Masala Chai Carrot Cupcakes

Sometimes carrot cake gets a bit boring. Enter masala chai, and your carrot cake takes on a gentle spice and a hint of bitter from the black tea. #carrotcake #cupcakes #creamcheesefrosting #chai

i’m thoroughly a tea person, and this academic year has served to make this distinction even stronger. i blame (credit? both?) my friend, whose townhouse i spend a lot of time in. partly because it’s only a 10 minute walk from campus, mostly because she’s not willing to study any place besides on the couch in her townhouse. she’s the kind of person who feeds anyone who comes through her door, no matter if she’s fed them countless other times. in the afternoons, this means tea and some sort of sugary junk. i’ve been into tea time since having it on a cruise 10ish years ago, so i never put up a fight.

she typically makes green tea or masala chai, unsweetened because you don’t need the sugar when you’re having tea with cookies or cake or whatever. (in general, i prefer hot tea unsweetened. cold is the complete opposite). green tea is obviously easier to brew than combining toasted spices with murky black tea and creamy milk, but i can’t help but prefer the latter.

these masala chai carrot cupcakes bring forth the same warm and cozy afternoon vibes that a cup of tea provide. i probably won’t ever make these for her (these are way too intense for college baking lol), but i will continue to fuel her 3pm sweet tooth with homemade banana bread (her favorite) and blondies (my favorite).

but anyways, back to the masala chai carrot cupcakes. they’re super moist, and jam-packed with plump raisins (re: the age old raisin debate, you can leave them out, but i implore you to suck it up and use them). they’re flecked with shreds of carrots, and the spices and tea infuses everything without being that person whose perfume you can smell from a room away.ย the cream cheese frosting (choose your adventure: flavor it with pistachio or vanilla or something else altogether) is on the softer side, so you’re not going to be able to make a scran line worthy beehive of it. but it doesn’t slide off the cupcakes in a puddle (aka it’s functional), and it’s so creamy that it doesn’t really matter.

These masala chai carrot cupcakes are finished with swirls of cream cheese frosting, because no carrot cake is complete with out it. #carrotcake #cupcakes #creamcheesefrosting #chai

1 year ago: banana cake with banana nutella swirl buttercream, spaghetti squash lasagna with scallion gremolata
2 years ago: hong kong style dan tats (egg tarts), caramel banana upside down cake
3 years ago: winter squash soup with curry and coconut milk, rant thursday #1
4 years ago: sakamoto namul (marinated bean sprouts), mediterranean baked chicken

Masala Chai Carrot Cupcakes
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
These masala chai carrot cupcakes have feature the traditional carrot cupcakes, but flavored with a hint of black tea and spices for an even more flavorful carrot cake.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Indian
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 378 kcal
Masala Chai Carrot Cupcakes
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 4 T darjeeling/assam tea Indian black tea
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lb carrots peeled and shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raisins
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 12 oz full fat cream cheese room temperature
  • 6 T unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 T full fat sour cream room temperature
  • 1 tsp pistachio extract or vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Masala Chai Carrot Cupcakes
  1. Pour the boiling water over the tea and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the tea, and discard the tea leaves.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and tea until combined. Add the oil and whiskย until the mixture is completely emulsified.
  4. Fold in the carrots until combined, thenย fold in the flour until no visible specks of flour can be seen. Quickly fold in the raisins.
  5. Transfer the batter to 24 lined cupcake wells and bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes. The cupcakes should be golden brown and a toothpick will come out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center of a cupcake. Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Frost the cooled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Cream the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, extract and salt until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, then beat until combined.
Recipe Notes

Adapted slightly from A Brown Table.

You can make the cupcake batter in a food processor. Click through to the link above and follow the instructions there.

These masala chai carrot cupcakes are studded with plenty of carrots and raisins. #carrotcake #cupcakes #creamcheesefrosting #chai

more cake

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apple cake with almond crumb topping

The chocolate glaze shines gloriously on these chocolate hi hat cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream. #peanutbutter #chocolate #cupcakes #buttercream

chocolate hi hat cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream

These masala chai carrot cupcakes take the cozy, comforting flavors of spiced chai, and infuses them into carrot cake. And don't worry, there's still cream cheese frosting! #carrotcake #cupcakes #creamcheesefrosting #chai

58 Replies to “Masala Chai Carrot Cupcakes”

  1. OMGosh! These beauties look amazing! Love the awesome flavor combos and I would love to add some of that pistachio extract in these!! YUM!

    1. thanks, kim! actually haven’t used pistachio extract in these, but they’re so good with vanilla, i can only imagine how tasty they’d be with pistachio (:

  2. These cupcakes look and sound perfect for tea time. I need someone to make these for me. Ha! Thanks for the recipe, Heather!

    1. thanks, laura! (:

  3. I got super excited when I saw this post, Heather! LOVE carrot cake and LOVE this twist you’ve put on the classic. So good – perfect for spring!

    1. aw, thanks katherine!! not my idea at all, but i wish it was (; it’s from nik sharma, whose blog is linked in the notes of the recipe! (this plug-in makes the notes so small which is annoying, but it’s supposed to be super seo-friendly. oh whale).

  4. Ohhh that sounds so good Heather! I love carrot cake and chai…. gotta try this combo for my next cupcakes! What a great idea!

    1. thanks, michelle! (:

  5. Wow it’s like a Chai Latte married a Carrot Cake! Such a beautiful union ๐Ÿ™‚ They look splendid!

    1. exactly! i’d like to be invited to that wedding (;

  6. I love the addition of black tea and spices to this cupcake!! Definitely my kind of carrot cake! I love blondies too and your afternoon tea and snack time sounds wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. it’s so good (: and maybe chai blondies are next?? that’s making my mouth water, mmm.

