Chai Cake

4.90 from 19 votes

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This tender chai cake is spiced with chai-infused milk, extra spices, and topped off with a spiced cream cheese frosting.

side view of slice of chai cake with cinnamon sticks and a fork

I love cinnamon. Love it. It’s actually my favorite spice to bake with (see all of my recipes with cinnamon!), but I don’t use it a ton in the warmer months, so I really like to hit it hard once fall rolls around!

Many many years ago, my blogger friend Amy posted an amazing chai cake, completely gluten free. She posted it in what was our summer, but because of the funny way the planet works out, it was winter time for her.

whole chai cake decorated with cinnamon sticks

I waited patiently the two months until my birthday to bake that cake (completely gluten-full) because a spiced cake was the last thing on my mind in July.

And it was seriously the best birthday present I gave to myself that year.

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I decided that this year, it was the perfect gift to, again, give myself, so after we finished up the last crumbs of my snickerdoodle cookie cake, I baked this treasure to have on my actual birthday.

whole chai cake decorated with cinnamon sticks

Amy helped me make this cake completely gluten-y (that’s the opposite of gluten free if you didn’t know), so if you’re hoping for a gluten-free version, you can simply use an all-purpose 1:1 sub or buckwheat flour (which is what Amy used in her original recipe).

As per her suggestion, I did swap out almond meal for ground flaxseed simply for texture’s sake, but if you’d like to keep the almond meal, see the notes in the recipe on that one.

cup of chai tea on a saucer with a spoon

For those of you who have never had chai, it is a spicy blend of fennel seed, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. It is a supremely fragrant black tea, and when combined with hot milk and a little sugar, it becomes one killer cold weather beverage.

cup of chai tea on a saucer with a spoon

I’m not a tea drinker at all, but hand me a cup of chai and I will drink up every last drop!

I also enjoy flavoring desserts with chai. See my baked chai donuts, chai spiced granola, chai streusel muffins, and chai spiced oatmeal cookies.


aerial view of chai tea bags steeping in milk in a pot

You’ll start by steeping 2 chai tea bags in some warm milk. It’s important you don’t let the milk boil as you will lose a lot of your moisture to evaporation. I like to pour my milk back into a measuring cup and replace any milk that did evaporate by nature (usually only about a Tablespoon or less).

chai-infused milk in a glass measuring cup

Once steeped, the bags actually get cut open and the plethora of spices packed into that tea bag are let loose to roam around in the milk to kick the spice up a notch (or three).

aerial view of chai-infused milk

This step smells amazing. And guess what?

It only gets better from here, because the cream cheese frosting slathered on top is flavored with the same spices that you’ll find inside the cake.

Really, this goes nowhere but up.

side view of chai cake with cup of chai tea in background

After you’re done spicing up your milk, this cake is in your round pan and ready to bake in a snap.

The recipe is pretty straight forward, but you’re just going to want to remember not to over mix your batter.

chai cake with slice taken out of it

You want to keep your crumb nice and soft, so mix your wet team into your dry team gently and stop when everything has just come together.

This cake… Wow. First of all, I’ve considered baking one every single day just so our house can smell as amazing over and over again. Even the kiddos have commented on the aromas floating around the house!

aerial view of chai cake with slice taken out of it

Truly, the smell alone tempts me to throw on my oversized sweater and leggings and grab a pumpkin to carve. Perhaps you’ll feel the same way?

What I love most about this cake is that it isn’t overly sweet by any means. It is the perfect amount of spice without tasting savory, and just enough sweet to go perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea (read: it is completely acceptable to eat this as breakfast).

aerial photo of chai cake on a red plate

I would even go so far as to say if you left the cream cheese frosting off of this cake, it would still be a perfect chilly weather snack.

And if you’re wondering, YES, you can absolutely turn this into a two layer cake: double the cake and frosting recipes and you’re all set.

piece of chai cake with bite taken out and bite sitting on the end of a fork

Spice, sugar, creamy cream cheesy frosting, and a steamy cup of tea or coffee (with pumpkin spice coffee creamer, of course). Sounds like something you need in your life ASAP.

chai cake with slice taken out of it
4.90 from 19 votes
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Chai Cake

This tender chai cake is spiced with chai-infused milk, extra spices, and topped off with a spiced cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time45 minutes
Bake Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 10 servings



  • ¾ cup (180g) milk any kind, any fat content
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 1 and ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
  • ¾ cup (112g) ground flaxseed*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter melted and allowed to cool
  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • ¼ cup (62g) plain yogurt or sour cream any fat content, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 4 ounces (112g) full fat cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons (15-30g) milk or cream any



  • In a small saucepan, heat milk gently over low heat until steaming, being careful not to bring to a boil. Add chai tea bags and steep for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
  • Once milk is cooled, remove teabags, cut open, and empty contents into spiced milk mixture. I like to re-measure my milk and replace any that evaporated (usually only a Tablespoon or so). Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Grease and flour (or use homemade cake release) an 8" or 9" round cake pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar until no clumps remain. Add the eggs, yogurt, vanilla extract, and cooled milk and whisk again until everything is smooth.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold together, being careful not to overmix the batter, until no flour pockets remain.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in cake pan. Remove cake from cake pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. You may want to level the cake before frosting, but this is not required.


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, spices, and milk and beat until combined. Add more sugar if frosting is too thin, or more milk if it is too thick.
  • For more buttercream troubleshooting tips, see my book, The Home Baker's Guide to Basic Buttercream.
  • Spread frosting evenly on top of cooled cake. Cake will stay fresh up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator or 3 days at room temperature. Cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.


*You may use almond meal in place of flaxseed (¾ cup, 90g).
To turn this into a layer cake: double the entire recipe.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

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  1. 3 stars
    If you want to make a cake, avoid this recipe because it tastes more like a muffin. The texture of flax is not delightful. It really tastes more like a bran muffin. Not sure why this has 5 stars as a CHAI CAKE!
    It doesn’t taste bad, just doesn’t give what I thought it would.

    1. Hmm… My guess is you missed or mis-measured an ingredient, possibly the sugar? This is definitely a cake and tastes like one.

  2. 5 stars
    Love this recipe ! Was hoping to make it again but in a cupcake version… any tips? Same cook time and temp or … any advice would be appreciated ! Thanks!

    1. Hey, Sam! Temp would be the same, but bake time is going to be more like 12-15 minutes or so. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely divine! I swapped flax seed with almond meal (the same amount) and it turned out incredible. I made it for a family gathering and it was all gone in one sitting. I’ll definitely be baking this again