. I think I actually like your version better! They look very tasty.

  13. Hannah says:

    Bravo, my dear. I’m very happy to hear about this dating success. It gives me some hope for myself…!

  14. Good to hear both baking and dating was a success, these delicious cupcakes was the icing on the cake! Doesn’t make sense.
    I’ve never baked with tea – fused or tea leaves. Leaves make it look good.

  15. vianney says:

    KISSING!! I love it!! and the frosting rocked.. I slapped some on toast the next day, not my proudest moment, but hey.. it was really that good! love the change up!

  16. Elizabeth says:

    I love the speckled appearance. 3 Little Figs makes and insane chai raspberry walnut muffin with a crumb topping.

  17. Mary says:

    YAY for the kissing! I’m really liking the sound of this recipe. It really didn’t taste like tea leaves?! How fun!

  18. Oh yum! I love that you added honey to the frosting! Ohhh, I’m telling your Mom you were kissing! 🙂

  19. Love chai…got to make these. Need more boy details 🙂

  20. Lora says:

    Love these. The frosting sounds amazing.

  21. Raina says:

    Oooh, very happy for you, especially the kissing part:) These cupcakes look amazing; I like that you used chai, love anything chai.

  22. Ooh, I was thinking Chai would be great in these cupcakes. I actually think the black tea in these makes them more distinctive than the chamomile. I like the ‘shaggy chic’ look that all the black tea gives these little cakes!

  23. Congrats on him not running out screaming-lol! Love these cupcakes–very lovely with the dark tea flecks!

  24. MS2 says:

    Mmmm honey frosting….

    I’m gonna have to try that

  25. sally says:

    Good call on replacing the chamomile with chai. I’m glad to hear that no boys ran out screaming from your house! 🙂

  26. Jenna says:

    We need to hear more about this boy! I’m glad things went well, and I hope he sticks around. In the meantime, I’ll feast my eyes on those cupcakes and slip into imaginary sugar bliss.

  27. Beth says:

    Of course he loved you! How could he do anything BUT love you? And I love those cupcakes. I made chai muffins last year based on Dorie’s coffee muffins, but I’ve never been so bold as to remove the tea bag altogether.

  28. Suzi says:

    Cute cupcakes and they look delicious. Glad you opted for the chai tea instead of the chamomile I know it added a more tasty flavor. Very nice.

  29. Oh, icing, hard to resist. I just posted about a healthy version!

  30. Cara says:

    I’m so happy to hear about your date! And happy to know that you can use whole tea in recipes rather than trying to infuse. That may have just opened up a whole new world to me.

  31. Christy says:

    chai is such a brilliant choice for these little cakes…again, i sit here thinking maybe i made the wrong choice in making the biscuits…they were good….but not good gossiping food 🙂

  32. Amy says:

    Hm. Tea. I don’t like tea…but I’m guessing that when it’s mixed with sugar and frosting, it redeems itself. Regardless, I’m still stuck on the kissing 😀

  33. Ranjani says:

    Wow, I never would have thought to just put the tea leaves in the cupcakes. Sounds delicious!

  34. Claudia says:

    I was wondering about the texture of the cupcakes and it surprised me! Tea leaves! Definitely interesting. The cupcakes draw me in. Cupcakes and chat – they belong together.

  35. Hotly Spiced says:

    Wow! I would love to have been sitting on your couch eating a tea bag cupcake hearing all the gossip! Does the boy that walked into your apartment know you write a blog??? Glad the date went well. Looking forward to updates. And…can you buy packets of tea in the US to make it easier than having to break open tea bags? Have a lovely weekend xx

  36. Gloria says:

    Joanne this look absolutely beautiful!!

  37. Gorgeous – I love that you used chai for these cupcakes – I can imagine what a lovely flavour they would have and would be a great complement to that frosting which sounds divine. I have a lovely fruit tea that I drink a lot, which is a blend of mango, peach and vanilla, which I would love to try in this recipe and which I think would also be lovely with that frosting.

