Spice is the life: Chai spice cake with cream cheese frosting

My sister’s birthday was September 4th, and because of the job I’m working at the moment, I don’t have days during the week off.  So the trick was getting her to come down to my place over the weekend, which she did, so that I could give presents and make her a cake.  Now Kathy (sister) loves spice cakes.  LOVES THEM.  I’ve made her numerous spice cakes over the centuries.  In the last year or so, she’s discovered her addiction to chai tea and chai tea lattes, and earlier this summer, The Roommate and I tried a piece of chai tea cake.

Now there, not much difference between a chai cake and a spice cake — they’re really all the same spices (or similar enough), but the chai cake tasted lighter.  Not as heavily spicy as typical spice cakes.

So that was my goal for my sister’s birthday this year.  Find a chai cake recipe, which I managed to do.  Well, I fudged a bit and found a recipe for chai cupcakes, but it seemed the less complicated than some of the cake recipes.  I also adapted it quite a bit from this recipe, such as I used liquid chai concentrate instead of blending the spices myself this time because I wanted to see how well that would work.  I will say that the cake itself came out denser rather than fluffy, but it was really good, and Kathy enjoyed it (there is proof of that at the end of the post).  I will play around with it next time and attempt to either double the recipe for the size cake pan that I used or I will use a smaller cake pan to see if it rises more than it did.  Also the original recipe calls for a buttercream icing, and instead, I made cream cheese icing, which I’ll add the recipe for, too.


1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/4 to 1/2 cup chai tea concentrate

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar


1 package of cream cheese, softened

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar



1. Heat oven to 325º F.  Spray cake pan with Pam (or lightly grease) and set aside.  I used probably a 9×13 cake pan, when I think I should have used a small square one.

2. Cream together butter and sugar.  Add the vanilla and beat in one egg at a time.  Stir in chai concentrate, buttermilk and flour until combined.  Don’t over mix.  Mix together the baking soda and vinegar in a separate bowl then add it to the batter and mix until combined.

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3. Pour into the cake pan and bake for 30-45 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.

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Cream cheese frosting directions:

1. Let the cream cheese sit out on the counter in the foil package until it’s softened.  Put it in a bowl, add the vanilla and sugar and then beat/cream until it’s blended and smooth.

2. Set it into the fridge until the cake cools down, then ice the cake with it.

3. Cover the cake and set into the fridge until it’s ready to serve.

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As you can see the cake is thin and dense, but again, I think it’s because I used a cake pan that was bigger than the amount of batter required, so next time, I’ll play around with a smaller cake pan and see how it goes.  However, dense or not, this was the happiness the cake brought the birthday girl — eating her last bite!

Kathy enjoying her birthday cake



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