“A party without a cake is just a meeting”. That’s the Julia Child quote on the napkins that I received as an add-0n Christmas gift from our youngest daughter; they’re the ones in the background of the photos below. I love that saying and this chai Bundt cake with its topping of creamy icing and toasted walnuts is ready to party!
I discovered that Amazon has posters, coffee mugs, aprons, pillows and even shopping bags with that quote and I need an apron and a shopping bag with it. It’s so me…
Back to cake. In case you’re not familiar with it, the traditional Masala chai that we simply call chai comes to us from Inda and is a beverage of black tea leaves brewed in water and milk, then it’s sweetened with sugar and spiced with cardamom and ginger and varying combinations and proportions of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper.
The popularity of Masala chai has spread all over the world from India. The word chai actually translates as tea, but in the United States the single word chai is used to mean the flavor of the combined spices commonly used in Masala chai. You’ll find everything from cupcakes and doughnuts to ice cream and smoothies labeled chai, and now you’ll know what that means.
My first taste of chai was a few years ago when my Minnesota friend Shelly made chai shortbread cookies. After tasting one, I couldn’t get enough of them and she graciously shared the recipe with me. Although I adore the chai flavors and even won a first prize blue ribbon at the Florida State Fair with Shelly’s cookie recipe, I never had any other chai-flavored beverages or desserts until I made this cake. By the way, I promise that there will be a future post on this blog with that prize winning cookie recipe.
When I ran across this chai Bundt cake recipe, I decided that I needed to try it for the blog. I searched high and low through all the cabinets in our kitchen looking for my large Bundt pan and finally found it in the bottom of our china cabinet in the dining room. I turned on the oven, pulled out my DIY baker’s joy, and got busy making cake.
Once the cake is baked and cooled, there are no fancy decorating skills needed. Just put the prepared icing in a plastic sandwich bag, snip off a little bit from one corner, then squeeze it back and forth over the completely cooled cake. Sprinkle the toasted and cooled walnuts over the top and get out your plates and forks.
This chai Bundt cake recipe is for one of the smaller 9 to 10 cup Bundt pans, so I should have made it in my Duet Bundt which holds 5 cups in each side, but I forgot that my big Bundt is a 12-cup, so my cake came out sort of short and squat. Tall or short, the flavor is just as good.
Crunchy toasted walnuts and creamy lightly-spiced icing on intensely spiced chai Bundt cake make a mouthwatering treat that will warm you all over on cold blustery days.
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Thanks, and bon appetit!
- 1 cup (8 oz, 227 grams) butter, room temperature (I use salted butter)
- 1 cup (7-1/2 oz, 213 grams) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup (3 oz, 85 grams) honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
- 2 cups (8-1/2 oz, 241 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (8 oz, 227 grams) full-fat sour cream (I really like Daisy)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (3-1/2 oz, 100 grams) walnuts
- 4 oz (112 grams) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz, 28 grams) butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (1-1/2 fluid oz, 42 grams) honey
- 1/2 cup (2 oz, 56 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pie spice (I used Penzey's Baking Spice)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a 9 or 10 cup Bundt pan with DIY baker's joy using a pastry brush to get into every crevice.
- In a stand mixer on speed 4 or a hand mixer on high, cream the butter, brown sugar, and honey for 2 minutes.
- Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl, then add 1 egg and beat for 45 to 60 seconds, then scrape the bowl again and add the second egg and beat for 45 to 60 seconds till smooth.
- In a small bowl, stir together the the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices, then sprinkle it over the batter and stir it in on low speed.
- Stir half the flour into the batter on low speed, then add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix on speed 2, scraping the bowl as needed.
- Mix in the remaining flour on low speed, then scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix on speed 2 just until everything is thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan on the counter, then bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Keep the oven on 350°F for toasting the walnuts.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack, leaving the cake in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up a bit, then turn the cake out of the pan onto the rack to cool completely before icing.
- While the cake cools and the oven is still going, spread the walnuts on a sheetpan and slide them into the oven for 10 minutes to toast, stirring 2 or 3 times and monitoring them closely to make sure they don't burn.
- Remove the nuts from the oven and transfer to a plate to cool.
- Once they're cooled, coarsely break or chop the walnuts and set aside.
- In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together, then add the honey, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and spice and beat until smooth.
- If necessary, stir in a few drops of milk until the icing very slowly flows off a spoon.
- Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake with a spoon or from a plastic bag with a corner snipped off, then distribute the toasted walnuts over.
- Store covered at room temperature.
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