Monday, April 20, 2009

Chai Cake w. Honey-Ginger Cream (TCS)

SCRUMPTIOUS!!! I think that succinctly describes The Cake Slice recipe for this month, Chai Cake w. Honey-Ginger Cream.

I went the baby cake route again, making a triple layer 4 inch cake. I cut the cake recipe in half, which provided enough batter for two 4 inch springform pans and 6 cupcakes.

The cake layers get its spicy note from chai tea (I used the Tazo brand), and augmented with cinnamon and cardamom. As part of the cake-making process, several chai tea bags are steeped in warm milk. With a little honey, I could have taken a straw and drank this tea-infused milk straight from the pot!
I also reduced the frosting recipe by half. My only slight issue with the frosting was its intense sweetness (and I didn't even use the full amount of powdered sugar in the recipe). This could have resulted from my substitution of crystalized ginger for fresh. To balance the sweetness, I added more cream cheese. Instead of an icing to drizzle on the cake layers, I ended up with a more traditional cream cheese frosting. The little golden bits you see in the frosting is the chopped crystalized ginger:
If you enjoy spice cakes (which I definitely do), this will make your tastebuds and tummy very happy.
Based on the six cakes that I've baked from the Sky High book, every recipe has been been an absolute winner! Not only are the cake/frosting combinations inspired, the final cakes are beautiful in presentation. My thanks goes out to Gigi for organizing this fantastic monthly baking group!!!

Although The Cake Slice group is closed to new members, I encourage you to get a copy of this fantastic cookbook and try your hand at these recipes --- I promise you won't regret it!

In the meantime, please visit the TCS blogroll to see the beautiful handiwork of my fellow talented bakers.

Chai Cake w. Honey Ginger Cream
From Sky High:Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake; serves 12-16

1 and 1/3 cups of milk
6 chai tea bags, without added sweetner, such as Tazo
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 and 3/4 cups of cake flour
2 cups of sugar
4 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 ounces of unsalted butter at room temp.

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of the pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the paper as well.

In a small saucepan bring the milk to a simmer over low med-low heat. Add the tea bags, careful not to let the paper tag fall into the milk. Remove from heat and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the teabags and squeeze out the milk. Let the chai milk cool completely.

In a medium bowl mix the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and 1/3 cup of the chai milk. Whisk together.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining chai milk, on med-low speed.

Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg mixture in three additions scraping the between additions. Divide the batter evenly among the pans.

Bake the cakes for 26-28 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes.Remove cakes from pans and peel off parchment paper. Cool completely.

To assemble the cake place one layer flat side down a serving plate and top with 2/3 cup of icing. Spread to the edge and repeat with second layer. Place third layer on top and spread the remaining ginger cream on top allowing it to drizzle down the sides of the cake like icicles.

Honey-Ginger Cream
2 and 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar {decreased to 1 1/2 cups}
6 ounces of cream cheese at room temp. {increased to 9 oz}
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temp.
1/2 cup of honey (any kind as long as liquid)
1/2 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger {substituted w. 1 1/2 tbsp finely minced crystalized ginger}

Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to blend together, then scrape the sides of the bowl and pulse until smooth.


Jo said...

Great job on your cake and the layers look fantastic.

Katie said...

Your cake looks fantastic and wonderfully moist. I agree that the icing was very very sweet. Love how you managed to ice the side of your cake so neatly.

Anonymous said...

Your cake looks wonderful. I love the swirls on top. Chai anything is delicious.

Teanna said...

This is the best cake I have EVER had and seriously, yours looks AMAZING! How did you get your in-between layers so thick?! GORGEOUS!

Mary Jo said...

i think this might be my favorite as well. i went with a more traditional cream cheese frosting too.

Steph said...

The cake looks amazing!! Your cakes always makes me want to get the book.

symphonious sweets said...

I love the way you frosted your cake! It looks great!

Engineer Baker said...

