Easy spice cake recipe (chai cake), homemade with simple ingredients. This soft, moist layer cake is paired with cream cheese frosting, caramel sauce, lots of cinnamon and pistachios.
Since I am a huge fan of Masala Chai Tea (Karak Chai), I knew I would end up using it in a dessert sooner or later. This is a cross between an old fashioned bundt cake and a light sponge cake. It's bursting with aromatic warmth and chai flavors, making it a show-stopping Thanksgiving or Fall dessert, just like my Easy Rustic Cake (Tiered Cake).
Table of contents
- Milk- Be sure that it is warm.
- Tea bags- You will want to use the vanilla spiced chai tea flavor.
- Butter- Always us unsalted in your desserts so that it won't be too salty.
- Granulated Sugar- Not to be confused with powdered sugar.
- Eggs- Make sure you use large ones at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract- Gives a nice, warm flavor and aroma.
- Ginger- This is grated, not the powder form, because you want a stronger flavor.
- Flour- In this recipe, only all-purpose will work.
- Baking powder- Helps the cake to fluff up nicely.
- Baking Soda- Aids in the rising of the cake.
- Cinnamon powder- Adds a classic, warmth and pairs well with other spices.
- Cardamom powder- Another spice often used in Fall that compliments cinnamon nicely.
- Nutmeg powder- You'll know it when you smell it, because it is distinct and delicious.
- Cloves powder- Works well with the other spices to bring in the perfect flavor combination.
- Pistachios- Add a great crunch as well as gives a great topping decoration.
- Cream cheese frosting- Made using cream cheese, butter, milk, vanilla, and cornstarch.
- Spiced caramel sauce- Made with simple ingredients like sugar, butter, vanilla, heavy cream.
Pumpkin- Instead of altering the recipe below, I highly recommend my popular Easy Pumpkin Cake Recipe. It has all the warm flavors and a wonderful texture.
Use other nuts- Pistachios complimented this cake very well but you can use any other type of nuts you like or even omit them, if you are not fond of them.
Chocolate- There are a few ways to add the chocolate flavor:
- You can stir in come mini chocolate chips in the cake batter.
- Instead of caramel sauce, you can drizzle Hot Fudge Sauce (Chocolate Fudge Sauce) or Chocolate Ganache.
- Instead of cream cheese icing, you can use Chocolate Buttercream Frosting or Coconut Cream Chocolate Frosting.
Banana option- Use this Banana Chocolate Chip Cake Recipe but add 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder, ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder, ⅛ teaspoon clove powder.
Cupcakes- This recipe can easily be used to make cupcakes. Just make sure lower the baking time and bake for about 16-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Applesauce version- Rather than modifying this recipe, I would suggest using my Old Fashioned Applesauce Cake Recipe, which is loaded with flavor.
Use a mix- You can make an easy version of this by using a store-bought cake mix. Follow the directions on the box but replace water with rich chai tea and add ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder, ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder. Also, add 4 large eggs instead of 3 eggs and replace oil with the same quantity of melted butter.
Try other spices or spice blends- Such as Allspice, pumpkin spice, or even a bit of chili powder for a bit of new spicy flavor.
How to make easy spice cake recipe (chai cake) from scratch?
- Make chai tea- And keep aside.
- Cream butter and sugar- In a large mixing bowl.
- Mix in- Eggs, vanilla, and ginger until smooth.
- Whisk together- The flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices in another mixing bowl .
- Dump dry mixture- Into the wet mixture, alternating with chai tea, until just combined.
- Spread batter- Into two pans and bake.
- Allow cakes to cool- Then place one cake on a dish and top it off with cream cheese frosting, pistachios, caramel sauce.
- Place the other cake- On top and gently press it.
- Top it off- With frosting, caramel sauce, pistachios and then you are done.
Tips and techniques
- Best icing- In my opinion, cream cheese frosting pairs perfectly because it's sweet and slightly tangy, which is complimentary to this dessert. However, some other choices would be maple frosting or American Buttercream Frosting or White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting or Marshmallow Frosting or Seven Minute Frosting.
