Kid-friendly Orange Cardamom Chai Cupcakes + Chai Tea Glaze + Orange Chai Cream Soda Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Orange Cardamom Chai Cupcakes + Chai Tea Glaze + Orange Chai Cream Soda

Family Meal Plan: Orange Cardamom Chai Cupcakes + Chai Tea Glaze + Orange Chai Cream Soda

Orange Cardamom Chai Cupcakes + Chai Tea Glaze + Orange Chai Cream Soda

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.com
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
20 minutes
makes
6-12 servings

Fun Food Story

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Orange Cardamom Chai Cupcakes

I have a thing for Indian chai spices. Something about that combination of rich, aromatic spices warms me up and calms me down. My daughters have also been on a baking kick lately—so I thought we would combine chai tea and cupcakes for this Sticky Fingers Cooking recipe!

Did you know that orange is the world's favorite flavor after chocolate and vanilla? And oranges have loads of nutrition: The fruit is low in calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, is rich in a dietary fiber called pectin, and is an excellent source of vitamin C. I used the base from an orange cupcake recipe, but I infused the batter with chai spices for this one. The intoxicating aroma of the baking cupcakes immediately made me fall head over heels for this recipe. My daughters could not agree more. We double-dipped them in a sweet, spicy chai glaze for good measure and added a fun, healthy twist on orange cream soda to round it all out. So whether you're craving something sweet or a chai tea latte, I'm pretty sure I've got you covered! "Svaadisht!" (Delicious! in Hindi.)

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • FRESH
  • 2 oranges
  • DAIRY AND EGGS
  • 1/2 C room-temperature butter **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/4 C whole milk **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 large eggs **(see allergy subs below)**
  • PANTRY
  • 1 decaf chai tea bag
  • 2 C all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C sugar or 8 stevia packs (stevia option for Orange Chai Cream Soda)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1 liter sparkling water
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • 1 C warm water
  • paper cupcake liners
  • 1 ziplock bag
  • ice

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • beat :

    to vigorously mix ingredients with a whisk, spoon, fork, or mixer.

  • cream :

    to mix foods together until they become a smooth, uniform blend, like butter and sugar.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • snip :

    to use scissors to cut something with quick, sharp strokes.

  • squeeze :

    to firmly press or twist a food with fingers, hands, or a device to remove its liquid, like shredded potatoes, frozen and thawed spinach, or tofu.

  • steep :

    to soak a food, like tea, in water or other liquid so as to bring out its flavor.

  • zest :

    to scrape off the outer colored part of a citrus fruit's rind (skin or peel) using a metal tool with small sharp blades, such as a zester, microplane, or the small holes of a grater (avoid the "pith," the white, spongy lining of the rind that can be bitter).

Equipment Checklist

  • Ziplock bag
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Kid or kitchen scissors
  • Oven
  • Muffin pan
  • Paper cupcake liners
  • Kettle or saucepan (to heat water)
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Handheld electric mixer
  • Zester (or grater with small zesting plate/side)
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
  • Toothpicks
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Pitcher
  • Wooden spoon
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Ingredients

Orange Cardamom Chai Cupcakes

  • 1 decaf chai tea bag
  • 1 C warm water
  • 2 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 C room-temperature butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance)**
  • 1 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 2 ripe mashed bananas)**
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 1/4 C milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 orange, washed, for zest + 1/4 C orange juice

Chai Tea Glaze

  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 T brewed decaf chai tea

Orange Chai Cream Soda

  • 1 orange, washed
  • 1/4 C sugar or 8 stevia packs
  • 1 liter sparkling water
  • 2 T brewed decaf chai tea
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • ice

Food Allergen Substitutions

Orange Cardamom Chai Cupcakes

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour. Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor. 
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free butter and dairy-free milk.
  • Egg: For 2 eggs, substitute 2 ripe mashed bananas.

Orange Chai Cream Soda

Gluten/Wheat: Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor. 

Instructions

Orange Cardamom Chai Cupcakes

1.
steep + preheat

Prepare chai tea with 1 decaf chai tea bag and 1 cup of boiling water. Set it to the side to steep for up to 15 minutes and let cool to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 350 F and have kids line your muffin pan with paper liners.

2.
whisk + cream + beat

In a medium bowl, have kids whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom. In a large bowl, cream together **1/2 cup of room-temperature butter and 1 1/4 cups of sugar** until fluffy and light. Beat in 2 eggs (or mashed bananas) one at a time, followed by 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Add in 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup of chai tea. (If you are also making Chai Tea Glaze and Orange Chai Cream Soda (see recipes) as part of a meal plan, reserve 3 to 4 tablespoons from the remaining 1/2 cup.)

3.
wash + zest + juice + mix + fill

Have kids wash, dry, and zest the peel of 1 orange into the batter, then squeeze 1/4 cup of orange juice into the batter. Have the kids mix the batter only until all the ingredients are combined, and no streaks of flour remain. Then have kids fill the pre-lined muffin pan wells with the batter until about 3/4 full.

