A while ago I made masala chai cookies, I’ve been wanting to make another masala chai dessert ever since. So here it is….masala chai cake.
The smell and flavour of this cake was so nice and the layers were so soft and fluffy.
If you’re ever feeling like a spicy cake…but like a warm spicy….not a HELP I CAN’T BREATHE spicy, this cake is the one!
Breakdown of the masala chai cake
This cake has a few different elements.
It starts with super fluffy sponge cake layers that are made with whipped eggs. I added some chai masala into this to get some flavour.
Then once the cake layers had been baked, I poured some chai over them. This was mainly for flavour, but it also added moistness to the cake.
Then I filled and iced the cake with whipped cream. I just kept this whipped cream vanilla flavoured, instead of making it masala chai flavoured. I feel like the masala chai flavour in the cake stands out more when it’s paired with something neutral.
Making the chai masala
The most important ingredient for this cake is the masala….or in english, the spice mix.
Every South Asian household has their own way to make the masala for their chai, and they all swear that their recipe is the best.
There’s so many different recipes for it; everyone uses different kinds of spices and quantities.
For this cake, if you have your own masala or your own recipe, you can absolutely just use that. Or you can also just buy a pre-made blend.
Here’s the spices and quantities I used to make mine:
- 20 cardamon pods
- 10 cloves
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons carom seeds
- 2 teaspoons ginger powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
You can adjust this, if you want a stronger cinnamon flavour, add more. If you want a milder cardamom flavour, add less. Make it however you like.
All you need to do is grind these spices together until you get a fine powder.
Typically for chai, in my house at least, we don’t grind the masala into a fine powder. But for this recipe, some of the masala is being used in the cake batter, so a powder is better. Otherwise you will be able to taste a crunch from the spices in your cake….we don’t want this.
Ingredients for the cake layers
Most of the ingredients for the cake layer are pretty basic, there are just a few I wanted to talk about:
The brown sugar
Granulated sugar or caster sugar works too. I just used brown sugar because I felt like the flavour from it would pair well with the masala chai flavours.
I get asked a lot about what oil I use for my cakes. I use vegetable oil, rapeseed oil more specifically. But any neutral flavourless oil works.
If you didn’t want to use oil at all, you could also just the same amount of melted butter instead.
The lemon juice
I like to add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice into this cake batter, as well as vanilla.
The main ingredient in these cake layers is the eggs. Whipping these eggs is what is going to give the cake it’s fluffiness.
However, with cakes like this, there is a risk that they can end up tasting a little eggy. So I feel like lemon juice does a great job at getting rid of that eggy taste.
It’s optional though you can leave it out, it won’t make a huge difference.
The chai masala
I only added 2 teaspoons of the chai masala into the cake batter. Most of the chai flavour in this cake is going to be coming from the actual chai that is being poured over the cake layers.
If your masala isn’t super fine, I don’t recommend adding it into the batter. Just make your chai extra strong, because like I said, you don’t want to be able to taste a crunch from the seeds and cloves in the cake. Unless if you don’t mind this, then go ahead add it!
Tips on making the cake layers
The structure of this cake is coming from the eggs that we are going to whip.
This is great because it is going to give you a very light, fluffy, airy cake. However, with cakes like this, there is a risk of them deflating.
Here are a few tips on how to prevent that from happening:
- Don’t grease your cake tins – just add a circle of baking paper to the bottom of them. This cake batter needs to grip to the sides of the tin in order to rise in the oven, greasing the tin will make it hard for the batter to do this. This kind of cake isn’t sticky, so don’t worry you’ll still be able to get it out of the tin.
Don’t open your oven door too early – you know how sometimes when we bake things, we keep opening the door to check if everything’s going well. You don’t want to do that with this, the cakes will deflate. Don’t open the door for at least 30 minutes.
- Run a knife around the sides of the tin – after the cake layers have baked, you want to run a knife around the sides, to separate the cake from tin. I know these tips are supposed to prevent the cakes from deflating, but they will deflate a little no matter what you do. So separating the cake from the sides will ensure that it delates evenly, instead of only the centre deflating. Just separate the sides though, don’t take them out of the tins until they’ve cooled completely!
