Culinary Adventures: Chinese Five Spice Cupcakes

Chinese five spice cupcakes with ginger frosting: A fun Eastern twist on the classic carrot cake, perfect for Chinese New Year.

Some friends of ours throw an annual Chinese New Year party every year, complete with all kinds of dumplings and delicious Chinese food. I wanted to bring something unique to add to the buffet table, and after a little internet searching came up with this Chinese five spice cupcakes recipe from SavorySpiceShop.com. It basically takes the classic carrot cake recipe and adds the twist of Chinese five spice and crushed pineapple. The pineapple didn’t add a strong flavor, but gave it a subtle tangy sweetness that complimented the five spice very well.

Ingredients:

  • For cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. Chinese five spice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3 x eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (about 3-4 medium sized carrots)

**For the shredded carrots I took the easy route and used a bag of julienned carrots and chopped them up into smaller pieces. You don’t want the carrot shreds to be too large, otherwise they may not cook all the way through.

Directions:

For cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and Chinese five spice. In another large bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, crushed pineapple, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and carrots. Then slowly add the flour mixture and beat with an electric hand mixer until just combined, about 2 min. Fill the muffin cups ¾ full with batter. Bake until the Chinese five spice cupcakes are set, about 20 to 22 min. When they can be handled safely, remove them from the muffin tins and let cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Chinese five spice cupcakes
Chinese five spice cupcakes
Chinese five spice cupcakes
Chinese five spice cupcakes
  • For frosting:

  • 1 x 8oz packet cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger (see my note below)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

**I used the ground ginger as the recipe stated, and found that I couldn’t taste it at all after it was blended in. I added about a tablespoon or so of pureed ginger (found in the refrigerated produce area next to the fresh herbs–it comes in a tube) and it really made the frosting perfect.

For frosting: In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and ground ginger. Blend the ingredients with an electric hand mixer until a creamy consistency is reached, while slowly adding the powdered sugar.

I piped the frosting onto the Chinese five spice cupcakes using a large decorating tip, and topped them with red sugar sprinkles and a fortune cookie. The fortune cookies looked and tasted great, but towards the end of the evening they began to absorb the moisture from the frosting and lost their crispness.

Chinese five spice cupcakes
Chinese five spice cupcakes
Chinese five spice cupcakes
Chinese five spice cupcakes

 

Overall I think this Chinese five spice cupcakes recipe is a keeper. Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year

 

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