4.
bake + cool

Bake in a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 F, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let your cupcakes cool completely before adding glaze or frosting.

Chai Tea Glaze

1.
measure + smoosh

Kids get to measure 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons of brewed decaf chai tea into a ziplock bag and smoosh all around until a glaze forms.

2.
snip + squeeze

Next, snip the corner of the bag and squeeze the glaze onto cupcakes, like Outrageous Orange Cardamom Chai Cupcakes (see recipe).

Orange Chai Cream Soda

1.
wash + chop

Have kids wash and chop up 1 orange (rind and all) into very small pieces and add to your pitcher.

2.
measure + stir

Have kids measure and stir in 1/4 cup sugar, 1 liter sparkling water, 2 tablespoons brewed decaf chai tea, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ice.

Surprise Ingredient: Orange!

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Photo by Mariia Korneeva/Shutterstock.com

Hi!  I'm Orange!

“I'm both sweet and tart, and I'm best when I'm very juicy. Be careful when you peel my skin because my juice might squirt you in the eye! I make a refreshing breakfast juice and a tasty, nutritious snack. Since I'm a navel orange, my orange inside matches my orange outside, but my cousin, who's a blood orange, has orange skin and a dark red interior."

History & Etymology

  • The sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) is a citrus fruit and part of the Rutaceae family, also known as the rue or citrus family. It is a hybrid, a cross between the mandarin orange, a small citrus fruit, and the pomelo, the largest of the citrus fruits, similar in flavor to a grapefruit. 
  • Sweet oranges have been grown since ancient times, coming from the region of Southern China, Northeast India, and Myanmar. Chinese literature from 314 BCE mentions them.
  • Christopher Columbus may have planted orange trees in the New World on his second voyage in 1493.
  • Because oranges do not spoil quickly and are full of vitamin C, sailors planted orange and other citrus trees along trade routes to prevent scurvy, which develops from a deficiency of vitamin C.
  • The navel orange is a variety that gets its name from the belly-button formation opposite the stem end. A 1917 USDA study reports that the navel orange may have developed from a mutation of a single orange in Brazil in the early 1800s. Another theory, though, is that it came from a similarly mutated Portuguese orange around the same time. The navel that forms is actually a second orange that begins to develop in the peel of the primary fruit. 
  • Blood oranges are a colorful variety with deep red or crimson flesh. They have been grown in the region of the southern Mediterranean since the 18th century, especially in Italy and Spain. The anthocyanins that cause the crimson color develop when the temperature is low at night. California has a Mediterranean-like climate, so that state grows the most blood oranges in the United States.
  • Valencia oranges are a hybrid developed by William Wolfskill, a man who was born in Kentucky and later became a Mexican citizen. Mexico still owned California when he received a land grant there. In addition to other crops, he grew Valencia oranges, named after the Spanish town known for its sweet oranges. These oranges have seeds and are grown primarily for their juice. 
  • Orange marmalade is a fruit preserve. Marmalades made with quince, lemon, and other fruit may have originated in ancient Rome. The first printed orange marmalade recipe was in a 1714 English cookbook. 
  • Brazil grows one-third of all the world's oranges. California and Florida are the largest producers of oranges in the United States.
  • Around 85 percent of all oranges produced are used for juice.
  • There are more than 400 varieties of oranges worldwide. Varieties are the result of mutations. 
  • The orange is Florida's official state fruit, orange juice its state beverage, and the orange blossom its state flower.
  • The word "orange" comes from late Middle English, from the Old French "orenge," from the Old Provençal "auranja," from the Arabic "nāranj," derived from the Persian "nārang," and based on "nāraṅga," the Sanskrit word for "orange tree," 

Anatomy

  • The orange tree is a citrus evergreen flowering plant. Its average height is 5 to 8 feet, but it can reach about 30 feet. They live 50 to 60 years.
  • Orange tree blossoms are white and have a wonderful fragrance. 
  • The fruit from citrus trees is called a hesperidium, a modified berry with a tough, leathery rind. Oranges have a bright orange outer rind covering the juicy, pulpy fruit. Lining the peel is the pith or white spongy tissue. Then there are the segments or carpels, typically ten of them, with many juice-filled vesicles or citrus kernels in each.
  • Oranges are seasonal citrus fruits. The flowers bloom in spring, and the fruit ripens in fall or winter. 
  • Can Oranges grow in Chicago or Colorado? No, because the ideal conditions for growing oranges are in subtropical areas with good amounts of sunshine yet moderate to warm temperatures (60 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Oranges are round to oval in shape, can be from 2 to 5 inches in diameter, and weigh 2 to 10 ounces.

