A square of chai spice cake on a white plate with a corner removed on a fork.

What I love about chai spice cake

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but in case you don’t know, I am not a huge fan of decorating cakes or assembling layer cakes (although, I’ll occasionally do it for a dairy free chocolate cake). I’d rather throw together a single layer cake and top it with a simple layer of frosting.

This chai spice cake is no different. It’s easy to make and so deliciously full of spice, and the dairy free cream cheese frosting is laced with the same chai spices in the cake. It’s fall perfection in a cake.

The best part? I think I finally nailed down the vegan cream cheese frosting, and I’m really excited to share it with you. Stay tuned for a full tutorial on how to make the frosting by itself, but for now. You can use the frosting from this cake with or without the spices and pair it with any cake.

A square of chai spice cake on a white plate with a fork and cinnamon sticks on the counter next to them.

Here’s what you’ll need to make it

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Ingredient notes:

  • Oat milk – Make sure you’re using unsweetened and plain milk. If you want to swap it out for almond or coconut milk, the same applies. Use whichever dairy free milk works for your diet.
  • Vegan cream cheese – I find that using a product label “cream cheese” rather than “cream cheese spread” works better for dairy free cream cheese frosting. Normally, I choose Violife, but all products are different, so you may have to adjust the amount of powdered sugar or cornstarch if you find your frosting to be too thin or runny. It’s just the nature of dairy free products.
A square of chai spice cake on a white plate with a corner removed on a fork.

How to make a spice cake

Mise en place. Preheat your oven to 350˚F and grease a 9×13″ baking dish. Then, measure out all of your ingredients before you begin mixing anything.

Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together in a medium bowl. This helps distribute everything evenly and ensures your cake will rise well. Set aside for later.

Beat the wet ingredients. Use an electric mixer to beat the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. This should take about 1 minute at a medium speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.

Make the vegan buttermilk. In a small bowl, whisk the oat milk and lemon juice.

Combine the batter. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the oat buttermilk to the mixer. I usually add about 1/4 of the total at a time and scrape the sides as I go to make sure it’s mixing well.

Bake the cake.Transfer the batter to your baking dish and pop it into the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the cake is set. I usually check by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s done. Remove it from the oven and let the cake cool completely while you make the frosting.

Make the frosting. Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, beat the vegan cream cheese and shortening together until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, cornstarch and spices. Mix until combined. Then, slowly add 1/2 cup powdered sugar at a time until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.

Frost the cake. When the cake is fully cooled spread the frosting over the cake and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg (optional).

A square of chai spice cake being lifted out of a white baking dish on a metal spatula

FAQs and tips for making chai spice cake

What is chai spice made of?

Chai is a beautiful mix of spices including cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and star anise. It blend can vary and even include fennel or nutmeg, but it tends to have fall cozy-like flavors with a little bit of spice.

A square of chai spice cake on a white plate with a fork and cinnamon sticks on the counter next to them.

Other dairy free cake recipes you will love!

More delicious fall desserts to try

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Chai Spice Cake

This indulgent chai spice cake is brimming with fall cozy flavors and topped with a spiced dairy free cream cheese frosting. The warming spices make it the perfect choice for a chilly autumn day, and it’s super simple to make so you don’t need a special occasion to treat yourself.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

Scale
For the spice cake:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons each: cardamom and ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup oat milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
For the vegan cream cheese frosting:
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 100g (1/2 container Violife) vegan cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: nutmeg, ginger, cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon oat milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Grated fresh nutmeg, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the oat milk and lemon juice together.
  5. Alternate adding the oat milk mixture and flour mixture to the mixer, beating until each addition has been fully incorporated. Scrape sides as need and continue until everything is combined.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared baking dish and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the cake has set (an inserted toothpick comes out clean). Remove from oven and all the cake to cool completely.
  7. While the cake is cooling, beat the shortening and vegan cream cheese until light and fluffy and fulling combined. Add the vanilla extract, spices and oat milk, beating until combined.
  8. Add the cornstarch, followed by 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Season with a pinch of coarse salt and mix until combined.
  9. When the cake is fully cooled, spread the frosting evenly on the top, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg (optional).

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 547
  • Sugar: 60 g
  • Sodium: 261.1 mg
  • Fat: 21.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 84.5 g
  • Fiber: 1.4 g
  • Protein: 5.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 62 mg

Keywords: spice cake, chai cake, dairy free cake, fall cake, cinnamon cake

Last Updated on October 15, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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