Chai Latte Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Chai Latte Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Chai latte cake took my fancy when I was approached to create mocktail recipes for a brand; and as usual, my mind wandered off to where it usual does – cakes!

I took my time in coming to this – the chai cake is fairly done, but I wanted something a bit more rich. I like the heady scents of the chai spices – vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and star anise – combining magically with black tea, but I wanted more depth. So I added some honey and I also chose to snip open the tea bags and pour the contents for a stronger taste. It’s easy for the tea to get enveloped into the batter and lose it’s strength – which I learnt after three attempts.

I have tried many kinds of teas and tea bags to get the right ‘chai spice’ mix – and ultimately what worked best was regular Brooke Bond tea bags, along with added help from real ground spices of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg.

I slather a layer of honey over the cake afterwards followed by a beautiful burned butter frosting infused with even more chai spices and then some pistachios, because, well the world is always better with pistachios!

For those of you that are tea snobs and only use premium quality loose leaf, I have news for you. When it comes to baking, the tea bags are the best kinds – simply because they have the strongest flavours, best colour and are able to retain it’s strength against the other ingredients of the cake. Perhaps this cake is your reason to go get some?

The frosting is a lovely and gorgeous browned butter buttercream – a fair bit indulgent, and maybe unnecessary, but has cake ever really been necessary? Browned butter is a something I’ve been leaning toward a lot recently – using it in cake batter, cookie dough and biscuits. This butter is cooked and continuously stirred on the stovetop to brown, then set aside to cool down, with all the browned bits (this has all the flavour!) and then whisked with icing sugar, spices and some milk into a scrumptious frosting that will have you licking your fingers!

The Recipe
Serves 8


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 strong chai tea bags
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp honey
  • chopped pistachios
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp clove powder
  • pinch of nutmeg


  • Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease and flour a 9” cake tin.
  • Gently warm the milk and infuse the tea bags and leave for at least 20 minutes.
  • Remove the tea bags and snip them open and empty out the contents into the milk tea.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  • Whisk the butter, sugar and honey in a mixing bowl until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla, followed by the spices and whisk until combined.
  • Add the milk in and give the batter a few more whisks.
  • Fold the flour in with a spatula and ensure all combined.
  • Pour into loaf tin and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Once cake is removed the oven, allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before converting into the serving plate.
  • Brush 2 tsp of honey over the cake, while its warm.
  • In a small pot, heat the butter with vanilla pod until melted and bubbling, whisking occasionally to include all the browned bits.
  • Remove from heat and let the butter solidify.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk the butter, with the spices and icing sugar. Then add the milk just for a little consistency, as much needed.
  • Spread the frosting over the cake and sprinkle some pistachios over.

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The recipes are tried and tested, some are adapted from various places, and a few are passed down; but every one of them comes straight from the heart.