This chai spiced cake loaf is moist, flavorsome, zesty, fresh, and sweet. Subtle notes of South Asian-inspired masala chai are married with fresh zesty orange and fragrant cardamom to make this cake irresistible, whether or not you're a lover of chai.
If you haven't yet 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.
When we think of autumn, the most popular flavors that come to mind are pumpkin spice, apple pie, and s'mores, but chai is also a wonderful wholesome flavor that can be enjoyed during fall and well into the colder months. Chai spices are probably the most underrated flavors of autumn in my opinion!
- Loose leaf tea: 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. However, feel free to use your favorite blend of chai in this recipe.
- Chia seeds: The seeds are mixed with water to become a “chia egg” and act as an egg replacer, binding the ingredients together.
- Plant-based milk: I like to use soy milk but you can opt for any plant-based milk of your choice here. Oat milk or coconut milk works well. This becomes the base of the vegan “buttermilk” when mixed with apple cider vinegar.
- Maple syrup: My go-to liquid sweetener, together with the coconut sugar, also deepens the flavor and compliments the spices in the cake.
- Apple puree: As well as adding a touch of sweetness to the recipe, apple sauce helps this bread loaf stay moist after baking - and for several days afterward!
- Olive oil: The oil adds moisture and helps the loaf cake feel fluffy and springy to the touch.
- Vanilla extract: This enhances and adds another layer of flavor to your cake. You can swap it out for half a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or the seeds from half a vanilla pod if you have one to hand.
- Orange zest: Grated orange zest adds a zingy freshness to this loaf which pairs really well with the spices in the cake.
- All-purpose flour: Regular plain flour works great for this cake loaf. You can, however, substitute a third of the flour for wholemeal if you would like to add some fiber into the loaf.
- Coconut sugar: This adds a deep caramel-like sweetness to the cake and is a great alternative to refined sugar.
- Baking powder: The rising agent for this loaf cake.
- Chai spices: Ground cardamom, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, allspice
- Sea salt: I always add a pinch of salt to desserts, as it helps to bring out the individual flavors of ingredients as well as marry them together.
- Icing sugar: This makes the base for the icing/glaze for the cake.
- Orange juice: Instead of using water/plant-based milk to make the glaze, we’re using orange juice to bring the flavors of this cake to life!
How to make vegan chai cake
Prepare the equipment
Ahead of preparing the ingredients for this recipe first preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F).
Get your loaf tin ready by lining the inside with some parchment paper. Allow the parchment paper to hang over the sides of the loaf pan to act as a sling.
Prepare the ingredients
Giving the tea at least 10-15 minutes to steep before using it in this recipe is the key to getting a flavorsome “chai” taste in your finished loaf. I like to let the tea cool before combining it with the rest of the ingredients as this really allows the flavors of the tea to come out.
Chia seeds are the egg replacer for this loaf. To prepare the “chia egg” simply mix the seeds with water and allow them to sit until they form a gel.
To make the vegan "buttermilk" add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar to a small bowl, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Pass the cooled chai tea through a sieve to separate the liquid and add it to a large bowl along with the prepared chia egg, vegan buttermilk mixture, and the remaining wet ingredients. Set aside.
To prepare the dry ingredients, first sieve the flour, baking powder, and spices. Add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl separate from the wet ingredients and whisk to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
Make the cake batter
Next, you’ll want to carefully fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Don’t just dump the entire bowl in with the wet ingredients at once though! Add the dry to the wet in increments whilst gently folding with your spatula in between.
Add the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 mins. Check the cake is ready by inserting a knife or toothpick into it, which should come out clean.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.
Glazing the cake
To make the glaze, simply add the icing sugar, ground cardamom, orange, and vanilla extract to a bowl and whisk until the ingredients form a smooth paste.
To glaze the cake, place a sheet of parchment paper under the cooling rack to catch any icing. Pour some of the glazes on top of the cake, wait a minute and allow the glaze to soak into the cake. Add more or fewer layers of glaze depending on your taste. Slice and serve.
What to expect from this recipe
- Makes the perfect cake loaf!
- Plant-based and vegan-friendly
- Flavors of delicious chai spice with zest orange
- Fluffy texture
- Full of fall vibes
- Easy to make
- Free from eggs, dairy, and all other animal-derived additives
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ★★★★★ rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!
- 4 tablespoons (60 g) loose leaf masala chai tea, or other chai tea of choice
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) chia seeds, *see notes
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) soy milk
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup (118 ml) maple syrup
- ¾ cup (94 g) apple puree
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) orange zest
- 1 ¾ cups (220 g) all purpose flour, sieved
- ½ cup (80 g) coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) baking powder, sieved
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) ground cinnamon, sieved
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) ground cardamom, sieved
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) ground ginger, sieved
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) ground nutmeg, sieved
- ¼ teaspoon (1.25 g) allspice, sieved
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 ½ cups (180 g) icing sugar, sieved
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) ground cardamom, sieved
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) orange juice
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Line an 8" loaf tin with parchment paper and set it aside.
- Add the loose-leaf chai tea to a cup and add 6 tablespoons of boiling water. Cover the cup and allow the tea to steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Prepare the chia egg by mixing the chia seeds and 2 ½ tablespoons water and allowing them to sit and soak for at least 5 minutes.
- To make the vegan "buttermilk" add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar to a small bowl, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Pass the chai tea through a sieve to separate the liquid and add it to a large bowl along with the prepared chia egg, vegan buttermilk mixture, and the remaining wet ingredients. Set aside.
- Add all of the dry ingredients to a separate bowl and whisk to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in approximately 3-4 increments, gently folding the mixture each time. Be careful not to over-mix, a few pockets of the flour are fine.
- Add the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 mins. Check the cake is ready by inserting a knife or toothpick into it, which should come out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by adding the ingredients to a bowl and whisking until smooth.
- Once the cake has cooled, place a sheet of parchment paper under the cooling rack to catch any icing. Pour the glaze on top of the cake, add more or less depending on your taste. Slice and serve.
- Store this cake in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Chia egg: Mix 1 tbsp chia seeds and 2.5 tbsp water and sit for at least 5 minutes before stirring.
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