I wanted to make something chai flavoured….so here we are, chai caramel cake.
THE FLAVOUR OF THIS CAKE WAS AMAZING. And also it was sooooo soft. I wasn’t expecting the softness, but I loved it so much.
If you like chai, you need to try this!
Breakdown of the process
So this cake has 4 different parts to it.
The first part is the cake layers, for this I just made my vanilla cake batter, but I used brown sugar instead of white sugar and then I also added a few spices.
Whiles this was baking I made some chai. Once the cakes were baked I poured this over them.
This added so much flavour to the cakes but it’s also what made this cake so soft.
Then the last two parts are the caramel and the Swiss meringue buttercream.
The cake layers
The cake layers are very easy to make, here are the ingredients you will need to make them:
- Unsalted butter – you want this to be softened.
- Oil – this is going to add a lot of moisture. I use vegetable oil, but any flavourless oil does work.
- Brown sugar – using brown sugar instead of white sugar is going to add extra moisture and a lot of extra flavour. Use light brown soft sugar.
- Spices – I used cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Most of the chai flavour is coming from the chai we’re going to make later, so I didn’t add too many spices to the cake.
- Self-raising flour – I’ll talk about how to use plain/all purpose flour instead, in the next section.
Ingredient substitutions for the cake layers
There are 2 ingredients that I used in the cake batter, that I typically get asked if there are any substitutions for.
So let’s talk about them:
Typically cakes need some kind of fat in them. This is usually either butter or oil.
Butter adds flavour to cakes, whereas oil adds a lot of moisture.
In cakes like this, I like to use a mixture of both, so that I can get that flavour from the butter, and the moisture from the oil.
However, if you didn’t want to use oil, you could just stick to butter.
In the recipe card below, I’ve said to use 125g of softened unsalted butter and 125ml of oil. If you are only using butter, use 250g of butter instead.
The self-raising flour
I like to use self-raising flour, just because I find it easier, I don’t have to add any raising agents.
But if you didn’t have self-raising flour or if you lived in a place where it is hard to find, plain/all purpose flour can be used.
Use the same amount but mix 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt into it.
The next thing we are going to make is the chai. Like I mentioned, we’re going to pour this over our cakes after they have baked.
For this all you need is:
- Whole milk
- Black tea bags
- Chai masala/chai spice
- Brown sugar
That is it, you just boil these together for a bit, then sieve them and leave aside until your cakes are baked.
The chai spice
For the chai spice, you can either make this or buy it.
If you make chai often, you probably already have it.
I used a home made one, I feel like most South Asian households have a homemade one in their house, but store bought chai spice works too. Use whatever is easiest for you.
A few tips when making the caramel
Next we can move onto making the caramel.
For this, all you need is granulated or caster sugar, unsalted butter, double cream and salt.
Making the caramel is pretty simple, essentially all you do is melt the sugar, then mix in the butter, then the cream and salt.
But there are a few things to remember:
Keep the heat on medium
When melting the sugar in a pot or pan, you want to keep the heat on medium/low.
Sugar can burn easily, we don’t want this to happen because you will end with a caramel that has a bitter taste.
So don’t try increasing the heat to speed up the process, melt the sugar slowly.
Constantly stir the sugar as it melts
This is also to prevent the sugar from burning.
Whiles the sugar is melting, don’t walk away from it, you want to keep stirring.
Use room temperature butter and warm cream
You don’t want the butter and cream to be cold when you add it to the melted sugar.
If they are cold, your melted sugar will set up as soon as you add the butter and cream, leaving you with a lumpy caramel.
So use room temperature butter and warm cream.
You don’t really have to wait for the butter to come to room temperature. I just heat it in the microwave at 10 second intervals until soft.
And then I also heat the cream for about a minute in the microwave.
Make sure to do this before you start melting the sugar. Once the sugar has melted you want to move quickly, so get everything prepared before.
I know it seems like there is a lot of steps to making this cake….there is. But it is very worth it in the end.
