What to expect from this vegan chai cake

This vegan vanilla chai cake is light, soft and fluffy, flavorful, and utterly delicious. The batter is infused with a vanilla chai latte and then warming chai spices are added to help those flavors really shine in the recipe. 

The cake itself is sweetened with maple syrup and made using cashew butter in place or regular vegan stick butter which also adds to the flavor of the cake. Although I highly recommend whipping up a half batch of this vanilla cream cheese frosting which takes this spiced chai cake to the next level!

closeup of vanilla chai tea sheet cake.Pin

Ingredients overview

  • Loose chai:  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.
  • Oat milk: I like to use oat milk but you can opt for any plant-based milk of your choice here. Oat milk or soya milk works well. 
  • Cashew butter: Instead of regular stick butter this recipe calls for cashew butter. This creates a slightly "healthier" cake as well as adds a delicious buttery cashew flavor.
  • Maple syrup: This is my go-to liquid sweetener for vegan baking. It adds sweetness and a beautiful maple flavor.
  • Apple sauce: As well as being a binding agent and adding a touch of sweetness to the recipe, apple sauce helps this chai cake to stay moist after baking – and for several days afterward.
  • Vanilla extract: We can't have vanilla chai without some!
  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour works best for this cake and keeps it light and fluffy. I have tried making it with almond flour and it also tastes amazing, but the cake will have a more fudgy consistency.
  • Chai spices: This vegan sheet cake calls for a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg.
  • Baking soda and baking powder: These are the leavening agents for this cake.
  • Salt: As always, a little salt in baked goods acts as a flavor enhancer and helps to bring out those delicious vanilla chai flavors.
ingredients to make chai cake.Pin

How to make a light and fluffy chai cake (with step-by-step images)

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this post)

  1. First, prepare the chai. Add the hot water to a saucepan with the loose chai and then add in the plant-based milk. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes, as we want the liquid to infuse with those lovely chai flavors. Once ready pass the mixture through a sieve to remove any loose tea.
  2. Combine all of the wet ingredients (chai mixture, cashew butter, maple syrup, apple sauce, and vanilla extract). Whisk until smooth.
  3. Now add the dry ingredients to the bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chai spices) and carefully fold them into the wet ingredients. You don't need a completely uniform batter, a few pockets of flour is fine. It's always better not to over-mix.
  4. Add the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes. 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 20 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.
  5. Meanwhile, make the vegan cream cheese frosting if you're using it (I recommend half a batch for this recipe). Once the cake has cooled, frost as desired.

Expert tips

Storage tips

Store this cake in an airtight container at room temperature and it will stay fresh for 2-3 days. If you plan on refrigerating this chai cake then I'd recommend taking it out to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours to allow it to soften up a little before serving.

Serving tips

This vegan chai cake tastes amazing on its own alongside a warm cup of vanilla chai latte. But if you want to take it to the next level, I highly recommend whipping up some vanilla cream cheese frosting to smother on top of it.

Substitutions

All-purpose flour: You can use almond flour, however it significantly changes the consistency of this cake. The cake turns out more fudge-y, more so like vanilla chai blondies than a fluffy sheet cake.

Cashew butter: Feel free to swap this out with almond butter or tahini.

Apple sauce: Make this a chai pumpkin spice cake by swapping out the apple sauce for pumpkin puree.

chai sheet cake with cream cheese frosting.Pin

More vegan fall desserts

More vegan cakes

Vanilla Chai Cake

4.81 from 21 votes
PREP TIME: 20 mins
COOK TIME: 30 mins
TOTAL TIME: 50 mins
Servings: 12
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Description

Fluffy and light vegan vanilla chai cake that's packed with flavour and warming chai spices. Best served with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. This cake makes the perfect snack for a cosy fall afternoon tea!

Ingredients

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 5 tablespoons (75 g) loose chai, or 5 chai tea bags
  • cup (80 ml) oat milk, or other plant based milk
  • ½ cup (118 ml) water, boiled
  • ½ cup (128 g) smooth cashew butter , or smooth almond butter
  • ½ cup (118 ml) pure maple syrup
  • cup (82 g) apple sauce
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ cups (188 g) all purpose flour, sifted
  • ¾ teaspoon (3 g) baking powder, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 g) baking soda, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon (3 g) sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon (1 g) ground nutmeg
  • ½ batch vanilla cream cheese frosting, optional

Instructions

  • Line an 8x8" square pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F).
  • Add the loose chai to a saucepan with the oat milk and water. If using teabags, cut them open and empty the contents into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer on medium heat and continue to heat for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the hob and allow it to steep for another 5 minutes before passing through a sieve to remove the loose tea.
  • Add the chai mixture to a large bowl along with the cashew butter, maple syrup, apple sauce, and vanilla extract. Whisk until evenly mixed.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and gently fold them in using a spatula. Be careful not to over-mix, a few pockets of flour visible in the batter is ok.
  • Add the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes. 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 20 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.
  • Meanwhile, make the vegan cream cheese frosting if you're using it. Once the cake has cooled, frost as desired.

Storage

  • This cake will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. If refrigerated, allow it to come back to room temperature before serving to allow the frosting to soften.

Notes

  • Nutrition calculation is based on one serving without cream cheese frosting.
  • If you want to take it to the next level, I highly recommend whipping up some vanilla cream cheese frosting to smother on top of it.
  • All-purpose flour: You can use almond flour, however it significantly changes the consistency of this cake. The cake turns out more fudge-y, more so like vanilla chai blondies than a fluffy sheet cake.
  • Cashew butter: Feel free to swap this out with almond butter or tahini.
  • Apple sauce: Make this a chai pumpkin spice cake by swapping out the apple sauce for pumpkin puree.

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg
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6 Comments

    1. I haven't tried that before, but I don't see why not. You would just need to make sure that the same amount of liquid goes into the recipe. So still add the half cup of water 🙂

    1. This is so great to hear, thank you so much for your feedback Nathan! I saw your cupcakes over on Instagram and they were gorgeous.

  1. Hey Christina,

    Do you think this sheet cake could be used to make cupcakes instead?
    I am going to try subbing AP GF flour instead of normal, hopefully will come out just as good..

    Love the sound of the flavour combo!

    Thanks for all the inspriational recipe ideas!

    1. Hi Aimee,

      Yes I think it will work fine for cupcakes, just keep an eye on them at around 18-25 minutes I would say. Oh and do let me know if you try the GF flour 🙂