Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Frosting are THE holiday party treat. Complete with white chocolate pretzel Christmas trees decked with shiny sprinkles, these cupcakes are sure to be a hit. 

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Frosting // Feast + West

In honor of the holidays this weekend, I thought I’d share one last recipe from the Bright Blog Bash!

These Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Frosting were my favorite thing I made for the party. Probably because I just love those pretzel trees so much.

I spied something similar on Pinterest from the blog Just A Taste when Katie and I were planning the party, and I knew I had to make my own version. Mine are white chocolate with sparkly sprinkles I bought in South Africa this spring. Obsessed.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Frosting // Feast + West

Don’t these just make you so happy?! Okay, I’ll stop gushing and talk about the cupcakes themselves.

This vanilla bean cupcake is just a bit more vanilla-y than your regular vanilla cake. You could totally use a cake mix. (I am not above a cake mix when I’m in a pinch. Promise.) You could scrape in a vanilla bean if you have one, or you could just use this homemade vanilla sugar. (I like to keep it on hand in my kitchen and give it for gifts!)

The frosting is a basic buttercream with the added joy of chai spaces. (Am I obsessed with chai right now? Yes, yes I am. There’s the Apple Pie Chai Sparkler we made for the Bright Blog Bash, and the Molasses Chai Cookies I made recently. And of course my favorite Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls — which might make an appearance on Christmas morning.)

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Frosting // Feast + West

I hope you have enjoyed Katie’s and my sneak peeks into the Bright Blog Bash! A huge thanks to our sponsors, Vivid Interiors and Sara Logan Photography for all their help and generosity! Here’s all of our posts in one place in case you missed one of our recipes or DIYs!

  • Katie’s Bright Blog Bash Recap (Twin Stripe)
  • Susannah’s Bright Blog Bash Recap (Feast + West)
  • Grace’s Bright Blog Bash Recap (Think Fruitful)
  • Apple Pie Chai Sparkler (Twin Stripe)
  • Maple Leaf Cocktail (Feast + West)
  • Marbled Holiday Ornaments (Twin Stripe)

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Frosting // Feast + West

I’ll be back tomorrow with a favorite winter cocktail! Enjoy your holiday break. I hope it is cupcake-filled! // susannah 

P.S. Our giveaway for an extra BBB swag bag an $50 Amazon gift card is live until Dec. 31! Don’t miss out.

(Photos // Sara Logan Photography)

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Frosting // Feast + West

P.P.S. It is always the height of compliments when someone Instagrams your recipe at a party! Thanks Alisha!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Frosting // Feast + West

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Chai-spiced frosting makes these vanilla bean cupcakes over-the-top delicious.
5 from 1 vote
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For the cupcakes

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup vanilla sugar
  • 4 eggs

For the frosting

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ cup milk

For the white chocolate trees

  • 24 + pretzel sticks
  • 8 oz. white chocolate
  • sprinkles


  • Make the cupcakes. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Prepare regular-sized cupcake tins with paper liners. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar gradually, then cream the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  • Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake cups. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
  • Cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Make the frosting.
  • In a large bowl, beat the powdered sugar, butter, salt and spices together. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth. Frost the cupcakes.
  • Make the trees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. (Be careful — white chocolate burns ever-so-quickly!) Dip the pretzel sticks in white chocolate leaving 1/2 inch of pretzel at the bottom. Place the pretzels 4 inches apart on the lined baking sheet.
  • Fill a piping bag with the remaining white chocolate. Use a small round tip. Pipe the white chocolate in a zig-zag pattern perpendicularly across the pretzels, increasing in size from the top to the bottom of the white chocolate-covering. Add sprinkles. Place baking sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the chocolate harden. Place on top of cupcakes.


Recipe based on this one by Betty Crocker

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nutrition information

Yield: 24 cupcakes

amount per serving:

Serving: 1cupcake Calories: 338kcal Carbohydrates: 42g Protein: 4g Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 11g Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 70mg Sodium: 161mg Sugar: 30g
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  1. Madison | A Joyfully Mad Kitchen says

    Okay, I truthfully don’t know if I had one of these at the Blog Bash, but if I didn’t I am SO sad. I need to make these ASAP. It’s acceptable to make your own birthday cupcakes, right? Cause I’m going to.

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