- All ingredients must be at room temperature- So that they blend together smoothly.
- Chai tea really elevates this baked good- Because tea bags have so many spices that get infused into warm milk. However, don't use tea bags that have been sitting in your shelf for years. Get fresh tea bags! They have a stronger flavor and aroma.
- Cover cakes with saran wrap- Once your cakes have cooled down completely, I highly recommend covering them in saran wrap and refrigerating them overnight. That really seals in the moisture and it's also easier to trim your cakes without a huge mess/crumbs.
- Don't over-mix the batter- Because that will add a lot of gluten and make a very tough chewy cake. A few lumps are okay and the batter should be thick.
- Adjust the quantities of spices- Based on your personal preference.
- Don't assemble a warm cake- Because the heat can melt the icing and make a sticky mess.
- You must use all-purpose flour- No other flours have worked successfully in this recipe.
- Line your pans- With parchment paper or grease them well to prevent sticking.
The carrot version is essentially a spiced baked good but it also has the the addition of shredded carrots giving it a slightly sweeter taste and more tender texture.
For this recipe, you cannot use it. However, you can follow the instructions in this post on How to Make Box Cake Better (Taste Homemade), using a mix, brewed chai tea instead of milk and water and the addition of ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder, ¼ teaspoon cloves powder, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder. Also, add 4 large eggs instead of 3 eggs and replace oil with the same quantity of melted butter. Bake according to the box instructions and then assemble cake, as per instructions below.
It was probably over-baked.
Unfortunately, you cannot use this recipe to make a bund cake. Bundt cakes have a firm texture and this cake is more soft and airy and it would be hard to remove from the bundt pan after baking.
- Make Ahead- The cake and frosting can be made up to 2 days in advance and put in separate airtight containers in the fridge until ready to decorate.
- Room Temperature- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container for 1-2 days.
- Refrigerate- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freeze- Store unfrosted cake and frosting in separate sealed containers for up to 1 month. When you are ready to enjoy it, simply thaw them both to room temperature and decorate.
More easy Fall and Thanksgiving Cakes
- Fresh Pear Cake (Pear Upside Down Cake)
- Sock it to Me Cake (With Cake Mix)
- Easy Ginger Cake (With Ginger Frosting)
- Cinnamon Roll Cake (With Cake Mix)
Easy Spice Cake (Chai Cake)
- 1 cup Milk Warm
- 8 Tea bags Vanilla spiced chai tea flavor
- 1 cup Butter Unsalted
- 1 ½ cups Granulated sugar
- 4 Eggs Large
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon Ginger Finely grated
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon Cinnamon powder
- ¼ teaspoon Cardamom powder
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg powder
- ¼ teaspoon Cloves powder
- Pour warm milk in a deep bowl and add all the tea bags. Let them sit for about 10 minutes. Then, squeeze out all the milk from the tea bags and discard them. Keep this chai milk aside for now and move on to the next step.
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, while continuing to mix.
- Add vanilla extract and ground ginger and mix again.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and all the spices.
- Dump this dry mixture into the wet mixture. Mix everything together while adding the chai milk until just combined. The batter will be thick and there might be some lumps but don't over mix!
- Pour this batter into two 8x2 greased/floured round cake pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool down completely.
- Then, trim the edges and tops of each cake with a sharp knife.
- Place one cake on a cake stand and frost the top with frosting. I used a piping bag with Tip #1M.
- Spread some chopped pistachios and drizzle some caramel sauce.
- Then, place the other cake on top of this frosting layer.
- Pour some caramel sauce around the edges of the cake only.
- Finally, frost the top of this cake with frosting and toss some more pistachios. Slice and enjoy!
- Don't assemble a warm cake.
- Use fresh tea bags to brew your tea.
- Don't over-mix batter. A few lumps are fine.
- Make sure to line your pans with parchment paper or grease them well to prevent sticking.
- Read additional tips and variations above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.