Make chai spice mix, and a cup of chai tea and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.Line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners. If making a layer cake, grease and dust with cacao powder the inside of two 9-inch round pans.
Make chai tea
Mix up the chai spice tea mix and store in a dry glass jar. Spoon 2 tbsp of the spice mix into 1 cup of water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Strain the liquid and add a black tea teabag to the liquid, adding more water if it is less than 3/4 cup. Let teabag steep for 5 minutes. Store tea in refrigerator for this recipe or to drink.
Mix the batter
In a large mixing bowl, stir flour, sugar, cacao powder, 1 tbsp chai spice mix, baking soda, and salt.
In a smaller mixing bowl, add applesauce, vegetable oil, vanilla, water and ACV, mix until batter is smooth. I actually have mixed the wet ingredients in the blender.
Add the wet to the dry and blend until smooth.
Spoon batter into the cupcake cups, filling each 3/4 full. Or fill the cake pans.
Bake in the oven until the cupcakes test clean, about 15-20 minutes. If baking a cake, bake about 25 minutes. Cool pans 15 minutes before removing baked goods.
To make the chai frosting:
First bring milk to a near-boil, and then steep chai tea bags in it for 10 minutes.
Put the powdered sugar in a blender or processor, add in the softened butter, vanilla, and add in milk a tbsp at a time (a bit more or less) until you achieve the creamy texture you want.
Blend again until creamy. To keep this frosting from hardening as it cools, I soaked a paper towel in water and covered the bowl completely until I’m ready to frost it.