This dense, chai-spiced cake has rich frosting that's irresistible. It's the little details that matter — by browning the butter prior to using it for the cake, you create a subtly unique taste. It's the perfect winter dessert served with fresh fruit and a hot cup of coffee.
Brown Butter Cardamom Cake With Chai Buttercream Frosting [Vegan]
For the Cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons ground cardamom
- 2/3 cup unsalted vegan butter
- 2 cups raw sugar
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, plus 3 tablespoons water, per egg)
For the Frosting:
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted vegan butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black tea leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- An hour or two before you’re ready to start, brown the butter for the cake — this will give it enough time to solidify again before you use it. Once your butter is browned, pour it in a large bowl and leave it to cool on the benchtop (you can pop it in the fridge to hasten the process, but be sure to check it regularly as you want the butter soft, not hard).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line two round baking tins. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed with water and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the softened browned butter and the sugar together until nice and fluffy (either a stand or handheld mixer is best for this). Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one through thoroughly, then add the milk and whisk through. Add the dry to the wet and stir to combine.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two tins and bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave in the tins for 15-20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- When the cakes are cool and you’re ready to assemble, prepare the frosting. Grind the black tea leaves using a spice grinder, a mortar and pestle, or your coffee grinder. Combine the ground leaves and spices with the powdered sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar/spices mixture and one tablespoon of the milk, continuing to beat until mixed through. You want the buttercream to be thick but spreadable; if it is too stiff add the remaining tablespoon of milk a drizzle at a time while beating.
- Using a sharp knife, level the cakes by slicing off the top dome. Stack one on top of the other, with a generous slather of frosting in between. Frost the top and outside of the cake with an offset spatula, or simply a butter knife.
- Serve immediately.