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Chai Spice Cake

  • Author: Elizabeth Buuck
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr + Chill Time
  • Yield: 1 8" 3 Layer Cake 1x


A coffee house dirty chai latte with extra caramel drizzle… but make it a cake. Soft, light, and moist chai spiced cake layers wrapped in a silky smooth espresso cream cheese frosting and a salty sweet caramel drip.



My homemade salted caramel sauce can be found here.

For the Chai Cake Layers.

  • 1 C (226 g) Salted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 C (355 g) Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 C (325 g) Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 C (125 mL) Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract
  • 5 Lg Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 TBSP Homemade Chai Spice (see below)
  • 3 C (385 g) All Purpose Flour
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 C (360 mL) Buttermilk, at room temperature

Homemade Chai Spice

  • 1 1/2 TBSP Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Cardamom
  • 2 tsp Allspice
  • 2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/8 tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

For the Espresso Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • 8 oz (1 Block) Full Fat Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 C (226 g) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature (*you may sub salted butter, but then omit the extra salt)
  • 8 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt 
  • 2 tsp Espresso Powder
  • 2 TBSP Heavy Cream, warm not hot



If you’re making the salted caramel, do that first so it has time to cool.

For the chai cake layers.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 and spray three 8″ cake pans with a non stick spray that contains flour. (or use regular non stick spray and dust with flour)

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for about 5 minutes, or until well combined and fluffy.

  • Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl. Continue to mix until fully combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.

  • Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extracts. Mix for 3 minutes or until well combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure no egg whites have settled at the bottom.

  • In another bowl, whisk the flour, chai spice mix, salt, and baking powder.

  • Then, alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the cake batter. Add half the dry, then all of the buttermilk, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Stop the mixer when there are a few streaks of flour remaining and do a final mix with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is evenly mixed.

  • Evenly divide the batter into the prepared cake pans. 

  • Bake at 350 for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached. Allow the cakes to cool in the cake pans for 10 minutes, then flip them out onto a clean surface, wrap in plastic, and chill in the fridge while you make the frosting.

For the Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting.

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer (or with an electric hand mixer) cream the butter and cream cheese until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl so that no lumps of cream cheese remain.

  • Mix in the vanilla until combined.

  • Add the powdered sugar 1/2 at a time, mixing on low for 3 minutes after each addition.

  • Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, dissolve the espresso powder into the warm (not hot!) heavy cream. Mix into the frosting until combined. 

Fill and Frost the Cake.

  • Remove the chilled cake layers from the fridge and level off the tops if needed.

  • Place your cake board or plate onto a turntable or lazy susan and spread about 2 tsp of buttercream on the plate to act as “glue” to hold the cake in place.

  • Place the first layer in the center, then use an offset spatula to spread about 1 C of the frosting into an even layer. Repeat with remaining 2 layers.

  • Then, switch to a straight spatula to frost the sides of the cake. I went for a semi-naked look on this cake, but add as much as you’d like.

  • If you are doing the caramel drip, chill the frosted cake in the fridge for 30 minutes. This will help cool the caramel as it drips down the sides and prevent it from just falling off the cake. You can use my homemade salted caramel sauce or a store bought caramel sauce as long as the consistency is thick, but pourable. Drip the caramel over the sides of the cake and then fill in the top with more caramel.

  • Optional – Pipe extra buttercream on top as decoration. I used a large open star tip for this cake.

Keywords: chai spice cake, chai cake, chai cake recipe