Guys, I have been waiting on the edge of my seat for this post! Last weekend, while scanning my saved recipes and pondering what to make for a Super Bowl party, I began dreaming about making a chai-spiced apple cake. As soon as I got the idea, I couldn’t get it out of my head. So I made it… and once I made it, I could hardly wait to write about it! Spiced apples are themselves a beautiful thing, but adding the chai flavor, and then baking it all into a beautifully rustic, sour cream-based cake… people, this stuff is good. I have been eagerly anticipating being able to share this recipe with you — I can’t wait for someone else to try it!
Two recipes for apple cakes found on two of my favorite blogs inspired this chai-spiced wonder cake. The first was Joy the Baker’s Spiced Apple Cake, which looked awesome & easy — and I loved the idea of using a spring-form pan. Cakes are just cleaner in spring-form pans In terms of flavor, though, I was looking for something with a different mix of spices — I don’t love fresh nutmeg, don’t own allspice (and at a 1/2 teaspoon, is it really worth substituting?), etc. Without those spices, though, I didn’t think my cake would have a strong enough flavor kick.
The other apple cake inspiration was Ezra Pound Cake’s Chai-Apple Pie Coffee Cake, which had the inspirational idea of using chai latte concentrate to flavor both the apples and the cake. Bingo! But coffee cake wasn’t what I was going for — we were headed to a Superbowl party, not brunch — and let’s face it, Joy’s recipe uses both sour cream and four egg yolks. All that moisture (and fat…) in my chai-spiced apple cake? Yes please. I wasn’t about to give that up.
And so the Chai-Spiced Apple Cake was born… a happy blend of both recipes, with a little bit of Bridezilla thrown in there. This was one of those amazing times when an experiment turns out just perfectly the first time around. First, the texture is perfect. It’s tender with a thin crust that has just the right amount of delicate crunch, especially on the top of the cake, where the cinnamon sugar really makes it sparkle. And it’s moist — and it stays moist — for at least one week after you bake it, if you keep it in an airtight container.
In terms of flavor, this apple cake is the perfect sweet and spicy blend of sauteed apples and soft, chai-flavored sour cream cake — not too sweet, but definitely dessert and not coffee cake. The addition of chai is wonderful — it has a fascinating tea taste that adds a lot of depth to the flavor. This is a cake with a little something extra… one of those cakes that if you make it, people will taste it and say “What is that…. mmm, whatever it is, it’s good.”
That’s what I said, anyway!
Chai-Spiced Apple Cake
Inspired by Ezra Pound Cake and Joy the Baker
- 2 tart apples (around 1 pound), peeled, cored and sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup chai tea latte concentrate
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Chai-Spiced Sour Cream Cake
- 12 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup chai tea latte concentrate
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon sour cream
- ¼ cup cinnamon sugar (whisk together around ¼ cup white sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Spray a 9-inch spring-form pan with nonstick cooking spray.
First, make the apples: sauté apples in 2 tablespoons butter for approximately 2 minutes in a small sauté pan. Add brown sugar, stir to combine. Add chai concentrate, cover and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Remove cover, stir to combine. Pour into a plastic bowl (with juices) and set aside to cool.
Then make the cake: Cream the butter, sugar, cinnamon and chai mix in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until the mixture has lightened significantly in color and is fluffy. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. It may take 6 to 8 minutes, but keep beating until the mixture is light in hue and very fluffy.
Add the egg yolks one at a time, and beat between additions until the batter is fluffy and glossy.
While all that beating is going on, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl. With the mixer set on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients to the batter. Mix a few times until no flour streaks remain. Add the sour cream all at once and mix on low just to incorporate. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix on low just until no traces remain.
Stir the cooked apples once to coat them in the sautéing liquid, then drain the leftover liquid. Fold the apples into the batter with a rubber spatula. The cake batter will be thick, but don’t fold too many times or you’ll smash the air out of it (all that air you put in during all that beating).
Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan and distribute evenly (I used an offset icing spatula to get it even). Take a knife and run it in a singular circular motion through the batter 1-inch from the edge of the pan. This will help the cake to rise evenly. Sprinkle the cake with the cinnamon sugar and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the spring form pan.