  7. Carrot cake is definitely my weakness, and you’ve definitely taken these cupcakes up a notch with the spices and tea! Would love one with my cup of coffee right now!

    1. ahh yes! i need my coffee very sweet and milky, unless there’s something sweet like these cupcakes alongside it (;

  8. Great flavor profile on these babyโ€™s!

    1. thanks, patrick! (:

  9. Love the sound of chai spices in carrot cake!

    1. thanks, caroline! (:

  10. Though we drink chai every single day, I’ve never, ever made baked goods with it:) This cupcake hits all the right notes!!!!

    1. oooh then you’ll probably love chai-flavored baked goods! interested to see what you come up with in the future (;

  11. This cupcake sounds incredible, Heather! It’s a fantastic twist on carrot cupcakes and it has great flavor combination. It sounds like a hug in cupcake form.

    1. thanks, thao! definitely a cupcake hug (:

    1. thanks, gingi! (:

  12. Love the combination of spices for your masala ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. thanks, tandy! i got a masala chai from philz (a popular coffee chain in northern california), and they put mint in theirs. it was surprising, and i don’t think i’m a fan of fresh mint in my chai haha.

  13. These tea-infused cupcakes looks fantastic. I’m totally on board with the addition of raisins. They work so well with the carrots and spices.

    1. thanks, marie! i don’t really care about eating raisins plain, but when they’re plump and studded in baked goods? YES, PLEASE.

  14. These cupcakes look so lovely. Loving the sweet topping!!!

    1. thanks, radi! (:

  15. I am also a tea person!
    These sounds to die for as I LOVE Masala chai!
    Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. i feel like tea is so much more nuanced than coffee (but biased, bc i am a tea person, haha). thanks for stopping by, kimberly!

  16. The cake Iโ€™m sure tastes amazing with all the great flavors but, I cannot get over the mystical pictures here. Simply beautiful.
    Great one my friend.

    1. mystical looking cupcakes?! i must be doing something right (; thanks, jack!

  17. I’m a tea person as well and I love the idea of black tea in carrot cake. Genius! I love the chai spices you chose, since carrot cake lends well to strong spices. And cream cheese frosting… Mmmmm! Since I’m gluten-free, I’ll have to try this with GF baking mix in place of the AP flour. I’ll let you know how it turns out! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. thanks! and ooh yes, please do! looking forward to hearing how it works with gluten free flours instead (:

  18. Iโ€™m not a big raisin lover but for me, carrot cake just isnโ€™t right without them. The chai spices are a brilliant touch!

    1. i feel you! not a big raisin person (i was the kid who gave away all of her boxes of raisins) for just snacking, but i do like them in baked goods (:

  19. delicious delicious and GORGEOUS ๐Ÿ™‚ i love the combo you used here carrots along with chai = epic <3 this recipe made my day….

    1. thanks, priya! (:

  20. Oh dear ! Keeper definitely ! Thank you so much !

    1. thanks! it’s definitely a keeper (:

  21. These carrot cups are adorable, and I love carrot cake, so spicy so sweet ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course Iโ€™ve never hard Masala Chai Carrot Cake but now I need to try it. I love friends that always feed me, I have a few and they are the best. These would be perfect with a nice cup of tea. Mmmmm cream cheese frosting ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. friends that feed you are the best (; food is my love language, so i’d pick food over flowers or balloons any day!

  22. I love carrot cake/cupcakes, ect but I’ve never combined them with chai or masala flavors. I can’t WAIT to try these cupcakes because I LOVE chai, and ginger, and carrots, and masala, and… well I guess I love your ENTIRE ingredient list! I’m pinning the crap out of this ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. haha then i think you’d love these (;

  23. Your friend is sweet for being a welcoming host! I’ve never had masala chai tea before but it’s definitely something I would try out. Though, I love green tea, haha. The masala chai carrot cupcake looks delicious! Look at you being an awesome baker ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. i love green tea too! (green tea and matcha, for that matter, haha). i’m trying to imagine a matcha or green tea carrot cake, and i’m not sure if i’m intrigued or weirded out. i think matcha could work because it’s a pretty strong flavor, but i feel like green tea would just get overpowered.

  24. Those look so perfect!!!! And I bet they smelled absolutely phenomenal while baking!! I love that you added actual TEA to the mix!

    1. thanks! and yes, the cupcakes smell amazing when they’re being baked :3 (although i feel like butter + sugar + oven is just a recipe for an awesome smelling kitchen. so long as nothing burns haha).

  25. I can imagine the smell that must have been coming from your kitchen, I bet it was so good ๐Ÿ˜€ love carrot cake in all its forms so I know I would love these spicy little beauties.

    1. yes! it’s best when you leave the kitchen, forget that you’re baking for a second, walk back in, and then get hit with the smell of baking cake. mmmmm.

  26. These cupcakes would be a hit with my family..Everything about these is amazing.. the masala chai and the pistachio extract both are very Indian kind of flavors!! Lovely recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. thanks, deepika! (:

  27. Whoa east meets west! I love how this has a combination of both carrot cake but then you went beyoooooooooond just carrot cake spice! Awesooooooooooome hahaha! I like the way you think!

    1. thanks, joyce!! i feel like the term “asian fusion” has negative connotations but the flavors are always so tasty :3

  28. OMG, the combo of chai + carrot sounds absolutely heavenly! I am a sucker for both carrot cake and tea of all kinds, so I’m thinking these need to be added to my baking to-do list ๐Ÿ˜€ Beautiful pics btw!

    1. aw thanks shannon! hope you get to try them out soon (:

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