Gluten-Free Chai Cupcakes with Nutmeg Cardamom Frosting

These heavily spiced cupcakes are wonderful during the fall, served with a hot cup of coffee or tea. They are vegan and gluten-free.

Serves: 12Hands-on: 20 minutesTotal: 1 hourDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 12


  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • ⅓ cup arrowroot starch
  • ½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup almond milk, warmed to 110°F
  • 4 black tea bags
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Spectrum Vegetable Shortening
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 5 Tbsp. ice water


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sorghum flour, arrowroot starch, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Add the tea bags to warm almond milk and steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the tea-steeped milk, oil, applesauce, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth. Fill the muffin tins ⅔ full.
  • Bake for 25–30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean and the tops are golden-brown. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then turn out cupcakes onto wire racks to cool completely.
  • For the frosting: In a medium bowl, cut shortening into confectioners’ sugar with a pastry blender. Stir in spices. (For a less-spicy frosting, use only ½ teaspoon of each spice) Mixture will be crumbly. Thin the frosting with ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until thick and creamy.
  • Pipe or spread frosting onto each cupcake.