Slice of Chai Spice Cake On Plate With Fork Next To Full Cake and Another Slice of Cake.

Chai Spice Cake With Vanilla Bean Swiss Buttercream

This chai spice cake is a richly spiced dessert with a warm, inviting aroma. Moist and tender, this cake delivers exquisite flavor and flawless texture. With the addition of a light and luscious vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream, this cake is fragrant, sweet, well-balanced and completely drool-inducing.

Ever Harc is reader supported, therefore, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate, I may earn a small commission when you click on these affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.

My First Experience With Chai Spice

I first tried chai in a newly opened coffee shop. Having a local coffee shop was a pretty big deal for a town that was barely big enough to justify a Wal-Mart. I was super excited to have something new to do besides cruising the main mile-long strip of the town (ya know, when fuel was still affordable enough to just cruise around on).  And having recently turned 18 and officially and legally becoming an adult, I was anxious to try as many adult-like things as possible.

However, my previous experiences with coffee and tea were limited to strong and black and sun tea, respectively. So, in an attempt to cover my general ignorance of the items on the overwhelmingly unfamiliar menu, I asked the barista for a recommendation. She was quick to return with chai tea. When I asked what chai tea tasted like, her response hooked me – “Chai tea is like the most perfect hug you’ve ever had.” 

Needless to say, I was sold. 

And I can honestly say, she did not oversell it. Chai tea really is like a big, ole hug. The kind of hug that makes you feel safe and loved and warm all over. It’s like a mom hug 🙂

Chai Spice Cake On Glass Serving Dish Next to Plate With Vanilla and Cinnamon Sticks, Tea Towel.

What Is Chai Spice?

Since being transported to a new nirvana all those years ago by chai tea, I developed a love for all things chai. But what is chai?

Originating in India, the word ‘chai’ means ‘tea’ in Hindi. It is a special blend of black tea, milk, sweetener and various spices. 

Depending on the region and personal preferences, there is a fair amount of variation in the spices included as well as the ratios used. However, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, peppercorn and nutmeg are all common inclusions.

Altogether, the many components of chai tea harmoniously work together to create something warm and inviting, spicy and creamy. Not to mention satisfying and delicious.

Close Up of Chai Spice Cake That Has Been Cut Into. Slice of Cake In Background.

What Is The Reverse Creaming Method?

Reverse creaming is a baking method that introduces the fat (butter, shortening) to the dry ingredients instead of creaming the butter with the sugar first. 

This method was featured in The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum which seems to be a variation of the double-quick method introduced by Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book in the 1950s. 

Reverse creaming is gaining in popularity because it is a virtually foolproof way to create a cake with a tender, velvety texture.  

By mixing the flour with the fats before adding the liquid, the fat coats the flour and creates a protective layer. This protective layer reduces the amount of gluten formed. While gluten development is key to breadmaking, it makes for tough cakes. By inhibiting gluten formation, you’re increasing your chances of baking a light cake with a tender crumb. 

The reverse creaming method is also shown to produce flatter and sturdier cakes. So cakes made with this method are more visually appealing and better able to stand up to layering. 

I like this method because it is virtually impossible to make a tough cake due to overmixing making this a great technique for beginners.

Ingredients For Chai Spice Cake In Glass Bowls Next To Tea Towels.

Using Swiss Buttercream For Chai Spice Cake

While I’m a big fan of cake, I’m not always a big fan of frosting. A lot of frostings suffer from being cloyingly sweet, heavy and even grainy. 

Swiss meringue buttercream solves all of these common frosting problems. By nature, Swiss buttercream is light and airy, smooth and subtle. And it strikes the perfect balance with this chai spice cake. 

I used to be fairly intimidated by making Swiss meringue buttercream. When I read the how-tos, it all seemed like voodoo magic with limited chance of success and a multitude of opportunities for things to go horribly, horribly wrong. 

While there is some technique involved, I’m here to tell you that it does not require a knowledge of voodoo magic to achieve silky, smooth Swiss buttercream (although I may still tell my kids this just to keep them on their toes). 

Swiss buttercream is also pretty forgiving so even if things start to go sideways (and they still do for me sometimes when I get into a hurry), a lot of the common mishaps are fixable. See the Tips and Tricks section below for fixes to common Swiss buttercream pitfalls. 

So, if you’re sick of grainy frosting weighing down your delicious desserts, it’s worth taking the plunge and trying your hand at Swiss buttercream. Trust me, when you taste this glossy, creamy, light frosting, you’ll be so glad you overcame your fear of heating egg whites over a double-boilers 🙂 

Close Up of Corner of Chai Spice Cake Next to Cinnamon Sticks, Vanilla and Tea Towel.