    Hope we’ll be getting updates on the date!! Have a great weekend.

  38. Pam says:

    Yeah! I am so glad the date went well… it sounds like this guy has good taste in woman :). The cupcakes look lovely & the frosting sounds amazing.

    Still having problems with my website. Are you able to view the new posts this week?

  39. Mo 'Betta says:

    yum! I just pinned another recipe using chai tea (and meyer lemons!), and this frosting does sound dangerous. I mean delicious! Glad your date went well 🙂 He better be nice, b/c as your faux mom, I will have to kick his ass if he’s not.

  40. daphne says:

    awww.. a date went well! that’s fantastic. More girly posts pls 😉 But the cupcakes- oooo… I love what u did by using real tea leaves. It’s perfect for a girly chat. With the extra frosting of corse!

  41. Amy says:

    Congrats on the date success! I have been wanting to make a dessert with tea in it, so I’m re-inspired to do so…

  42. Megan says:

    Ooh I’m envisioning an earl grey version.

    Sounds like you had a great date! 🙂

  43. MM says:

    Love your change up with the chai! So many possibilities with this recipe. Kissing and cupcakes…good times!

  44. Mary says:

    These sound wonderful and are a perfect addition to the meme. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  45. Candace says:

    I am all for anything chai! I love the flecks of tea in the cupcakes. They look amazing, Joanne. Tonight would be a wonderful night to endulge in one of those since I was good for dinner and had Subway. 🙂

  46. Reeni says:

    You put my favorite tea in a cupcake! You genius you! And I love honey in my tea so the frosting is perfect! I’m happy for you. VERY happy. (You know, the kissing and the not running away.)

  47. The frosting sounds perfect. We love honey in a lot of sweets. It’s so subtle and smoothly sweet. Hope you enjoyed them as much as your evening with the male friend. 🙂

  48. Chris says:

    Alexis gets all upset when I have dates that end up with kissing. Well, she gets pretty peeved with any kind of dates I have, ha ha.

  49. Katie says:

    These look delightful. I can’t wait to try out that frosting. I used your dishwasher soap trip with the bit of leftover brownie batter I had yesterday. I’m glad to hear your date went well!

  50. Bo says:

    I wish I would have thought to use something other than chamomile…and cheers to a successful date.

  51. OohLookBel says:

    Hooray for you! These cupcakes sound awesome, especially the sweet/salty vibe.

  52. That Girl says:

    Between you and my mom I am feeling like I’m in high school again with vicarious dating.

  53. That I think so is one of the most attractive cupcake texture I have seen around. I just cant stop looking at it. Great job Joanne (both the cupcake and the dating success)! 😉

  54. Johanna GGG says:

    I am so happy for you that the date went well – especially after reading your last post about what the boy might see in your kitchen – now I am curious about how he reacted to all your cookbooks and photography stuff – did they come up in conversation or were they the white elephant in the room? And love the cupcakes – lovely speckled look and I really should start using up my camomile that is taking up room in my kitchen so maybe this is how

  55. Barbara says:

    Congratulations on a successful date!! 🙂
    And this is a beaut of a cupcake!

  56. Katerina says:

    Someone had a seriously good time here! Wow, you reminded me of my dates. What a feeling! No wonder why you made these so beautiful cupcakes. The feeling after a successful date can make you create miracles!

  57. Hooray for a great date! And, for a good gossip session. The honey and cream sound so good in the frosting on these cupcakes, and I know I’d love the tea flavor. Now, I need an excuse for a gossip session!

  58. 🙂 Tea with frosting on top. I’m there!

    I love that you use the actual tea from the bags and not just steeped milk. These look wonderful and comforting.

  59. Beautiful texture and the frosting recipe is for sure the keeper. Great photos, as always!

  60. Miriam says:

    I love these cupcakes!! Good luck with the dating scene, you’re the best! :), [email protected]Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  61. Faith says:

    First of all — yay for the boy situation! Fingers crossed that good things ensue. And the cupcakes are gorgeous! Tea in baked goods is incredible, and with that honey frosting on top…mmm!

