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
  • 1⁄3 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1⁄2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 tsp. ground cardamom, divided
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger, divided
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1⁄8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 4 black tea bags
  • 1 cup almond milk, warmed to 110°F
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Spectrum Vegetable Shortening
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 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, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1⁄2 teaspoon 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 2⁄3 full.
  • Bake for 25 to 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.
  • In a medium bowl, cut shortening into confectioners’ sugar with a pastry blender. Stir in nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cardamom, and 1 teaspoon ginger 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.