Easy Chai Cake With Luscious Cream Cheese Frosting
Sweet Recipes

Easy Chai Cake With Luscious Cream Cheese Frosting 

Cooks in 45 Minutes Difficulty Easy 0 comments

Have you ever wanted to eat all the sweet, dense cake with luscious frosting without buying a light-boxed cake from the store? This easy chai cake bakes up a nine-by-thirteen baking dish of sweet, spiced goodness. The cream cheese frosting is so buttery and smooth that it melts in your mouth and complements the dense cake crumb with all that delicious chai flavor. Enjoy a slice of this delicious brown sugar chai cake with your next cup of coffee or tea. 

I love a sweet baking recipe that makes a large amount. Why? As any mom can tell you, we get busy and don’t always have time to bake. I have found that a big tray cake like this sheet cake will last a week, cutting down on my daily baking. Freeing yourself from the kitchen is essential when running kids to all their lessons and extracurriculars. 

Last year I made this cake for ourselves but it wasn’t quite right until now! After much experimenting, I am pleased to share this sweet cake full of all those tasty chai spices. 

If you like chai, see our Easy Apple Chai Streusel Muffins.

moist chai spice crumb cake (3)

Why you will love this recipe

Sweet Snacking. The simple ingredients in this cake include brown sugar for a caramel-colored sweet snacking cake infused with chai spices. So good!

It’s quick. It only takes a few minutes to whip up the cake batter and a few more for the cream cheese frosting. 

Warm and comforting. The chai spice cake is a unique flavor that evokes warmth and comfort, perfect for cozy gatherings or relaxing evenings.

Dense Crumb. This cake is perfect if you love a cake with moist crumbs that have substance. The brown sugar creates a heavier cake crumb reminiscent of old-fashioned home-baked cakes. 

Let’s get started making this tasty chai cake. 

We begin with the wet ingredients in a large bowl to start most cake batters. The basic cake begins with vegetable oil (or other neutral oil) and brown sugar. This cake has no granulated sugar, which means working out the lumps that brown sugar often forms when it sits in the container/bag. I generally use a fork to do this because you can press the lumps through the tines on the fork, breaking up the lumps. Not all the lumps wanted to break up when I was making this cake. There’s no need to panic when that happens because it will just result in smaller pockets of sweetness in your snack cake. Try not to leave large lumps, as those can become a problem in your finished cake. 

Once you’ve blended the oil and sugar to the best of your ability, you can add in the eggs. Cream the mixture until it’s light and airy. You will be able to tell it’s well blended because the brown sugar egg mixture will take on a lighter color. 

When making cakes, people often suggest blending the dry ingredients in another bowl before adding the wet ingredients. We are not doing that. I rarely do that unless it makes a difference, such as in an angel food or sponge cake. This cake, however, is relatively easy to make so that you can measure the dry ingredients on top of the wet ones. 

Be sure to measure the all-purpose flour for the recipe carefully. Too much flour can result in several problems, from uneven baking to cracking and sinking. 

Start blending the dry ingredients into the wet. It’s pretty dry, no? Let’s start adding our sour milk in. To make sour milk at home, we take 2% milk and add a tablespoon of white vinegar for each half cup of milk. This trick works not only for sour milk but also to replace buttermilk in recipes. It’s old school and very effective. 

Now that we are adding the milk to the cake batter, it’s starting to resemble a regular cake batter. It’s smooth and creamy-looking. Be certain to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as you work the batter. There’s just one thing missing, and that’s the chai spice. 

Measure and add the chai to the cake batter, stirring to incorporate it well. If you like chai flavor, add more of the spice blend. We used Watkins chai spice blend, meaning there is a titch of added sugar in there, but not enough to make a difference in the result. 

Pour your mixed cake batter into the prepared pan. Be sure to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl while pouring to get all that wonderful cake mixture. 

This cake is baked in a greased nine-by-thirteen baking pan. I use regular cooking spray, which works wonderfully for most baking projects. The cake then bakes in a preheated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes. Be sure to check your cake near the end of baking, as some ovens cook faster than others depending on many factors: heat distribution, insulation, altitude, whether it was fully preheated or not, and the quality and condition of your oven. 

To test the cake for doneness, first do a visual inspection. If you can see through the glass window (some get pretty dark over time), you will notice whether the top of the cake still appears wet or looks done. Open the oven just a bit to take a closer look. The cake sides will be slightly darker than the top. Using your cake tester, you can poke the center of the cake to see if it’s finished baking. 

