I’m a big tea lover – I’m almost always drinking tea, especially Chai. About two weeks ago I was searching the internet for something to make for dessert, and stumbled across this gem. I didn’t get a chance to make it until last night, when I finally decided to ignore everything else except my craving and indulge. I’m proud to say the dairy-free alternative that I made turned out beautifully! And my coworkers happen to agree with me!
The only note I have to make about this recipe is that the original says it makes 1 8-inch round cake. That’s a lie. When I poured the batter into the pan, it was almost full, and as I wasn’t sure whether or not the cake would rise that much, I left it. I did think ahead though, and put a cookie sheet under my cake pan, just in case. Turns out I needed it. This weekend I am going to try making two cakes, and 1.5 times the recipe – I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
If you don’t like Chai, or ginger bread, you won’t like this cake. If you do, well, welcome to Heaven.
Chai Spice Cake
Prep time: 1 hr
Cook time: 1hr 5min
Yields: 1 8-inch round cake, 12 servings (see note above)
6 chai tea bags
½ cup boiling water
4 oz (8 tbsp, 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened – For the dairy-free alternative, I used margarine.
½ cup granulated sugar, divided
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup unflavored vegetable oil
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk – For the dairy-free alternative, I used almond milk.
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ tsp cream of tartar
Confectioners’ sugar for garnish
Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 F. Butter the inside of the cake pan, dust with flour. Place a circle of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan.
Place the tea bags in a medium bowl. Pour the boiling water over the tea bags and leave to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, squeezing them to release as much liquid as possible. Cool the tea in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Put the butter in the large bowl. Using electric beaters ,beat the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add ¼ cup granulated sugar and all brown sugar, cream together well. Add the oil and the cooled tea to the butter mixture and blend thoroughly. Occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl.
Sift together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Alternately add the dry ingredients with the buttermilk (or almond milk) to the butter mixture in 4 stages, starting and ending with dry ingredients.
Place the egg whites in the grease-free bowl of an electric mixer. Whip the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form. Gradually, working on medium-high speed add the rest ¼ cup sugar, beating well after each addition. Whip until the whites hold glossy and firm, but not stiff, peaks.
Gently fold the whipped whites into the batter in 3 to 4 stages.
Transfer the cake batter to the prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula even the top. Bake for 1hr 5 to 1hr 15 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven. Cool on a rack in the pan for 15 minutes, unmold the cake and cool completely on the rack. Lightly dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Original recipe, click here.
I did not butter, flour, and line the pan – I simply buttered it (with margarine). My cake came out just fine. I was also too impatient to whip the egg whites with sugar to peaks, and I dumped all of it in and folded it in 1 step rather than 4. Perhaps this makes the cake fluffier, but I didn’t have the patience for that. I also did not dust my cake (see pictures below), but the top would come out flat and perfect for this garnish if you chose to indulge.
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did! It does take quite a bit of time (as most baking does), but it’s worth it! Also, this week, I have included pictures: the original picture, and the picture of my cake. As I said to my mother last night, “It looks just like the picture!”