Chai and ginger layer cake

Chai and ginger layer cake

Torta al tè chai e zenzero

The Italian Baker

I am always in search of new combinations for creating cakes and desserts. Chai is one of my favourite teas – it holds a mysterious flavour created by an exotic blend of spices including cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and black peppercorns. A dash of milk adds an unexpected explosion of taste and a little honey enriches it even more. All these ingredients are in this cake. It makes me think of faraway lands and the wonderful aromas of Sri Lanka, where I visited some years ago. It’s a sort of obsession of mine to translate into flavours the experiences that I don’t want to forget. Our senses allow us to remember the past through food.


Quantity Ingredient
300g butter, at room temperature,plus extra for greasing
245ml milk
6 chai tea bags
300g caster sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
350g plain flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the frosting

Quantity Ingredient
200g butter, softened
80g acacia or other clear honey
500g cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
150g icing sugar, sifted


  1. Butter two 20-cm cake tins and line the bases and sides with baking parchment.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over a low to medium heat. Add the tea bags, remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 5–8 minutes. Remove the teabags, squeezing them out into the milk. Leave the milk to cool completely.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl and using handheld electric beaters, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated, then add the vanilla.
  4. Sift the flour into a separate bowl and mix in the baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Add the flour mixture and the cooled milk to the egg mixture alternately, in three additions, beating until well mixed but taking care not to over-mix.
  5. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before inverting on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl and using electric hand-held beaters, beat the softened butter and honey together until creamy. Add the cream cheese and ginger and beat until incorporated. Finally add the icing sugar and beat just enough for the sugar to blend in. Refrigerate to set a little while the cakes are cooling.
  7. To assemble, place one cake on a plate. Spread with about a quarter of the frosting and place the second cake on top. Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides of the cake. Create a wave pattern using the back of a spoon.
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