Remove it from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool in the pan. If you used a glass baking pan like I did, this will take a couple of hours. 

While the cake is cooling, you can make the cream cheese icing in a medium bowl. First, you will add the softened cream cheese and butter. Avoid using your mixer on cold cream cheese or butter; it creates a huge mess. Then, you will measure the icing sugar into a measuring cup and add it to the mixing bowl. This icing makes enough frosting for the whole cake in a thinner layer. If you want super thick frosting, double the recipe. 

Using your mixer, mix the cream cheese and salted butter and beat on medium until they are blended. You can then add two cups of the icing sugar and blend it in. One more cup of icing sugar is still needed, so add that in with a teaspoon of vanilla extract. That vanilla is necessary to enhance the flavor of the frosting and add moisture to make blending easier. If you prefer, you can use a teaspoon of milk or cream in place of vanilla. Keep mixing until the sugar and vanilla are blended in well. Cover it and keep it in the fridge until ready to frost the cake. 

This frosting is creamy, so do not try to ice the cake if it’s warm. You can frost with the cream cheese icing when the cake has cooled off enough. You may find the frosting firmed up while in the fridge. Don’t worry; once you start spreading it, it will become pliable again. Alternatively, remove it from the fridge to let it come to room temperature before frosting the cake. Please don’t leave it out for extended periods, though, as it contains cheese.

After frosting the cake, cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge until ready to serve. The sweet cake is excellent as an after-dinner dessert or a sweet snack at your next coffee break! Cakes generally last for up to five days in the fridge, and you can freeze this cake without the frosting for up to three months. 

Easy Chai Cake With Luscious Cream Cheese Frosting (1)


All-purpose flour: This white flour is the most economical to bake with. It creates a decent texture and structure while providing enough support for the leavening agents to do their jobs accordingly. The base ingredient in this cake recipe allows the other ingredients to work together to create a moist, balanced, flavored crumb.

Brown Sugar: We used just brown sugar in this cake for three reasons. It has a caramel-like flavor and color in the cake batter. Using solely brown sugar also creates a denser crumb, which I wanted in this cake—making a truly homemade old-fashioned style cake. 

Eggs: The large eggs used in the cake batter help to leaven the cake and add moisture. The fact that we used two eggs also helped create the rich golden brown hue of the cake when baked. 

Baking Powder: This leavening agent helps to provide structure and rise to the cake while baking. It also helps maintain the flavor and color of the cake by promoting a uniform rise and preventing excessive browning.

Salt: This helps regulate sweetness in baking. Although this cake has two cups of brown sugar, its sweetness is not overpowering. The salt also enhances the chai spice flavor in the cake, which is helpful since I only added 2 tsp to the cake batter. 

Baking Soda: Also known as sodium bicarbonate, is another leavening agent commonly used in baking. In this case, it works in tandem with the baking powder as a leavening agent while adding to the texture of the cake, which results in a tender and moist crumb, making the cake more enjoyable to eat.

Chai Spice: I used Watkins Chai spice blend for this cake. However, you can use another with similar results. The Watkins blend has sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, black tea, ginger, and cloves in its mix. It creates a warmth and depth of flavor that can only be described as tantalizing your senses with layers of rich, earthy sweetness and subtle hints of heat. 

Cream Cheese: This ingredient brings a creamy tang to the frosting, which can be adapted to various flavor profiles and textures. 

Salted Butter: This is a convenient ingredient to use in the frosting because you won’t need to add salt to enhance flavors. The richness that the butter provides complements the cream cheese. 

Icing Sugar: Also known as powdered or confectioner’s sugar, it adds sweetness to the frosting. The sugar is so fine that it leaves no grittiness in the finished icing. When combined with the fat content of ingredients like cream cheese and butter, icing sugar contributes to a luxurious mouthfeel and creamy consistency.

Vanilla Extract: The extract adds depth of flavor to the frosting combined with the chai of the cake. 

moist chai spice crumb cake

Substitutions and Add-Ins 

All-Purpose Flour: It’s important to note that I have not tested any other flour in this cake recipe. However, if you were to choose another, I recommend cake flour. This flour results in a lighter and more tender texture. You can generally substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour using a 1:1 ratio, but you might need to adjust the liquid content slightly as cake flour absorbs less moisture.

Eggs: If you need this recipe egg-free due to dietary restrictions, you would be happiest with applesauce. Straight, unsweetened applesauce can be used as an egg substitute to add moisture to the cake. Use one-quarter cup of applesauce in place of each egg in the recipe. Remember that applesauce may result in a denser texture and slightly sweeter flavor.

