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If you like your cakes flavorful and a little dense, this chai tea latte cake is perfect for you! #chai #blacktea #layercake #kahlua #buttercream

Masala Chai Cake with Kahlua Buttercream

This Masala chai cake has a hint of spice along with the milky black tea flavor, and is topped with a Kahlua-scented buttercream!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Fusion, Indian
Keyword alcohol, assam tea, black pepper, black tea, buttercream, cake, cardamom, chai, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, dessert, ginger, kahlua, layer cake, milk tea, nut-free, pepper, spices, swiss meringue buttercream, tea, vegetarian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Assembly Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 367 kcal


Chai Tea Latte Cake

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons black tea leaves
  • ½ stick unsalted butter room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Kahlua Buttercream

  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter room temperature, cut into tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua


Masala Chai Cake

  1. Warm the milk until almost boiling on the stove or in the microwave. Stir in the tea, then cool.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the oil and vanilla . Gradually add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir in the milk (tea leaves and all), mixing until smooth. The batter will seem pretty thin and runny.
  3. Transfer batter to 2 greased and floured 6" round cake pans and bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool completely before frosting.

Kahlua Buttercream

  1. In the heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch.
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks, fluffy and cooled.
  3. Switch to the paddle attachment. Add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and Kahlua until smooth.


  1. Place a dab of buttercream in the center of a cake stand/serving plate, then place one cake layer (flat side up) over the buttercream and press it down to help the cake stick to the buttercream and the plate.
  2. Spread a thin layer of the buttercream (I like to keep this layer thin so that I ensure I have plenty to ice the outside of the cake) on top of the cake. Add the other cake, bottom up, so that you have a flat top. Crumb coat the cake with the buttercream, and refrigerate the cake for 10-15 minutes so that the buttercream can set up.
  3. Add the rest of the buttercream and use it to frost the cake more thickly.

Recipe Notes

Cake recipe from Pastry Affair, buttercream from Martha Stewart.

Use a strong black tea here (think Assam or English breakfast tea). If you're a little weary of the tea leaves: they're pretty tame, I promise. They add some chew but that's all. If you really don't want tea leaves in your cake, steap the tea in the milk for 30 minutes, then discard the tea leaves.

You can use one 9" round cake pan (bake at 350F for 30-40 min) or make cupcakes (bake at 350F for 18-22 min) instead of using two 6" round cake pans.

The Kahlua is pretty subtle here; if you want it more prominent/boozy, feel free to poke the cake all over with a toothpick, and drizzle 1-2 T Kahlua over each cake layer before you layer and frost the cake.

There's a pretty minimal amount of frosting here; feel free to make 1.5 (or even 2) times the amount here if you want a higher frosting to cake ratio.