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t have cake flour on hand? Not a problem. You can doctor up your own cake flour. Just measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace with two tablespoons of cornstarch. Of course, you can always just stick to good, ole reliable all-purpose flour, and you’ll still have a positively yummy cake 🙂 
  • Use the wrappers from the stick butter in this recipe to grease your cake pans. 
  • Have trouble cutting your square parchment paper to fit into the bottom of your round cake pans? No worries! Fold your parchment paper in half. Then fold in half lengthwise again. Next, fold into a triangle, then fold into another triangle. Flip your cake pan over so the bottom is facing up. Place the folded point in the approximate center of your pan and cut the parchment paper along the edge of the cake pan. Unfold and voila! A perfectly sized, round piece of parchment.
  • Oh, and don’t just toss that excess parchment. Use it later to put underneath your cake when frosting to keep your plate or serving platter pretty and clean. We eat with our eyes first, after all!
Piece of Parchment Paper Folded In Half Next To Towel, Scissors and Cake Pan.
Someone Folding Parchment Paper In Half Next to Scissors, Towel and Cake Pan.
Someone Folding a Piece of Parchment Paper for the Bottom of a Cake Pan.
Someone Folding Parchment Paper For a Cake Pan.
Someone Holding Folded Parchment Paper Against Cake Pan to Measure Before Cutting.
Overhead View of Piece of Parchment Paper In Bottom of Cake Pan.
  • The Swiss buttercream recipe calls for room-temperature egg whites. However, it’s a lot easier to separate cold eggs. So separate fresh out of the fridge and then allow the whites to come to room temperature. 
  • If a pesky eggshell made its way into your egg white when separating, use another piece of eggshell to scoop it back out. Works much better than using your fingers or a spoon to remove.
  • To ensure that no egg yolk makes it into your whites, I recommend separating the eggs one at a time into a separate bowl before adding them all together. That way, if some yolk breaks through, it won’t contaminate all of the eggs, just the one you’re working with at the time. 
  • Before making your Swiss buttercream, make sure that your bowl and all utensils are completely free of any leftover fat residue. A quick way to ensure this is to run your items down with lemon and then wipe with a towel.
  • Probably the biggest pitfall with making Swiss buttercream is adding the butter when the egg mixture is still too hot. When added too soon, the buttercream will be loose and soupy. Don’t worry, this is totally fixable! Just pop the bowl into the freezer for 10 minutes or so to cool everything down and whip it back up.
Close Up of Partially Eaten Slice of Chai Spice Cake With Whole Cake in Background.

Method

Chai Spice Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease two 9” round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. See Tips and Tricks section for a quick how-to on how easily cut the parchment paper to fit. 

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and half the sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer

With the paddle attachment installed and your mixer running on low speed, add the room temperature butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Allow each tablespoon to fully incorporate before adding the next. You should end up with a clumpy, sandy mixture.

Close Up of Reverse Creamed Flour In Bowl of Kitchen Aid Mixture By Other Bowls.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, eggs, yogurt, chai tea latte concentrate, milk and vanilla extract. I received a container of Tazo Chai Latte concentrate as a bonus item with a grocery delivery subscription. Otherwise, I might never have tried it. It is very good, but it is by no means crucial to this recipe. If this isn’t something you keep on hand or don’t want to purchase, just replace with another ¼ of whole milk. I will say this – the Tazo Chai Latte concentrate also makes amazing pancakes so there may be another recipe with this product in the near future…

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed. I like to do this in 2 batches, beating for a minute or two each time. You should end up with a smooth, thick batter. 

Divide the batter equally between your prepared cake pans. Smooth down the top and tap the pans on the counter a couple of times to release air bubbles. 

Bake in the center of your oven for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing from the pans and frosting.

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Add your egg whites and sugar to a heatproof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water being careful not to let the bottom of the bowl come in contact with the water. 

Whisk the egg whites and sugar continuously for about 5-7 minutes. When ready, the mixture should be smooth when rubbed between two fingers ensuring all of the sugar has dissolved. You can also double-check with an instant-read thermometer. The mixture should register at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Then pour your egg white mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. This takes time, so don’t be surprised if this takes anywhere from 10-17 minutes. Depending on region and humidity, the timing can vary.

Someone Holding Whip Attachment Showing Stiff Peaks of Meringue. Mixer, Knife and Towel in Back

Before beginning the next step, make sure that the meringue is at room temperature. If it’s too warm, the butter will melt and your mixture will turn soupy. (If this does happen, it is fixable! See Tips and Tricks on how to repair soupy buttercream.)

Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time with your mixer on medium-high speed, allowing each addition to incorporate fully before adding the next. 

Then switch the mixer to low speed and add the salt, vanilla extract and vanilla beans. Mix for about 45 seconds or until fully incorporated. Don’t toss those vanilla bean pods! Get the most out of your vanilla by adding the scraped pods to Homemade Vanilla Sugar or Homemade Vanilla Extract. 

Then frost your cooled cakes, serve and enjoy!

Chai Spice Cake Frosted With Vanilla Bean Swiss Buttercream By Tea Towels, Cinnamon Sticks, Plates.
Close Up of Corner of Chai Spice Cake Next to Cinnamon Sticks, Vanilla and Tea Towel.

Chai Spice Cake With Vanilla Bean Swiss Buttercream

This chai spice cake is a richly spiced dessert with a warm, inviting aroma. Moist and tender, this cake delivers exquisite flavor and flawless texture. With the addition of a light and luscious vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream, this cake is fragrant, sweet, well-balanced and completely drool-inducing.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 392 kcal

Ingredients
  

Chai Spice Cake

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup chai tea latte concentrate
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • vanilla beans from 1 split pod
  • tsp salt

Instructions
 

Chai Spice Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease two 9” round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, all spice and half the sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer.
  • With the paddle attachment installed and your mixer running on low speed, add the room temperature butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Allow each tablespoon to fully incorporate before adding the next. You should end up with a clumpy, sandy mixture.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, eggs, yogurt, chai tea latte concentrate, milk and vanilla extract.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed. I like to do this in 2 batches, beating for a minute or two each time. You should end up with a smooth, thick batter.
  • Divide the batter equally between your prepared cake pans. Smooth down the top and tap the pans on the counter a couple of times to release air bubbles.
  • Bake in the center of your oven for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing from the pans and frosting.

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Add your egg whites and sugar to a heatproof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water being careful not to let the bottom of the bowl come in contact with the water.
  • Whisk the egg whites and sugar continuously for about 5-7 minutes. When ready, the mixture should be smooth when rubbed between two fingers ensuring all of the sugar has dissolved. You can also double check with an instant read thermometer. The mixture should register at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Then pour your egg white mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. This takes time, so don’t be surprised if this takes anywhere from 10-17 minutes. Depending on region and humidity, the timing can vary.
  • Before beginning the next step, make sure that the meringue is at room temperature. If it’s too warm, the butter will melt and your mixture will turn soupy.
  • Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time with your mixer on medium-high speed, allowing each addition to incorporate fully before adding the next.
  • Then switch the mixer to low speed and add the salt, vanilla extract and vanilla beans. Mix for about 45 seconds or until fully incorporated.
  • Then frost your cooled cakes, serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Don’t have cake flour on hand? Not a problem. You can doctor up your own cake flour. Just measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace with two tablespoons of cornstarch. Of course, you can always just stick to good, ole reliable all-purpose flour, and you’ll still have a positively yummy cake 🙂
  • The Swiss buttercream recipe calls for room-temperature egg whites. However, it’s a lot easier to separate cold eggs. So separate fresh out of the fridge and then allow the whites to come to room temperature. 
  • If a pesky eggshell made its way into your egg white when separating, use another piece of eggshell to scoop it back out. Works much better than using your fingers or a spoon to remove.
  • To ensure that no egg yolk makes it into your whites, I recommend separating the eggs one at a time into a separate bowl before adding them all together. That way, if some yolk breaks through, it won’t contaminate all of the eggs, just the one you’re working with at the time. 
  • Before making your Swiss buttercream, make sure that your bowl and all utensils are completely free of any leftover fat residue. A quick way to ensure this is to run your items down with lemon and then wipe with a towel.
  • Probably the biggest pitfall with making Swiss buttercream is adding the butter when the egg mixture is still too hot. When added too soon, the buttercream will be loose and soupy. Don’t worry, this is totally fixable! Just pop the bowl into the freezer for 10 minutes or so to cool everything down and whip it back up. 
Keyword Chai Spice Cake, Cake, Vanilla Bean, Swiss Buttercream

Chai Spice Cake pairs perfectly with a hot cup of coffee, cold glass of milk or a mug of this London Fog Tea Latte!

If you love this recipe, be sure to share the love on social media! Your support is always appreciated 🙂 

Like this post? Share it!

Are You On the List?

SUBSCRIBE FOR EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO THE EVER HARC LIBRARY OF FREE RESOURCES!

STAY CONNECTED AND FOLLOW ME

5 1 vote
Article Rating
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Courtney
2 months ago

5 stars
I know I will love this as I’m a huge fan of chai flavors!