Chai Spice Mix: Again, I used Watkins chai spice blend. However, if you want to remove the chai spice, you would likely enjoy the warming flavor with a cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom blend. 

Cream Cheese Frosting: This is the key ingredient in this frosting. However, if you are short on this ingredient, you can substitute these ingredients in the recipe with satisfying results: mascarpone cheese, Greek yogurt, coconut cream, cashew cream, or even silken tofu. Alternatively, to omit the vanilla, using chai spice in the frosting creates a more flavorful chai cream cheese frosting. Add a tsp of cream or milk to the frosting for the added moisture content you remove by omitting the vanilla.

Salted Butter: If you use unsalted butter instead of salted butter for the frosting, add a pinch of salt to enhance its flavor. If you want to play further with the frosting, try using brown butter cream cheese frosting on the cake. 

Add-ins could include dried fruit or nuts. Cinnamon baking and chocolate chips would also welcome additions to this spice cake. Remember that each add-in may freeze with disappointing results if you freeze the cake for later. 

Expert Tips, Serving and Storing Suggestions 

Tip#1: Preheat your oven! If you don’t preheat the oven, the cake may not bake evenly, resulting in undercooked or overcooked areas.

Tip#2: Mix the cake batter well to avoid streaks of flour in the cake batter. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as you work.

Tip#3: Mix the softened cream cheese and butter with an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed before adding the icing sugar to the frosting recipe. The cream cheese and butter will whip up to airer consistency, making adding sugar easier. 

Serve this cake in large squares with a cup of tea for a sweet snacking treat. Alternatively, bake it into cake layers for a beautiful birthday cake alternative. This moist cake will last for five days in the fridge, covered. 

As this does make a large cake, you can freeze some unfrosted for later use. Wrap in plastic wrap well to keep the moist crumb from sticking to the bag, and then store in a freezer bag. 

If you enjoyed this easy chai cake recipe, we would love to hear about it. Leave a comment below the recipe card if you test this recipe. As always, we love hearing from you, our readers!  

Easy Chai Cake With Luscious Cream Cheese Frosting (1)

Easy Chai Cake With Luscious Cream Cheese Frosting

Amber Bondar
This sheet pan easy chai cake with cream cheese frosting is super delish! Full of warming spice the dense, moist cake crumb is the perfect snacking cake. Best of all this makes enough cake for the whole family and keeps for up to five days in covered in the fridge. Super easy in one bowl the batter whips up in just a few minutes!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 12


  • 2 Mixing Bowls
  • 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 Teaspoon
  • Hand Mixing
  • Fork *optional
  • Rubber Spatula
  • 1 9 by 13 Baking Dish
  • Cake Testor


The Chai Spice Cake Batter

  • ¾ Cup Vegetable Oil Or Other Neutral Oil
  • 2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Lrg Eggs
  • 2⅔ Cup Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Chai Spice Blend
  • Cup Sour Milk *Or 2% Milk With 2½ Tbsp White Vinegar Added

The Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ Cup Cream Cheese
  • ¼ Cup Salted Butter
  • 3 Cups Icing Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract


The Chai Cake Batter

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉
  • In a large mixing bowl measure the oil, sugar, and add the eggs. Mix together removing as many large brown sugar lumps as possible.
  • Measure and add in the dry ingredients to the same bowl.
  • Start blending the ingredients.
  • Measure the sour milk and slowly add into the mixing bowl blending well after each addition.
  • When the batter is fully blended measure and add in the chai spice.
  • Pour the cake batter into a prepared 9 by 13 baking dish. And bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until cake tests for done.
  • Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Measure the cream cheese and salted butter into a mixing bowl. They should be softened first.
  • Using a hand mixer or stand mixer on low speed cream the cheese and butter until light.
  • Add in two cups of icing sugar and blend well.
  • Measure in the remaining sugar and the vanilla extract.
  • Blend until vanilla is well distributed and the frosting is cream and smooth.


  • When the cake has completely cooled frost with the cream cheese icing.
  • If the icing is cold from the fridge let it come to room temperature before working.
  • Smooth onto the cake in any desired pattern.

Storing and Serving

  • Serve cake in large square pieces. Cake will cut into 12 large pieces or 24 small pieces.
  • Store remaining cake covered with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to five days.
  • Unfrosted cake can be frozen for up to three months.
Keyword cakes, chai spice, easy baking recipe, sheet cake, snacking cake

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