Being Chinese, tea drinking is big in my culture.  You drink it boiling hot, strong and straight up.  No sugar, no milk – just tea leaves and burn-your-tongue hot water.  So when I tried chai for the first time, I hated it.  Sure, I used to drink coffee with a ton of cream and would let the white sugar pour into the cup, but milk in tea is just wrong.  Even when the whole boba milk tea craze was in full swing, I just couldn’t get into it.  Every time I tried it, I thought, maybe this time it’ll taste better.  Nope, still don’t like it.

I do like spices, though, and, strangely, love the heady scent of hot chai so I went searching for the same flavors in a different form.  And what I found was this.  Could I actually like chai?  In a cake?

Heck, yeah!

So once I had a recipe to start with, I picked it apart and came up with a version that didn’t include wheat or refined sugar.  This grain-free, gluten-free chai cake is spongy, fragrant and delicious.

Chai Cake

Makes one 8 x 8 square cake or 12 cupcakes

3/4 cup coconut milk, full fat

3 chai tea bags (I used rooibos chai tea)

6 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 to 1/3 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon stevia

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease or line cake or muffin pan.
  2. Steep tea bags in coconut milk over low heat for 5 – 10 minutes.
  3. Mix wet ingredients together.  Slowly add tea infused coconut milk.
  4. Mix dry ingredients together.  Combine wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes for 8 x 8 cake or 18 minutes for cupcakes.  Because honey tends to burn, check the cake periodically and adjust the temperature as necessary.

For me, this cake is sweet enough on its own and I don’t normally use frosting.  But I made it over the weekend for my cousin Emma’s baby shower (she’s having a boy next month, yay!!!) and wanted to dress it up for the special occasion.  The honey ginger cream was a perfect fit.  Unlike the original recipe, this version of the frosting lacks the powdered sugar so it will be much softer and will need to be refrigerated if you are not eating it right away.

Honey Ginger Cream

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup raw honey

1/2 teaspoon stevia

1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated

  1. Combine everything and beat until smooth.
  2. Frost after cake has completely cooled.

Final verdict: chai tea = yucky, chai cake = yummy!