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • When picking oranges from a tree, choose ones that smell sweet and are firm and heavy. Avoid ones that smell moldy. Color does not necessarily indicate ripeness. They will not ripen or get any sweeter once they have been harvested. 
  • When selecting oranges from the store, choose ones heavy for their size, indicating juiciness, and no soft spots on their firm, smooth rinds.
  • Store oranges at room temperature for about one week or in the fridge for four weeks. 
  • Peeled oranges can be eaten as a snack or added to salads, desserts, main dishes, sorbets, and drinks. 
  • Orange marmalade is made with every part of an orange except the seeds, although sometimes the pith is removed. The peel contains pectin, which helps the marmalade to set. The preferred type of orange to use is the Seville or bitter orange, which has more pectin. The fruit is boiled with sugar and water, and often the juice and zest of a lemon.
  • Orange zest is used to flavor dishes. Other uses of an orange peel include making fragrant oils for air freshening or cleaning and using the peels to repel insects and slugs.
  • Orange blossoms are highly fragrant and have long been used for weddings as cake decorations, part of bridal bouquets, and head wreaths. In addition, their essence is a component in some perfumes, and their petals can be used to make orange blossom water.

Nutrition

  • One orange is high in vitamin C—64 percent of the daily value! Vitamin C boosts immunity, lowers your disease risk, and aids in iron absorption and wound healing. 
  • Oranges also have a moderate amount of B-complex vitamins, especially thiamine (B1) and folate (B9). The B-complex vitamins help improve cell function, form red blood cells, and convert carbohydrates into energy.

 

Let's Learn About India!

Photo by Charu Chaturvedi on Unsplash
  • India is a country in South Asia and is officially called the Republic of India. It is the second-most populous country in the world and has the largest population of any democratic nation. 
  • Hindi and English are official languages, and there are 447 native languages spoken in India.
  • India's government includes a president, prime minister, and parliament. Twenty-eight states and eight union territories make up India's federal union. 
  • India's currency is the Indian "rupee." It is illegal for foreigners to take rupees out of India.
  • Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal's construction in 1632 for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
  • The anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday is celebrated on October 2. He is considered India's "Father of the Nation" and led the Indian people to independence from 89 years of British rule in 1947. Gandhi's peaceful protest movement inspired many people in other countries.
  • India's national symbols are the lotus flower, the Bengal tiger, and the peacock.
  • Some of the world's highest mountains are in India, including Kanchenjunga, the third tallest at 28,169 feet. 
  • The Bay of Bengal is a huge bay bordering the southeastern part of India and is home to the world's largest mangrove forest. Here, tigers swim in the same waters as dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and saltwater crocodiles. 
  • The snow leopard, the Indian rhinoceros, the Bengal tiger, and the Asian elephant are all animals of India. Globally, it is the only country that has both lions and tigers.
  • The most popular sport in India is cricket!
  • It is hot in India, so people there often wear loose clothes. Traditional clothing differs by area in India. Women may wear saris, long pieces of colorful cotton or silk draped over and around the body like a dress. Men may wear a dhoti, made of material wrapped around the hips and pulled through the legs, somewhat resembling loose pants, although they aren't seen in cities much anymore. Photos of Gandhi show him wearing dhotis.
  • Seventy percent of the world's spices come from India.
  • Staple foods in India include lentils, rice, bread, and spices. People living on the coast eat more fish and seafood. In other regions, they eat chicken, beef, and game meats. Many people throughout India are vegetarians. Common fruits and vegetables are mangoes, apples, oranges, pineapples, bananas, onions, okra, potatoes, spinach, and carrots.  
  • Curries are popular dishes in India and are made with a variety of vegetables, fish, meat, and fruits, and spices. 
  • When people greet each other in India, as a sign of respect, they bow, placing their hands together before their chest or face, and say "Namaste," which translates to "I bow to the divine in you."

What's It Like to Be a Kid in India?

  • Indian parents are encouraged to start their kids in preschool at 2½ to 3 years old. School is usually taught in a particular state's language, which could be Hindi, English, or another language. 
  • Kids often have their grandparents living with them in the family household.
  • Along with cricket, tennis, badminton, and chess, kids may play traditional Indian games like kabaddi or kho-kho, both played by teams, or kancha, a marble game played individually or with others.
  • Kids enjoy the Holi festival, which is a religious celebration that also heralds the arrival of spring. Celebrated in various ways throughout the country, most versions include the joyous spraying and throwing of colorful powders by festival participants at one another. 

The Yolk's On You

The chai is grumbling about how long the kettle takes to boil.

It finds the waiting very tea-dious.

The Yolk's On You

If at first you don’t like tea...

...chai, chai again.

The Yolk's On You

"Knock, knock!"

"Who’s there?"

"Chai."

"Chai who?" 

"Don’t be Chai (shy). Open the door and have some tea with me!"

That's Berry Funny

"Knock, knock!"

"Who's there?"

"Orange!"

"Orange who?" 

"Orange you going to answer the door?"

That's Berry Funny

What is the Alphabet’s favorite drink? 

T, of course!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the orange stop at the top of the hill?

Because it ran out of juice!

Lettuce Joke Around

Why do oranges wear suntan lotion? 

Because they peel.

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