Chai, the quintessential cup of Indian tea is perhaps the most misunderstood and misrepresented beverage. The perfect cup of chai is milky, sweet, strong and lightly spiced. And now you can have it in cake form as well with this recipe!
Bake this beautiful loaf cake with all the flavors of the Indian milk tea and also rose and cardamom. Top it with a generous drizzle of a cardamom flavored brown butter glaze. This is one deliciously decadent cake you will be proud to present at your Holiday table.
For the cake,
All purpose flour – 2 cups
Baking powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Yogurt – 2/3 cup
Sugar – 1 cup + 1 tbsp (the extra tablespoon is to account for the tea being used in the recipe)
Oil – 1/2 cup (use some kind of non-flavored oil like vegetable oil)
Rose water – 1 tsp
Milk – 2/3 cup
Black tea dust – 3 tsp (I like to use Indian blends like Assam or Darjeeling black tea)
For the brown butter glaze,
Unsalted butter – 1/4 cup
Powdered sugar – 1 cup
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Milk – 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg.F. Line and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
2. Brew the milk tea first so that you have enough time to cool it. Heat milk in a saucepan and add the tea dust. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and keep covered for 3-4 minutes to allow the tea flavor to develop. Strain with a fine mesh sieve and bring this milk-tea (chai) to room temperature before using in the recipe. You need 2/3 cup of chai, so I would advise you to use a few extra tablespoons of milk while brewing tea to account for the loss via evaporation and straining.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom powder together and keep aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the yogurt and sugar on high for 2 minutes. Add the oil and rose-water. Beat for 2-3 minutes till the mixture is well combined and creamy. Do not skip this step.
5. Add the sifted dry ingredients and the milk-tea to the batter alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula and do not over-mix.
6. Bake for 35-38 minutes or till the cake passes the toothpick test. Remove and cool in pan for 5 minutes before pouring the glaze on top.
7. Make the glaze in the last ten minutes of baking. To begin, sift the powdered sugar and cardamom powder together. Set aside.
8. Take the butter in a saucepan and start melting it on low heat. Keep going for 5-8 minutes till butter browns and you see some sediment on the bottom. Do not burn the butter, a light browning is what we need.
Pour this browned butter carefully into a glass bowl or jar, leaving the sediments behind. You can use a very fine mesh sieve if you have one.
9. Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, and whisk to combine. Add a few teaspoons of milk to thin the glaze. The glaze should look like thick cream, it will thicken further when completely cool.
10. Gently remove the still warm cake to a wire rack and drizzle the glaze on top. Cool the cake completely, cut into pieces and serve.
11. This cake can be stored lightly covered in parchment paper or with a dry tea towel on the counter-top for a couple of days and can be refrigerated after that (if you still have leftovers, that is!!).