chai cupcakes on a small plate half eaten

Wonderfully spiced Vegan Chai Cupcakes topped with a chai infused frosting. These fall-inspired paleo cupcakes made with cassava and coconut flour are easy to make and comes together in one bowl! (Gluten free + Oil free)

brown chai cupcake with chai frosting and a cinnamon stick on top, with a bite shot

Fall is all about the pumpkin, apples and spices. I knew I wanted to share each of these quintessential flavours in the form of some baked good this season.

Pumpkin bread? check. Apple cobbler? check. Dirty chai muffins? check. All that was left to fulfill my all of my autumnal dreams was the classic chai and what better way to make use it’s warming and delicious flavours than in cupcakes?

To make these extra special, I teamed up with my good friend and baking queen Natalie from Feasting on Fruit to develop these incredible warming cupcakes. If you like the style of my recipes and ingredients used, you’ll love her recipes! We have high standards and use similar baking ingredients so it was super easy for us to develop a recipe together.

vegan chai spiced cupcake ingredients in white bowls on a beige backdrop

Ingredients & Substitutions

Natalie and I settled on using cassava flour to keep these paleo and grain free. I know it might look like a huge list of ingredients but I promise, a lot of them overlap and most of them is actually the spices! If you have pre-made chai spice on hand already, we’re looking at about 12 ingredients for both components.

For the cupcakes:

  • Coconut sugar & maple syrup: both used to deepen the flavour and give moisture.
  • Cassava flour & coconut flour: A blend of these two grain-free flours creates the most perfect texture. Cassava flour is quite sticky so it’s balanced with a drier flour like coconut to bake up fluffy with a defined crumb. You can see how perfect these two flours work together in Natalie’s vanilla cupcakes and my paleo banana bread.
  • Almond butter: Make sure it’s very runny. Coconut butter or coconut oil will also work.
  • Almond milk
  • Apple cider vinegar + baking soda: Helps make these super fluffy!

For the frosting:

  • Cashews: Roasted or raw both work! Roasted will give product a tan-like frosting (my photos) whereas raw cashews will produce a more traditional white frosting (see Natalie’s photos).
  • Coconut cream: To help blend everything up and get that same creamy consistency of traditional frosting.
  • Lemon juice: Or apple cider vinegar for a bit of tang.
  • Vanilla: for a boost of flavour
  • Coconut butter or oil:
  • Powdered sugar or maple syrup:

& the spices: both the cupcakes and frosting are spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and a pinch of black pepper. The black pepper does not make these spicy at all, but rather enhances it’s warming component.

process shots of making chai cupcakes

How to make it

These cupcakes are super easy to make and all you need is one bowl for the batter and a blender for the frosting! No stand mixer or electric hand mixer required.

  1. Mix the wet ingredients for the cupcakes together. If using coconut oil or butter microwave the ingredients until you can whisk it smoothly. Then mix in the dry ingredients to form a slightly thick batter.
  2. Divide the batter between 8 lined cupcake tins.
  3. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown and springy to the touch. Let the cupcakes cool for at least 1 hour before frosting.
  4. Add all the frosting ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed. Let it set in the fridge while the cupcakes cool and then frost!

If you prefer a thicker yet fluffy frosting try using the method I used for vegan buttercream. I should also note that if you want to pipe the frosting, make it the night before and then transfer to the piping backs. Let it sit in the piping back overnight so it’s ready the next day.

5 cupcakes lined up with frosting on top

We hope you try and love these chai cupcakes as much as we do! They are truly are the perfect fall-inspired treat, packed with so much spices and flavour it’ll warm you right up just like a real chai latte ♡.

bite taken out of paleo vegan cupcake on a small plate

More vegan cupcakes to love!


side shot of chai cupcakes

If you recreate this Vegan Chai Cupcakes recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

Hungry for more? Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest for more deliciousness!

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brown chai cupcake with chai frosting and a cinnamon stick on top, with a bite shot

Vegan Chai Cupcakes (Gluten Free + Paleo)

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  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cupcakes 1x


Wonderfully spiced Vegan Chai Cupcakes topped with a chai infused frosting. These fall-inspired paleo cupcakes made with cassava and coconut flour are easy to make and comes together in one bowl! (Gluten free + Oil free)


Units Scale



  • 1 1/3 cup cashews (200g)
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream + 2 tbsp (150g)
  • 3 tbsp coconut butter (45g // or coconut oil)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (15ml)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 23 tbsp maple syrup (40-60g // or 56 tbsp powdered sugar for a sweeter version)
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • a small pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 8 cupcake tins. 
  2. In to a large mixing bowl add in the maple syrup, coconut sugar, almond milk, apple cider vinegar, almond butter, and vanilla. If using coconut butter or coconut oil melt in the microwave or stovetop and whisk until smooth. 
  3. Add the cassava flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and all the spices. Whisk until combined.
  4. Scoop the batter into 8 prepared cupcake tins, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool for 1-2 minutes in the pan and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  5. Add all the frosting ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Let the frosting chill for at least 1 hour.
  6. Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!


  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cook Time: 23 minutes
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, north american


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 488
  • Sugar: 24.8g
  • Sodium: 215mg
  • Fat: 19.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4.3g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 49.2g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 5.9g
  • Cholesterol: 0

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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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