Chai Cupcakes

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The coziest chai cupcakes full of warm spices, ultra soft fluffy texture, and topped with rich chai spiced “buttercream”. Vegan, gluten-free, paleo!

Posting a recipe in the middle of the month of October that doesn’t call for apples OR pumpkin feels almost like a feat, so not to brag or anything but…

I can’t truthfully say I didn’t consider (okay okay, I tested a batch) working pumpkin into the ingredient list too, but in the end I decided to skip it. Still very abundant in autumnal vibes, still very full of warm spices, still perfect for cozy baking, still best paired with a warm mug beverage. Chai Cupcakes are really the only baked good we should be pausing pumpkin for at a time like this.

And best of all I got to share the cupcake creation process with my sweet and talented friend Lisa from Okonomi Kitchen, so these have been tested and double tested and we can both vouch for their fluffy frosted chai spiced magnificence. (P.S. if you like my recipes, you will LOVE her archives too!)

Chai Cupcake Ingredients

  • Flours. We are using a mix of cassava and coconut flours to keep these cupcakes grain-free. Cassava is sticky, almost gluten-like, and coconut flour is dry and crumbly so together they create the perfect fluffy texture and defined crumb.
  • Sweeteners. Call these cupcakes high maintenance, but we are using two sweeteners––coconut sugar and maple syrup. It makes the flavor richer and the cupcakes more moist, so its worth being a little extra I think.
  • Almond butter. Unlike my vanilla cupcake recipe, we wanted to keep this one oil-free so I swapped the coconut oil for almond butter. Very thin/runny is best. And you can use coconut butter or oil instead.
  • Spices. Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves to create that delicious chai blend.

Chai Frosting

Yup that’s right, chai on chai. For the vegan chai “buttercream” we are using…

  • Raw cashews. Soaked overnight, rinsed, and drained.
  • Coconut cream. Add this slowly, as needed to blend to keep the frosting as thick as possible.
  • Coconut butter or oil. Personally I used oil because that’s what I had on hand.
  • Powdered sugar or maple syrup. Its not super sweet, but just sweet enough. Powdered sugar will keep it thicker, but maple syrup is delicious here too.
  • Spices. Same blend as in the cupcakes, no subtle barely chai flavor here.
  • Vanilla. Always essential in chai things if you ask me.
  • Lemon juice + salt. To perfectly balance the sweetness.

If you use the frosting the day of blending, it will be more thin and not pile-on-ridiculously-high-able. So if you aren’t a greedy frosting person, this option will be perfect. But if you want a really thick even pipe-able frosting––make it the day before, chill overnight, and then soft for just 10-15 minutes before using. Either way they will need to be refrigerated after frosting.

More Fall Cupcakes to Try

  • Chocolate Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes
  • Chai Spiced Quick Bread (reader favorite!)
  • Sweet Potato Blondies


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Chai Cupcakes

4.5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Natalie
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 23
  • Total Time: 3 hours 23 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: cupcakes
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: american

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The coziest chai cupcakes full of warm spices, ultra soft fluffy texture, and topped with rich chai spiced “buttercream”. Vegan, gluten-free, paleo!




  • 1/3 cup (105g) maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup (80g) coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180g) almond milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (125g) runny almond butter (or coconut butter or oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (140g) cassava flour
  • 3 tbsp (23g) coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves


  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2  tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • a small pinch of black pepper
  • 200g raw cashews (about 1 3/4 cup), soaked at least 3 hours
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream + 2 tbsp (as needed)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp coconut butter or coconut oil
  • 56 tbsp powdered sugar OR 2-3 tbsp maple syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Combine maple syrup, coconut sugar, almond milk, apple cider vinegar, almond butter, and vanilla. Melt in the microwave or stovetop, whisking until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and add dry ingredients. Whisk to combine.
  4. Scoop into a cupcake pan lined with paper liners, filling each 3/4 of the way (makes 8).
  5. Bake 23-25 minutes at 350ºF.
  6. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the frosting, drained soaked cashews and add to a blender along with remaining ingredients. Blend on high until very smooth, adding more coconut cream if needed. Transfer to a container and chill for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight for a thicker, pipe-able frosting).
  8. Frost cooled cupcakes and enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 483
  • Sugar: 24g
  • Sodium: 284mg
  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 8g

Keywords: cake, fall, spiced, cinnamon, ginger, latte, egg free, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, healthy, frosting, buttercream

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