This cake was inspired by a small coffee shop that used to be open in upstate New York called Aromaround. One of their most popular offers was a big white coffee mug filled with steaming raspberry chai tea. It was sipped by locals and tourists alike while they gazed out the window looking over the snow falling on the small town in the Adirondacks. The two flavors work really well together, well enough to transform the simple cup of tea into a delectable dessert and leave your kitchen with the amazing aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and other seasoning spices. This cake has the spice flavor of fresh-brewed chai but is mellow enough that it won’t throw off your taste buds or burn your tongue like the tea might. The smooth spice flavor is best combined with the refreshing jam that is a healthier alternative to frosting. Choose your favorite jelly or jam or dig up an old family recipe to spread on top of your slice. It works well with other berry jams, too, like strawberry.
This cake is a nice break from the standard boxed yellow cake mix. While kids might not enjoy it right away, save it as a treat for yourself. It’s a mature take on baking that is sure to bring your hectic life down a little when you sit down to take a bite. This cake is best enjoyed with your morning cup of tea or coffee but can also be a great dessert. Served warm or cold, this cake will be a comforting treat this winter season.
Serves: 10-12 Cake Squares
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 Minutes
- 1 ¼ cup whole or reduced fat milk
- 5 Chai tea bags
- ¾ cup butter, unsalted and softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Raspberry Jam or Jelly
Take the butter and the eggs out of the refrigerator so that they come to room temperature. This is an important step because it keeps the cake moist. Cutting the butter into cubes will help speed up the softening.
Heat milk in a small sauce pan until very warm, but be careful not to let the milk boil. Unwrap the tea bags and put them in a glass measuring cup. Pour the hot milk over the tea bags into the cup. Let them steep for five to eight minutes or until milk reaches room temperature and the milk is light brown and has a heavy chai aroma.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 by 11 baking pan and sprinkle flour into it so it covers the entire pan on the bottom and the sides.
While the milk is cooling, with an electric mixer or standing mixing start to beat the butter until it is smooth. Once the butter is smooth, cream together the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
Crack the eggs into two separate ramekins to be sure that there are no egg shells. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed between each addition until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder. Use a fork to sift the flour and mix all of the ingredients together and so that the mixture does not have any clumps.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the eggs, butter and sugar. Alternate adding the flour with adding the room temperature milk, beating well between each addition. Batter should be pale brown, smooth and have no lumps.
Pour the cake batter into the baking pan and spread so it’s evenly distributed.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean without any batter. Check the cake at 20 minutes first to be sure that it doesn’t dry out. Continue to check and the cake should not take longer than 25 minutes to bake, depending on your oven.
Cut into squares and spread about a tablespoon of jam or jelly on top. This cake is best served fresh out of the oven and warm. It can be re-heated in the kitchen and should be eaten within two to three days.