Updated: Mar 30
A TWIST ON THE OLD FASHIONED VANILLA CAKE WITH A HEALTHY DOSE OF CHAI TEA AND JAGGERY TO SPICE THINGS UP
Growing up, I was never a big tea drinker - quite a point of contention as a Sri Lankan. However, during my postgrad dissertation days, my palette expanded to accept just two types of tea: black tea or black tea with spices (there were only so many cups of coffee I could cope with).
To me, the infusion of fresh ginger or the tickle of spices in a cuppa evokes an incredible sense of comfort - like a hug in a mug! Naturally, I had to capture it in a cake. I jazzed up my Hot Milk Cake recipe with some Chai and Jaggery (a natural unrefined sweetener sourced either from sugar cane or palm trees, with similar properties to brown sugar) and voila - this Hot Milk Chai Cake was born.
Of course, I couldn't pick just any blend of tea for this experiment. Keeping with my ethos of supporting small business and incredible humans, I chose to finally purchase one of Uppma's hand-crafted blends. Better known to most as Australia's own Chai Walli, her business is all about nurturing age-old traditions and Ayurvedic principles; transforming your oridnary cup of Chai into something else! I find her absolutely inspiring and had to have some of her family's magical blends in my creation.
So go on, grab your favourite chai blend and give this cake a whirl. Do share your creations with me - flick me a note or tag me on Instagram so I can see.
I left it to my Instagram tribe to decide the frosting for this one. Toffee cream was the clear winner over brown butter - it's a beautiful pairing! I was too lazy to go out and purchase the light brown sugar that the recipe called for and subbed in dark brown sugar that I had instead. This was a mistake. The resultant toffee cream was a little too sweet for my liking. If I could do it all over again, I would get the correct sugar; or serve this with a dollop of cream and a cup of Chai. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did.
Tip: if you skip the frosting; store the cake at room temperature in an air tight container. If you pop it in the fridge; do give it a few minutes to come to room temperature so you can enjoy the pillowy-soft texture at it's finest.
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Yield: approx. 500g of batter for a 6"cake that can be sandwiched.
100g white sugar
75g Jaggery (you can use dark brown sugar instead)
3 Tbsp Chai Tea - I used Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai (Caffeine Free)
1 tsp vanilla
125g unsifted plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Recipe from: Tassy Bakes
160g soft light brown sugar
110ml double cream
pinch sea salt
In a bowl, mix the white sugar and Jaggery, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, gradually adding the sugars. Continue beating for at least 5 minutes until light and pale brown.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind one tablespoon of chai tea to a fine powder. Sift together ground chai, flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a saucepan, add the remaining two tablespoons of chai, vanilla, milk and butter. Heat the mix until the milk is hot and butter is melted, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil to steep the Chai and ensure the flavours are released into the mixture. Take it off the heat, strain and set aside.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to egg mixture in spoonfuls until just combined. Stir in the hot milk mix. Fold together quickly until comined and pour into two greased 6-inch cake pans lined with baking paper. Bake in a 180°C (356°F) oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Place the cream and sugar in a saucepan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved and you are left with a smooth caramel coloured cream. Remove from heat, add salt (to taste) and set aside to cool completely.
Once your cream has cooled take the butter and whisk (in a stand mixer or with electric beaters) until it reaches a light, whipped consistency then gradually add your toffee cream. Continue to add cream until you reach your desired flavour and consistency; whisking until the mixture has thickened and is spreadable.
To assemble, place a layer of chai cake on your serving plate. Spread a layer of toffee cream. Place the final layer of cake and cover the cake with remaining frosting.