Again with the tiny tiny three layer cakes - you're killing me! Adorable.

vibi said...

Everything always look simply magnificient here!
Once again... you amaze me, Linda!

Caroline said...

crystalized ginger sounds like a good substitution. Nice swirls on top, what a lovely little cake!

Paige at The Spice House said...

I've made a cake that's the other way around (ginger cake with chai frosting) that was delightful, but I think yours might be even better. I love the crystallized ginger in the frosting, but I think I'll use fresh ginger too, to cut the sweetness. I only wish my frosting ever looked as pretty as yours does...

Monica H said...

Your frosting is so wonderfully swirly.

I too added a bit more butter and cream cheese because it was so sweet- but delicious!

I adore your cake plate, BTW! If it goes missing, you'll know where to look :-)

Jin Hooi said...

well done, your cake looks great !! I love the cake too!!

Anonymous said...

Is the recipe as printed for the 4" cake pans or for a full sized cake?

Loos scrumptious!!!

Linda said...

curly-kew- the recipe I've shared will make a pretty sizeable 8" triple layer cake.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i love your little cake with those fabulous swirls of frosting--just beautiful!

Lulu the Baker said...

Your cake is so gorgeous! And it looks really moist, which makes me think I did something very wrong!

Chris said...

Looks fantastic - so moist! And I love the flavor combo. I'm going to have to give this a try!

Miss Tish said...

Oh my....just the name of the cake made me gasp! This sounds a-may-zing! Can't wait to try and share this with friends!!! MMMMmmmmmmm.....

The Food Librarian said...

Love these minis. Too cute. Your frosting alternations are perfect. You got such a nice layer of cream cheese!

Stephanie said...


Ingrid_3Bs said...

Love your frosting to cake ratio!

Just a thought but do you think if you had used just a bit of fresh grated ginger as well as the crystalized it might have balanced the sweetness out?

anna said...

That looks really good! I recently made a chai custard. Chai is so awesome!

Nostalgic Nosh said...

My goodness this looks so moist and delicious! Brava!

chumpman said...

looks so good! simple but scrumptious!

Sweet Treats by Dani said...

i have seen this a few blogs this week, but i gotta say, your baby version is super cute :)

Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen said...

Yum, what a great combination! I am definitely book marking this recipe to make soon!

TeaLady said...

I did so want to make this cake. But I just did not have time. And chai is my all time favorite spice. Your little mini is adorable and looks SCRUMPTIOUS!!!!!

Mermaid Sews said...

Wow, your cake looks fantastic, you really did a nice job. I am so glad I got to join, i LOVED this cake.

Di's Kitchen said...

This cake looked so fabulous I ran right out and made it - I must have done something wrong because though it looked and smelled great it was dry, dry, dry. The flavor was there but the cake was just dry - what did I do wrong!!! Help!

Linda said...

Hi Di-

The cake should definitely be moist, so I'm sorry to hear that you're experiencing dry cake issues.

Hmmm...a couple of thoughts for you, as I've had my share of dry cakes:

- baking time: did you leave the cake in the oven too long?
- liquid measurement: did you have enough milk (I measure liquids after heating, as it may cook down/evaporate)
- undermixing: I was told by someone that undermixing will result with a dry cake.

I hope this helps, and that I hope you'll give this recipe another try! Linda

kellypea said...

This cake sounds heavenly. I love the idea of steeping the tea in the milk and like you would want to just drink it. Beautiful layers, and I'd have done the same with the frosting -- too much sweet makes me not able to taste the cake. Very nice.

Unknown said...

I attempted this cake without a mixer and it's in the oven now--the butter all rose to the top and it's bubbling even after mixing with a wisk for 20 minutes, and baking it for half an hour now. No birthday cake for me this year I guess.

Bean Sprout's Cafe said...

can i ask..I am worried about mixing butter this way.. cuz its not creaming method.. we just put butter in the dry ingredient and mix? is it hard? or i should cream the butter and sugar then add dry ingredients like normal butter cake?

