This vegan chai bread loaf is moist, flavorful, zesty, sweet, and made without eggs or butter.

Subtle notes of South Asian-inspired masala chai combined with fresh zesty orange and fragrant cardamom make this loaf cake irresistible.

Warming spices and cozy chai make this feel like the winter version of pumpkin bread!

a loaf of sweet chai bread with orange segments, star anise, and icing on top of a wooden board.Pin
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If you haven't tried infusing your baking with tea then you're in for a treat! Adding tea to both baked and no-bake desserts is one of my favorite ways to create delicious and interesting flavor combinations.

🧾 Ingredients Needed

Here's everything you need to make this gingerbread caramel slice recipe from scratch:

ingredients for chai bread measured out in bowls on a wooden surface.Pin

Ingredient Notes

Loose-leaf tea or chai tea bags. I use a masala chai blend of Assam tea, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, cardamom, juniper berries, licorice root, dandelion root, black pepper, fennel, and Angelica root.

Vegan buttermilkSoy milk is mixed with apple cider vinegar to create a buttermilk alternative that will tenderize the cake and give it a fluffy consistency.

Pure maple syrup. My go-to liquid sweetener deepens the flavor and compliments the spices in the cake.

Apple puree (unsweetened apple sauce). As well as adding a touch of sweetness, apple sauce helps this vegan tea loaf stay moist after baking - and for several days afterward!

Brown sugar. Soft brown sugar or coconut sugar works here, my favorite is light muscovado sugar.

Olive oil. The oil adds moisture and helps the loaf cake feel fluffy and springy to the touch. Other neutral oils like sunflower or rapeseed also work.

Chai spices. I use a blend of ground cardamom, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, allspice, and ground cinnamon.

Orange zest. Freshly grated zest adds a zingy freshness to this loaf which pairs really well with the spices in the sweet bread.

You'll also need powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar) for the cardamom glaze.

a glass pot of vegan mascarpone cheesecake with fresh berries and a pot of maple syrup in the background.Pin

🥣 How To Make Chai Bread

To get a nice chai flavor in the bread, the tea needs to be steeped into a strong concentrate first. This involves using minimal water and quite a bit of chai!

  1. Steep the chai in freshly boiled water for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Pass the tea through a fine-mesh sieve, squeezing out the liquid with the back of a spoon.
chai tea steeping in a cup and being strained through a mesh sieve into a bowl.Pin
  1. Add the wet ingredients to a large bowl (non-dairy buttermilk, maple syrup, apple sauce, olive oil, vanilla, and orange zest).
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients until combined.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients until there are no visible pockets of flour.
  4. Pour the batter into a loaf pan lined prepared with a little cooking spray and lined with parchment paper, and bake in a preheated oven.
mixing wet ingredients for chai cake in a large mixing bowl.Pin
  1. Cool the bread on a wire rack until at room temperature.
  2. Whisk together the icing ingredients (sugar, cardamom, vanilla, and orange juice).
  3. Drizzle the icing on top of the chai bread.
  4. Decorate with star anise and fresh orange segments.
chai loaf on a cooling rack with icing poured over it and orange segments on top.Pin

💬 FAQs

How to store chai bread?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container or tightly wrapped in aluminum foil. It stays nice and tender in the fridge thanks to the oil, apple puree, and maple syrup.

If you're planning on eating this cake within a couple of days then there's no need to refrigerate it.

Can I freeze chai bread?

Yes, you can freeze this loaf cake for up to 3 months in individual slices.

Place the slices into a sealed container separated by sheets of parchment paper, or place them in a freezer bag.

How to tell when Masala chai bread is baked?

Check the bread is done by inserting a toothpick or skewer into the center, it should come out clean without a lot of crumbs on it.

a slice of chai bread with a bite taken out of it on a white ceramic plate.Pin

🍞 More Vegan Quick Bread

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Chai Bread

4.97 from 28 votes
PREP TIME: 15 mins
COOK TIME: 50 mins
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 10
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Description

Fluffy vegan chai bread that's infused with orange zest, masala chai, and spices. Easy to make, and coated with an orange cardamom glaze. It onlly requires 15 minutes of hands-on prep!

Ingredients

  • 50 g (60 g) loose leaf masala chai tea, or 30g tea from chai teabags *see notes
  • 90 ml water, freshly boiled
  • 100 ml (80 ml) soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 118 ml (118 ml) maple syrup
  • 90 g (94 g) apple puree, (unsweetened apple sauce)
  • 60 ml (60 ml) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (10 ml) vanilla bean paste, or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) orange zest, freshly grated
  • 220 g (220 g) plain flour
  • 100 g (80 g) light brown sugar, or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 g) allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Orange Cardamom Glaze (optional)

  • 18- g (180 g) powdered sugar, (confectioner's sugar/icing sugar) *see notes
  • ½ teaspoon (10 g) ground cardamom, extra to taste
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla bean paste, or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Prepare: Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F).
    Line an 8" loaf tin with parchment paper and set aside.
    Add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar to a jug or cup, stir and allow to sit to form vegan buttermilk while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Make the tea: Add the loose-leaf chai tea (or filling from teabags) to a cup and add the freshly boiled water. Cover the cup and allow the tea to steep for 10-15 minutes.
    Squeeze the tea through a fine-mesh sieve to extract the concentrated chai mixture. You should have 40ml (2 ¾ tbsp) concentrated tea after straining.
  • Combine the wet ingredients: Add the concentrated tea, vegan buttermilk, maple syrup, apple puree, olive oil, vanilla, and orange zest to a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Combine dry ingredients: To a large separate bowl, add the flour, soft brown sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt, and whisk to combine. *Make sure they're are no lumps of sugar left in the mixture. *(see notes)
  • Make the batter: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently whisk them into a batter. Be careful not to over-mix, only stir until they're are no visible pockets of flour.
  • Bake: Add the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 mins. After 45 minutes, check the cake is ready by inserting a knife or toothpick into it, which should come out clean. If the toothpick has cake residue on it, bake for another 5-10 minutes as needed.
    Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.
  • Make the glaze: Mix all the glaze ingredients together in a bowl.
    Once the cake has cooled, pour the icing on top. Add more or less depending on your taste.
  • Storage: Wrap in tin foil or store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. It will keep at room temperature for a couple of days.

Notes

  • If you can't find loose chai, cut open tea bags and use the tea inside. I've reduced the weight of tea for the recipe if using bags as the tea inside tends to be finer and more intense.
  • Not all white sugar in the US is vegan, use organic if in doubt.
  • Remove any lumps of sugar in the dry ingredients, as these will cause dark spots in your baked loaf. Use your fingers to crumble them back to a powder consistency.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 119mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 61IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 1mg
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*This recipe was originally published in October 2020. The recipe has since been improved and updated to simplify the instructions.