Thursday, 22 October 2015

Masala Chai Apple Cake

Last month, as part of my Pinspiration series, I created an Autumn Baking post listing all types of yummy autumn bakes I've been drooling over on Pinterest. I was immediately drawn to this masala chai apple cake, mainly due to the presence of "chai" in the title. In my mind, chai equals chai latte. I love chai latte. Chai in cake form with a subtle presence of apple? I'm sold.

Fun fact, I decided to make this cake right after hot yoga. I literally walked out of the studio and straight into the supermarket for ingredients. Because you always deserve a treat post-exercise, right?

I was teetering into uncharted territory with this cake. I've never made a cake with any spice other than cinnamon and ginger before. This cake has six different spices in it. They were all fairly easy to locate in the local supermarket, although star anise proved trickier and had to be bought from the health store.

Here's a fun story for you. In my youth (i.e. 18), sambuca used to be my choice of drink. My nights out would be filled with shot after shot of the stuff. However, after one too many bad nights with one too many shots, I paid the price. I now cannot stand even the smell of sambuca. What's this got to do with cake, you ask? Well, sambuca is an aniseed-flavour liqueur. This cake contains star-anise. See where I'm going with this? For some reason, the connection between star-ANISE and ANISEed didn't quite add up in my head. Not a very nice surprise when I opened the pack. Automatically, my dreams of a chai latte-flavoured cake were dashed and replaced with the vision of a cake that would remind me of some hazy nights out. But on I soldiered, hoping that the five other spices would drown it out. Though I have to say, for something that tastes so bad, star anise sure is pretty, isn't it? 
For the cake, I followed this recipe. As a Brit, I was lost at the American measurement of cups, but this unit conversion website and some quick calculations saved the day! I also had to make some slight changes to the ingredients used in the recipe as they were missing from the supermarket, so instead of whole-wheat pastry flour I used normal whole-wheat flour, whilst Greek yoghurt was replaced with natural yoghurt. Lastly, instead of using black tea leaves, I opened around 8 teabags of Darjeeling and emptied out the tea leaves from them. 
Overall, despite the initial unit confusion, the recipe was fairly simple and easy to follow. I was disappointed at the lack of apple flavour, although considering all the spices it's not surprising that the apple was completely overridden. That said, all those spices meant that my kitchen smelt absolutely delicious whilst the cake was baking. Unfortunately though, it wasn't enough to completely cover the flavour of the star-anise. Admittedly, it was only a subtle hint, and there were so many other flavours going on as well, but I am just super sensitive to anything even resembling aniseed. However, ultimately, it's all about preference, because whilst it wasn't completely to my taste, my family loved it. So, if you like a bit of aniseed, by all means keep the star anise in. But if, like me, you had a bad night on sambuca, perhaps consider leaving it out and let the other five spices do the talking.
What have you been baking this Autumn?

Love, Beth xxx


  1. I haven't baked anything yet, let alone in ages ;) But I do enjoy eating cake !

    1. I think now's the perfect time for you to bake something then! ;) Everyone loves cake :) xxx

  2. Beth this sounds like a dreamy combo - definitely going to give this a go. Thanks for a great recipe xx


    1. You definitely should, would love to see the result! I'm planning on making some more autumnal cakes using different spices so watch this space :) Thanks for reading xxx