Once you put the cake layers in the oven, you want start making the chai, so that by the time the cake layers have come out and cooled for a bit, the chai will have also cooled.
I’ve included how I made it in the recipe below.
Most of the time when people make chai, they do start with water. However, for this I’m just using milk, no water. It’s better for the chai to be a little thicker for this cake.
I used 400ml of whole milk for the chai, which probably reduced to around 300ml or 250ml after it had boiled.
I don’t recommend using any more, you don’t want too add too much chai to the cake.
If you do, the texture will end up more like a tres leches cake….which will taste good. But the cake layers will be too soft, they’ll just fall apart as you start stacking everything together.
Side note, the chai I made for this is on the stronger side. You want it to be strong because it is going to be poured over the cake layers, and then the cake is going to be covered in whipped cream.
If the chai is not strong, you won’t be able to taste any of the flavours from it once everything is put together.
How to fix over whipped cream
For the whipped cream, all you need to do is whip some double cream, icing sugar and vanilla together until you get a thick, spreadable cream.
Sometimes you can over whip cream though, if you watched my video, I did in fact over whip my cream.
I didn’t do anything to fix the situation, I just carried on and acted like everything was ok….but you should probably fix the cream.
If your whipped cream is too thick and it seems like you won’t be able to spread it onto the cake, just pour some more un-whipped cream into it and gently mix this in. Keep repeating this until you get a nice spreadable smooth whipped cream again!
Here are a few other cake recipes I think you should also take a look at:
Masala Chai Cake
- For the cake layers:
6 egg whites
75g brown sugar
6 egg yolks
75g brown sugar
50ml any flavourless oil (I use vegetable)
50ml whole milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons chai masala
120g plain flour
- For the masala chai:
400ml whole milk
4 black tea bags
2 tablespoons chai masala
2 tablespoons brown sugar
- For the whipped cream:
600ml double cream
120g icing sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Making the cake layers:
- Start by pre-heating your oven to 180c/350f. Also line the bottom of 3 six inch cake tins with some baking paper. Make sure not to grease these tins.
- In a large bowl, add your egg whites and start whipping these. Once they become foamy, slowly pour in the first 75g of brown sugar, whiles mixing. Once all the sugar has been added, whip until you get stiff peaks. Leave this aside.
- In a separate large bowl, add the egg yolks and the second 75g of brown sugar. Whip this until the mixture lightens in colour and almost doubles in volume.
- Add the oil, milk, lemon juice, vanilla and chai masala into this, whisk these in. Now add the flour and whisk just until incorporated.
- Add half of the whipped egg whites into this batter, gently fold them in. Now add the rest of the egg whites and fold until you can no longer see any streaks or lumps of egg whites.
- Pour this into your cake tins then bake for around 40 - 45 minutes. Once they come out the oven, use a knife to separate the cake from the sides of the tin. Don't take them out of the tin, just separate them from the sides. Leave these aside.
- Making the masala chai:
- Whiles your cakes are baking, make the chai.
- Add all the ingredients for the chai into a pot, give this a stir then place this pot onto medium heat.
- Let this come to a boil, then lower the heat and let this simmer for about 10 minutes. Give it a stir every now and then.
- After 10 minutes, pour this through a sieve, then leave this aside to cool.
- Once your cakes have baked and cooled down slightly, poke holes into them, then pour the chai over them. Don't pour it all on at once, add a bit, let it soak into the cake, then add more. Once it has all been added, leave the cake layers aside to soak and cool completely.
- Making the whipped cream:
- In a large bowl, add the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla. Whip this just until you get firm peaks. Leave this in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
- Assembling the cake:
- Once your cake layers have completely cooled, you can put the cake together.
- Place one of the layers down onto a cake board or plate, spread a layer of the whipped cream over this, then add another layer of cake, more cream, and then the final layer of cake.
- Now you can decorate it however you want. I just covered the cake in the whipped cream, added a swirl, then sprinkled a little bit of the chai masala on top.
- Leave the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes before cutting into it so that the whipped cream can set up but then enjoy!