by Amy Bradley
While I’m a huge pumpkin fan, there is more to fall than pumpkin flavored everything. It’s also apple season! I don’t make many bundt cakes as I’ve had a lot of trouble with them in the past, but I decided to give it another shot. I wanted to create something a little different than the run of the mill apple cake. Why not use the warmth of chai spices to add a perfectly unique flavor to this bundt?!
Making your own chai spice is easily done with a few key ingredients – cinnamon, ginger, all-spice, and two differentiators – cardamom and black pepper (yes, black pepper). Cardamom is the spice that really makes this mix “chai”, so don’t sleep on the cardamom!
The first time I tried this cake I used Granny Smith apples. Normally, these are great for baking, but I do not recommend them for this cake. These types of apples are on the tart side, and I wanted something more sweet. If you want the cake to be less sweet, you could use a mix of apples – one tart, one sweet. This apple sweetness chart from Sprout.com is helpful to find the right flavor and texture that will hold up for baked goods. For my next test, I used Honeycrisp apples which are more sweet, and they worked perfectly.
In my first attempt I also used a more bland, Vanilla Glaze with a hint of cinnamon. This did nothing to enhance the cake. I recommend either keeping the cake plain (perhaps adding a dusting of powdered sugar) or drizzling my Brown Sugar Chai Glaze on top. The glaze really takes the chai flavor to the next level without overpowering the cake.
Practice makes perfect and I honestly feel this recipe cannot get much better. It captures the season, it’s warm with just enough sweetness, and perfect to share with those you love most. I hope you enjoy the cake that Mike deems as “the best bundt cake” he’s ever had!
Apple Chai Spice Bundt Cake Recipe
Apple Chai Cake:
- 4 medium sweet baking apples, peeled, cored and diced to about 1/4 inch (I recommend Honeycrisp apples for optimal taste)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp cardamom
- 1 1/2 tsp all-spice
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Brown Sugar Chai Glaze:
- 3 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp all-spice
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp half and half (or milk or heavy cream)
- Prepare the diced apples and set aside. If you wish to do this in advance, make sure to toss the apples in a bit of lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly grease a 9-10 cup bundt pan with baking spray – be generous here. You might also want to use a pastry brush to ensure all the nooks and crannies are coated. Place the bundt pan on top of a baking sheet for easy transport in and out of the oven.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer with beaters attached), beat the butter and both sugars together until smooth. It should almost look like the start of a cookie dough.
- Add vanilla and eggs. Beat well to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Add sour cream and stir to combine.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all of the spices) and whisk gently.
- Pour half the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir until just combined. Repeat with the other half.
- Fold the chopped apples into the mixture gently until they are evenly distributed in the batter. Your batter will be quite thick.
- Scoop the batter into your bundt pan. Use a spatula to smooth out the top.
- Bake in the oven for 60-70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (Note for this cake I used a skewer test instead of a toothpick due to the depth of the pan.)
- Remove from the oven and let the cake sit in the pan for about 10-12 minutes. Then, carefully turn out the cake onto a wire rack to cool. I recommend that it cools for at least an hour or two.
- Once the cake is almost cooled, begin making the glaze. In a small saucepan, add the brown sugar and butter, heating over a medium-low heat. Stir well until butter is melted and brown sugar is dissolved.
- Add the spices and stir thoroughly. Turn heat to low.
- Begin adding powdered sugar, one quarter cup at a time. You may need to alternate between this and the half and half so the mixture doesn’t get too thick. Stir rigorously to remove any lumps.
- If you feel the mixture is too thick, add more half and half about a tsp at a time. If too thin, add powdered sugar about a tbsp at a time. Once you reach the desired thickness, remove from heat and continue to stir rigorously for about 1 or 2 minutes. This will ensure a smooth glaze.
- Spoon glaze over the top of the bundt cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
The cake can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days. (It’s nice and fluffy when at room temperature!)
Did you try this recipe? Share your creations on social media by using the hashtag #sweetandsavorycouple!
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