  62. Lori says:

    Nothing like a cupcake for celebration, or gossip. Whatever the case may be. These look so good!

  63. I’ve seen tea in ice-cream but never in cupcakes—interesting idea.

  64. the honey in the frosting and the chai in the batter sounds incredible! i want one!!

  65. Shannon says:

    i was wondering how the date went!! 🙂 this frosting does sound incredible… in a dangerous kind of way. can i have a cupcake?

  66. I’m not a huge chamomile fan either, so I love your chai variation. Frosting on tea? Oh, yes please! 🙂

  67. the honey frosting sounds incredible! just sweet enough!

  68. Deborah says:

    I love to hear of a good date!! 🙂 I’m not a tea drinker, but I’m thinking I need to jump on board because these look awesome!

  69. Rachel says:

    You’re hilarious.
    What a cupcake, oh boy. I’m starting to like chai better in dessert form than bevarage form.

  70. teresa says:

    sounds like a good date! and i remember how important it was to follow up with the girlfriends afterwards, sometimes that was funner than the date!

    i LOVE chai tea, i have to make these cupcakes. if there’s anything better than drinking tea, it’s eating it!

  71. Ah, post date gossip sessions. Love those. And these cupcakes! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Joy’s cookbook.

  72. Carolyn Jung says:

    Any gal-pal gathering is reason enough for cupcakes! LOL
    What a beguiling flavor these must have, too, from the tea.

  73. kankana says:

    cupcake with chai is absolutely new to me and it looks lovely.

  74. Anonymous says:

    i just made these and they are incredible!!!! The frosting is a little runny so i popped it in the freezer. Next time, I may use it to fill the cupcakes. These are light and wonderful 🙂 I used a vanilla chai as well as a double spiced chai.

  75. I love chai mixtures and whenever the tea shop around the corner runs out, I create my own concoction from my favourite Indian spices… delish. Great cupcakes Joanne!

  76. Miranda says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  77. Miranda says:

    I totally get having the dish washing soap nearby. I kept licking the bowl – until I threw the soap in. Sometimes, you just have to.

  78. Yummy cupcake and even though I never had one or even heard of this flavor, it sounds amazing! I would love to order a batch from you. Can you ship me a dozen?

  79. What a date!! I’d definitely celebrate with these cupcakes :). PS- How cool you got the Joy the Baker Cookbook!

  80. Although I actually enjoy chamomile, while I was baking these I kept thinking about chai. That will be round 2. 😉

  81. HOORAY HOORAY for a good, no-fleeing date!! 🙂 Yippee! 🙂 Definitely worth indulging in a chin-wag AND something decadent. 🙂

  82. JasmyneTea says:

    I love cooking with tea leaves, it works really well with chiffon cake 🙂
    Congratulations on a successful date!

  83. Now, he’s a real winner if he eats cupcakes AND runs.

  84. Erica says:

    Yours look amazing, Joanne!I followed Joy’s recipe and they were delicious! I will try yours next time!

  85. Chai sound awesome! There are so many ways I would like to try these cakes and suspect I will with time.
    Great post!!

  86. Hurray for great dates! 🙂 I love the sound of these cupcakes and love tea in baking.

  87. grace says:

    glad you had a successful date and an even more successful chai-involved baking experience. 🙂

  88. Natalie says:

    eeeek! yay to the date! i hope things continue to go well 🙂

  89. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, These looks sooo delicious!! Blessings, Catherine xo

  90. What a unique and beautiful cupcake…they look fantastic!

  91. Tessa says:

    Oh my, the dish soap is imperative if I have any “leftover” frosting. Talk about a train-wreck waiting to happen 🙂

    This is an interesting take on cupcakes. One I’m sure I never would have thought of myself, but I love chai tea!

  92. […] The cake was adapted from Sweet Revelations Mocha Cupcakes and the frosting was from Eats Well With Others. […]

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