Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chai Spice Tea Cake

My best friend is getting married on Saturday and I have the honor of making her a wedding cake. Luckily, it's a small, intimate ceremony with about a dozen people, so I'm able to just make a 9-inch round layer cake. She was wanting a spice cake since it's almost fall and I offered to bake her two sample cakes: a chai tea cake and an applesauce spice cake.

I loved, loved, loved this chai tea cake. It's not that sweet, meaning I can eat it for breakfast (yesss!) and it has a nice, subtle spicy flavor that goes well with the whipped "cream" I made for it. I prefer this cake over the applesauce spice cake, though both a very good.

Since this was a tester cake I halved all the ingredients to get a small one-layer cake. The recipe posted however, contains the full amount of all the ingredients so you'll get two layers. The whipped cream-cream cheese frosting is a real fluffy type of topping, that was actually made for the applesauce spice cake. It's good, so I just like to dab it on this one, but a sprinkling of sifted powdered sugar is recommended for this cake (the cream cheese frosting recipe will be in the applesauce cake post).

Also, no-one at the wedding is vegan, but my friend has some dietary issues (no nuts, no dairy, low sugar) and the groom's mom is allergic to citric acids/citrus fruits. It was decided by the bride that a vegan cake was a very good idea. Anywho. This chai cake was awesome, and I'd like to mess around with this recipe again as a sort of breakfast coffee cake, because that would be badass. Just because I feel the need to be honest, this recipe is very loosely based off a recipe from Cooking Light magazine. I feel the need to emphasize very loosely, lol.

Note: Before baking the cake I prepared a 9-inch round. I sprayed the bottom and the sides with some nonstick spray and then I lined the sides with sections of parchment paper. Using the bottom of the pan as a stencil, I then cut a round piece of parchment paper and set that inside. Once the pan was entirely lined with paper I gave the bottom a quick spray with some more nonstick.

This makes it super easy to get the cake out and it also makes the bottoms and the sides come out perfectly. This step must be done if you're making a wedding cake because it prevents crumbly, ripped sides. Even if you're not making a wedding cake, a parchment bottom will keep the cake from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  

Chai Spice Tea Cake:
6 chai tea bags (I used Tazo brand)
1 1/2 c. coconut milk (use leftover coconut milk in the can, then add water or plant milk to make 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 Tb. rice vinegar
4 Tb. Earth Balance (1/2 stick), softened
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted then measured
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
Egg replacer for two eggs
2 1/2 c. cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla (1 tsp. if it's imitation vanilla)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk to simmer. Add the tea bags and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, squeeze the liquid out of the tea bags, and place in the fridge to cool.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and sea salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat the Earth Balance, white sugar, brown sugar, and coconut oil until combined. Mix the egg replaced with water, then blend that into the creamed sugars. Beat in the vanilla.

4. Add the vinegar to the coconut chai tea mixture and stir. Alternately mix in the dry ingredients and the chai tea mixture, beating until combined. Don't overbeat.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes. The cake is done when it springs back slightly and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve with sifted powdered sugar and a nice cup of strong black coffee!

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