Spiced Vanilla Chai Cake With Vanilla Bean Frosting

Amy Manes
by Amy Manes
1 9 inch cake
1 hr

What is better than an easy little one-layer cake? Nothing! If you’re craving something sweet, cozy and wonderful during the cold winter months, try out this spiced vanilla chai cake with vanilla bean frosting. This one layer, round 9-inch round cake is loaded with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and ginger that will make you feel comfy cozy, and right at home! Plus, it’s topped with vanilla bean frosting which is loaded with vanilla goodness thanks to Rodelle’s vanilla bean paste! This cake is so simple to make and is great to make anytime during the winter! It’s the perfect snack, sweet treat, or dessert for dinner guests!

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission should you choose to make a purchase using my link. It’s okay – I love and use all of these products, and you will too!

Nothing says “fall” like a warm and cozy chai tea latte! I love all of the delicious flavors in a chai latte – cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, cardamom – yum!

This one-layer chai spice cake combines all of the coziness of a chai tea latte in cake form! Plus, it’s topped with the most luscious vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. Read on for instructions on how to make this fall cake!

Ingredients for Spiced Chai Cake

Ok, so here are a few special ingredients you’re going to need to make this yummy spiced vanilla chai cake! (And no, August is not too early to get into the fall baking spirit!)

  • Unsweetened Applesauce – this gives the cake an ever so slight apple flavor. Perfect for fall!
  • Buttermilk – adding buttermilk to cake is just magic. It creates the most moist, tender cake with the perfect texture! Be sure to use full-fat buttermilk for the best results!
  • Vanilla Bean Paste – vanilla bean paste is used in both the cake and the frosting. This gives the entire dessert a warm and cozy vanilla flavor that pairs well with the chai spices in the recipe! I love using Rodelle Vanilla Bean Paste when baking.
  • All sorts of spices! Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom. Yum!

The combination of these ingredients will give you the thickest, most moist and flavorful spiced vanilla chai cake that you just won’t be able to resist!

High Elevation Cake Adjustments

For reference, I live at 5,800 feet. These adjustments would likely give you the result that you are looking for if you live within a few hundred feet of where I am at. But high altitude baking can be a lot of trial and error! I’ll provide my explanations below for each adjustment I made. This should then give you a starting point to go off of to experiment with your own ingredients at whatever elevation you live at! I would also recommend checking out this guide here.

  • Flour – increase by 2 tbsp. Additional flour helps to strengthen the structure of the baked good so that it will rise correctly.
  • Use 3 eggs. This will keep the baked good from drying out at a higher baking temperature and evaporation rate. If I am baking a cake, I like to add one more egg to increase the liquids in most recipes. This should hold true at most higher elevations, but experiment with it, of course!
  • Baking Soda – decrease to 1/4 tsp. You can see this table on King Arthur’s website for how to adjust leavening agents for higher elevations (scroll down a ways to the “Leavening” section on their site). For my elevation, I typically cut all leavening agents in half. This allows for the right chemical reactions to happen between the other ingredients for the perfect rise. If there is too much leavening within the batter, not all of it gets used up (not all of it reacts with the other ingredients), so you are left over with a soapy bitter-tasting baked good due to the excess baking soda or baking powder in the batter.
  • Baking Powder – decrease to 1 tsp. Essentially for the same reasons as for the baking soda!
  • Increase oven temperature to 360° F. Since rising and evaporation proceed more quickly at higher elevations, you will want to use a higher baking temperature to set the structure of the baked goods so that they don’t sink in the middle and dry out on the edges. I recommend starting with increasing the baking temperature stated in the recipe by 10 – 15° F and go up from there in small increments (all the way up to 25° F increase if needed).
  • Decrease baking time by 5 or more minutes. This is because you will be baking at a higher temperature. You don’t want your cake to burn! I usually decrease by 5-8 minutes per 30 minutes of baking time and adjust from there. Keep a close eye on your dessert in the oven while you are experimenting with time and baking temps.

I hope that you enjoy making this spiced vanilla chai one-layer cake! I don’t know about you but I’m very much ready for all things fall!

More Fall Recipes on Buckets of Yum

  • Chewy Chocolate Chip Brookies
  • Layered S’mores Brownies
  • White Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
  • Coffee Caramel Sheet Cake with Chocolate Espresso Buttercream
  • Caramelized Burnt Sugar Cake
  • Caramel Apple Coffee Cake
  • Maple Brown Sugar Peach Blondies
  • Vanilla Bean Scones

As always, be sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram if you make my recipe or use in your photos! I love to see what you are baking.

Spiced Vanilla Chai Cake With Vanilla Bean Frosting
Recipe details
  • 1  9 inch cake
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 40 Minutes Total time: 1 hr
Show Nutrition Info
Hide Nutrition Info
For the Vanilla Chai Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
For the Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
For the Spiced Vanilla Chai Cake
*Note: For high altitude directions, see the "Notes" section below!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and spray the sides with non-stick baking spray (I like to use Pam for Baking).
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, applesauce, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla bean paste.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold until combined (but do not overmix!). Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 35 to 45 minutes (depending on your oven). Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove from the pan to cool completely on the wire rack.
For the Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add the butter and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes).
Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla bean paste and salt. Beat for 2 minutes and then frost your cooled cake!
  • If you like a thicker layer of frosting on top of your cake, I’d recommend doubling the frosting recipe.
  • High Altitude Directions:
  • Flour – increase by 2 tbsp
  • Eggs – use 3
  • Baking Powder – decrease to 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda – decrease to 1/4 tsp
  • Increase oven temperature to 360° F
  • Decrease baking time by 5 or more minutes
Amy Manes
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!
  • Pinecones & Acorns Blog Pinecones & Acorns Blog on Jan 20, 2022

    This looks beautiful and delicious.

  • Ashley Coco Ashley Coco on Jan 24, 2024

    Disclaimer - I am at sea level, so my comments may be affected by the difference in altitude.

    The salt content of this recipe is far too high. My family prefers a slightly saltier baked dessert. Enough that I use salted butter in all my baking to their preference. However, I this cake was VERY salty. When making the frosting, I left the salt out entirely, in hopes that it would temper the saltiness of the cake. While it does, there is still a distinctly over salted taste that over powers the other flavors. I can’t imagine if I’d added salt to the frosting. I recommend cutting the salt by at least half in the cake and leaving it out of the frosting.

    I personally would also have doubled the spices, but I do like quite a bit of spice. The cake is not very sweet (a good balance to the frosting), and has a wonderful crumb. It would easily stand up to being expanded to a stacked layer cake.