Let’s Be Pen Pals

Good morning sweet friends. Are you enjoying this much needed rain and cooler days in your neck of the woods? Our family ventured on a road trip to Sydney this week, where the blustery winds and heavy rains have apparently settled in for a while. Not to be daunted, we braved the Manly ferry into the city today which was quite an adventure, full of wild seas, traumatised children and spew buckets, but I will tell that story next week!

It’s quite intense trying to go on holidays with five children. In the past, we have obviously had up to eight kids on our travels. Nothing is straight forward, from spending weeks and weeks finding accommodation large enough that doesn’t cost the earth, to hunting down a car park anywhere remotely near where we want to be that fits our huge commuter bus. It all takes a big scoop of creative thinking, patience, deep breathing and more patience. Obviously I was handed all of those skills in the instruction manual that came attached to my babies when they were born.

It’s great to get away though. Nothing like a change of scenery to clear the cobwebs, inspire fresh ideas and bring new perspective to life. I’m actually glad it’s raining and cold. It means we can avoid the beach and I have a better chance of getting my girls to an art gallery and museum or two. That’s if I can convince a certain six year old to ever step foot on another ferry ever again.

If you are house bound by the weather this weekend, or live in America where you are lucky enough to be revelling in Fall right now, then you will want to make these light and moist spicy pumpkin cupcakes infused with a hint of chai tea. Topped with a creamy caramel swiss meringue buttercream, they sure to compensate for the lack of sunshine.

Pumpkin Spice Chai Cupcakes

A light and spicy pumpkin cupcake infused with fragrant chai tea, topped with creamy caramel swiss meringue buttercream.
Keyword chai cupcakes, Cupcakes, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin spice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes


  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup chai tea
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups castor sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened and cubed
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup caramel store bought or home made


  • Pre heat oven to 180C
  • Line two muffin trays with 18 cupcake papers
  • Boil water for chai tea. In a saucepan, put 3/4 cup boiled water and chai tea (two bags or 2 tblesp loose tea leaves) onto low heat. Simmer for a couple of minutes then turn heat off. Leave to infuse while you make the cupcake mix.
  • In a medium bowl, using a hand whisk, mix together eggs, oil, vanilla and sour cream.
  • Add grated pumpkin. Stir carefully until well combined.
  • Strain tea leaves or remove tea bags and add liquid (tea) to mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, bicarb soda. Whisk until well combined.
  • Add both brown and castor sugars. Whisk well.
  • Add spices and whisk together until well combined.
  • Carefully pour wet mixture into dry mix and stir together with a spatula until well combined.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, pour batter into cupcake liners until each is 2/3 full.
  • Bake in moderate oven until firm to touch and slightly brown on top. Test with a skewer. You may need to bake for up to 25 minutes. Make sure they are well cooked.

Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Hand whisk until well combined.Put bowl onto a small saucepan filled with an inch of water. This creates a double boiler. 
  • Whisk vigorously for a minute, then leave mixture to simmer for up to ten minutes or until sugar is dissolved. You can check this by running a stream of the mixture between your fingers. If there are no grains, it is ready. Be careful not to burn yourself, but it shouldn't be too hot to touch. 
  • Remove mixing bowl. Place bowl onto electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment whisk mixture on high until stiff peaks of meringue is formed, about five minutes. 
  • Turn mixer off and change to paddle attachment.
  • Turn mixer onto the lowest speed and add pieces of soft butter, one at a time until all butter is mixed in. 
  • Leave the mixture to do it's thing, which can take up to 15 minutes. It may look soupy, then curdled like scrambled eggs, but this is normal. It should still come together beautifully.
  • Add caramel to taste, approx 1/2 cup. Pipe onto cupcakes.

Big sister Alice has offered to baby sit all of the youngsters today so hubby and I can venture forth into the unknown for some time out together. Sounds like a good plan (bless her). I am keen to take my camera and do some street photography and we might even get to a nice cafe and the art gallery…ahhh how good is that!? Make sure you drop by next week to see my take on Sydney at it’s wild and blustery best. xx

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