I will make it for my friend's birthday this tuesday.. your cake looks stunning :D

Snooky doodle said...

oh !! I m hooked by this cake looks delicious

Anonymous said...

I have been looking at this recipe for a long time...and finally tried it last night. I was SO disappointed!!! The picture posted looks moist and dense - it was anything but dense and had a really odd texture. The flavor was okay, but certainly not great. :-( I really want to try again because I have great visions for this cake, but as-is, it was completely un-servable. Any idea what I did wrong??! I'd love some advice. I'm a bakery owner and have never had a cake turn out like this - but I've also never made a cake in the order listed. Anyway - amazing picture of a cake very different than mine!! :-)

Linda said...

Sorry to hear that you didn't get the results you've wanted. I've made this recipe a few times since this post (in both cake and cupcake form), and I've been pleased with the results.

It's tough for me to respond with advice, as I would need to understand what you mean by "odd" texture and "not great" taste. If you can give me a little more info, I'll do my best to help you out!


Anonymous said...

Well I can't really describe the texture. It was sortof bready. Almost like a yeast bread, but obviously without the yeast. Not dense at all - very very light in both weight and texture.

The flavor, like I said, was just didn't taste much like Chai to me. Sortof a spice cake, sure, but not chai. If it's possible, I may have over-steeped my tea (also used Tazo) because I forgot about the bags until it was almost cooled.

I can't figure out why it wasn't dense - the batter was very nice. Oh the other thing I forgot to mention was that every single cupcake sunk in the middle. They were definitely done - the bottoms were dry and they tested clean - but the middles had a quite deep indention.

I love love love the idea of this cake - and obviously others (and yourself!!!) have had great success - I just can't figure it out!

Thanks so much for trying to help! I really appreciate it!

Linda said...

Anonymous - This is my experience regarding taste and texture of this cake.

Regarding taste, the spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves) are the predominant flavors, and the black tea is secondary in this cake. Taste is such a personal thing...for me, the spices definitely reminded me of chai.

On to texture...This cake is definitely moist with a fine tender crumb. It isn't a dense cake by any means, but not the bready texture that you are describing. Based on your issue with the sunken cupcakes, that makes me think that the amount of leavener or oven temp may be the culprit of both of your issues.

Anonymous said...

Linda, I really want to make this cake to use for making cake truffles, but I'm making five other flavors of cake as well so I only need about a single layer of cake. I'm new to baking so I have no idea how to scale this recipe down. Could you please tell me the right measurements for the ingredients?

Linda said...

Hi anonymous,
Why don't you e-mail me directly, and I can help you scale this recipe down accordingly.

Chai cake truffles sound really delicious...what a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Linda - I adapted your yummy recipe and made a grain free version at -Carrol

Anonymous said...

Nice recipe!:O) I use one without eggs and with honey that is delicious too. Chai is soooo good!

Ruby said...

Hi there,

I made this cake this afternoon. I halved the quantity and made one loaf and a few small cupcakes with the leftover batter. Absolutely delicious! Thanks so much for the great recipe!

Benefits of ginger said...

mmmmmm, I like it. thnks for share

Anonymous said...

I made this cake with disastrous results!! As a VERY experienced baker my gut told me NOT to follow your instructions, but I did - I wasted expensive ingredients and my time! The bottom was almost rubbery, and as someone else commented, the texture was breadlike.

I decided to try it again using the tried and true way to make a cake - cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs one-at-a-time, then the vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and add alternately with the milk - beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

The batter had a smooth, silky appearance/texture, and it's in the oven right now, looking the way a cake should look!

Shawna said...

I am curious about the form of the butter when it is being added into the mixing bowl. Are you cubing or slicing it at all? Since you say room temperature butter, I'm sure you're not melting it, just trying to wrap my mind around it before I attempt it!

Thank you!

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