The good news is, the buttercream is the last thing we are going to be making.
You can use your favourite kind of buttercream for this, but I went with my Swiss meringue buttercream.
This is the recipe for that:
The only difference is that in the recipe it says to use granulated sugar, but I used soft light brown sugar instead.
THIS ADDED SUCH A GOOD FLAVOUR TO THE BUTTERCREAM, and I think the colour was also very pretty.
The reason why I’ve not included that recipe here is because Swiss meringue buttercream is a little trickier to make than a regular American buttercream.
I included a lot of detail in the blog post I wrote for it, so if Swiss meringue buttercream is new to you, I recommend looking through that post.
Decorating the cake
Now that each part has been made, and the cake layers and caramel have cooled completely, you can finally decorate.
Decorate this however you want. All I did was fill the cake with the buttercream and some caramel, then I iced and covered the sides with some chopped almonds.
I kept the decoration pretty simple, but again you can decorate it however you want!
Here are some other cake recipes I think you might also like:
- For the cake:
125g unsalted butter, softened
125ml vegetable oil
250g light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cardamon powder
250g self-raising flour
60ml whole milk
- For the chai:
400ml whole milk
4-5 black tea bags (you can use as many as you want here, depending how strong you want the tea flavour to be)
1 tablespoon chai spice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
- For the caramel:
300g granulated sugar
150g unsalted butter, softened
180ml double cream, warm (just heat it in your microwave for 30-60 seconds)
1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the buttercream:
1 batch Swiss meringue buttercream, BUT replace the granulated sugar in this recipe with light brown sugar
Some finely chopped almonds, to decorate (optional)
- Making the cake layers:
- Start by pre-heating your oven to 180c/350f. Also grease and line two 8 inch cake tins.
- In a large bowl, add the softened butter, oil, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cardamon powder. Beat these together on high speed for 5 minutes. If you are making this cake batter by hand, just aggressively whisk for as long as you can.
- Add 2 of the eggs into this, whisk these in, then whisk in the remaining 2 eggs.
- Now add the flour and milk, whisk just until you get a smooth batter.
- Pour this into your prepared cake tins, spread it out then bake them at 180c/350f for around 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Making the chai:
- Whiles the cakes are baking, make the chai.
- In a pot, add the milk, tea bags, chai spice and the sugar. Give this a mix.
- Place this onto medium heat and let it come to a boil, once it comes to a boil, lower the heat slightly and let this boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour this through a sieve then leave aside.
- Once your cakes are baked and are still hot, pour this chai over them. Leave these aside to soak up the chai, and to cool completely.
- Making the caramel:
- In a pot or pan, add about 1/3 of the sugar. Place this pot onto medium heat.
- Heat this sugar, whiles constantly stirring, until the sugar starts to melts. Once it starts to melt, pour another 1/3 of the sugar into the pot. Keep stirring until this starts to melt, then add the rest of the sugar. Make sure not to increase the heat during this process, you want to melt the sugar slowly, otherwise it can burn.
- Keep heating and stirring the sugar until it has all melted and turned an amber colour.
- Take it off the heat and whisk in the butter. Then slowly pour in the cream, whiles mixing. Now mix in the salt.
- Place this back onto medium heat and let this mixture simmer for 1-2 minutes. Then sieve this and leave aside to cool completely.
- Decorating the cake:
- Once the cakes and caramel have cooled completely, and the buttercream has been made, you can start putting everything together.
- Place one of your cake layers down onto a plate or cake board, spread some of the buttercream on top of this, then pipe a border of the buttercream around the edge of the cake. Add a thin layer of the cooled caramel in the middle of this.
- Add the second layer of cake on top.
- Now you can decorate however you want. I just iced the whole cake in the buttercream, added a swirl on top, then covered the sides with some chopped almonds.
- I recommend leaving this to chill for about 20 minutes in your fridge, then cut into it and enjoy!