This chai spiced tea cake is a twist on a classic that brings new and exciting flavours into each mouthful and makes afternoon tea feel that little bit fancier.
Growing up I used to love to make cinnamon tea cake. It was one of those recipes that was super easy to put together, used pantry staples (meaning we always had the ingredients) and tasted amazing.
It was the combination of sugary sweet with the spicy cinnamon all in a soft and buttery cake that had me coming back to this treat time and time again. But while I love the classic, I was ready to take it to the next level.
I adore chai, and as soon as the weather starts to cool (which thankfully seems to finally be happening) I reach for the chai tea. But my love of chai extends this, and I love to use it to spice up cakes giving them that little something special.
What makes this cake so good, is the contrast of the crunchy sweet crumble, with the soft and full of spice ‘buttery’ cake. Let’s step through the different parts that this tea cake amazing.
- The crumbly top.
- The soft & light cake.
- The chai spice in every bite.
- The little drizzle of glaze over the top.
We will go through each part in more detail, but firstly the most important part – the chai spice mix!
So what actually is chai spice? There seems to be a number of different combinations depending on the recipe that you find, however this combo is amazing.
Ok on their own, these spices come alive when mixed together. I am not going to lie, I am not a huge fan of cloves but while the scent is strong in this mix, the flavour does not stand out on its own but combines with all the others in just the right way. I’m already planning what else I can use this spice mix in.
The Chai Tea Cake
Probably one of the simplest cake recipes, you beat in your butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla before adding in your flour and milk, and of course your spice mix. Mix it all together and pour into a pan. I like to use a springform pan so that it releases without damaging the crumble top.
I’m not 100% sure why it is called a tea cake, but I am going to assume it is just because this cake is most amazing when served with tea, whether it be afternoon or morning is irrelevant. After dinner tea and cake is also an acceptable and encouraged time to enjoy it.
This tea cake however also has a little tea in it. Because I cannot get enough chai, I also steeped the milk with my favourite chai tea so that it carried some of the beautiful flavours through the cake. I didn’t want to have to look for the chai flavour, I wanted it to be present in every bite which is what we have achieved here.
The Crumble Topping
Usually a cinnamon tea cake is topped with cinnamon sugar and melted butter, however I wanted something a little fancier. And is there anything fancier than a crumble topping? I am not sure I know the answer to that, however this little addition elevated this humble tea cake into something that I would expect at a high tea.
And it is so simple.
In a small bowl you will get some flour, brown sugar (yum!) and of course more chai spice. Into this you will place some cold butter or in this case dairy-free spread and gently mix this in until it forms a crumb. Using a fork or your hands will get the best results.
Once you have a crumb, place the mixture into the fridge. I like to do this step first so that it can chill while I prepare the cake batter. We want the crumb to be cold as this will help make sure it sits on top of the cake and doesn’t sink while baking.
Once the cake batter is done and in the pan, evenly sprinkle over your crumbs and bake.
After the cake is done and has cooled, it is time to firstly appreciate how good your house smells, and secondly to finish off your creation with a pretty glaze. Simply mix a little spice, a little icing sugar and even less water together and drizzle it over the top.
All that is left to do is brew a cuppa and cut yourself a slice, or two.
Chai Spiced Tea Cake
- 180 grams dairy-free spread*
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs , room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups (185 grams) self-raising flour
- ¼ cup (40 grams) plain flour
- 2 teaspoons chai spice mix (see notes)
- ½ cup vanilla almond milk
- 2 chai tea bags
- ½ cup plain flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup (60 grams) dairy-free spread*
- 1 teaspoon chai spice mix
- 3 tablespoons icing sugar
- ¼ teaspoon chai spice mix
- 2-3 teaspoons warm water
- Preheat oven to 160°C and spray a 22cm springform pan with cooking oil and line the bottom with baking paper.
- In a small bowl or mug, warm the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds and place in two chai tea bags and set aside to steep.
- Make the crumb. In a small bowl place crumb ingredients and mix together using a fork or your hands to rub the dairy-free spread into the dry ingredients to create a crumb. Place in fridge to chill.
- Make the cake. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, with an electric handheld mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment fitted. Add in eggs one at a time and vanilla and continue beating until light and creamy. Stir in sifted flour and milk, beat lightly until smooth.
- Remove tea bags from cooled milk. Sift flour and gradually mix through batter alternating with milk until the batter is creamy and smooth.
- Spread mixture into prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer when inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before releasing from the pan to cool completely.
- Make the glaze. In a small bowl, combine icing sugar, chai spice and a little water at a time and mix together until glaze is the desired consistency, being careful not to be too thin. Drizzle over cooled cake and serve.