This coffee cake is simply marvelous. There’s a bit of almond flavor from almond extract and chopped almonds. Then there’s the aromatic use of spices found in chai tea crumbled on top. It’s a simple pleasure that will make your day.
When you cut into this cake, you will hear a satisfying crunch only to find the most tender coffee cake underneath. The buttery streusel crumble provides a nice contrast to the almond studded cake. If you like a little not-too-sweet cake with your coffee, then you will love having your own fresh chai-spiced version.
One of my favorite cakes in the entire world is coffee cake and guess what my favorite drink is? You guessed it – chai! This coffee cake is absolutely EVERYTHING because it’s got a chai spiced crumb topping that smells intoxicating. I could hardly wait to cut into it.
Want to hear something ridiculous? My childhood self used to think that coffee cake was made with actual coffee in it. It took me years to realize that coffee cake was just enjoyed with coffee. I guess my child brain couldn’t comprehend that adults were allowed to eat cake for breakfast!
If you’re not a morning person, don’t worry. This cake tastes every bit as good made the night before and enjoyed the next day. Bake it in a cast iron skillet (watch that hot handle!) or use a square baking dish. Store covered with plastic wrap on the counter for up to 3 days or store pre-cut squares in the freezer and defrost.
What Makes Coffee Cake Tender?
In terms of ingredients, please be aware that cake flour is important in this particular cake. It yields the softest texture. It just wouldn’t be the same with a higher gluten flour, like all-purpose flour. So flour plays an important role, but so does buttermilk. Buttermilk’s role in pastry is to provide a slight tang and tenderness. You can make your own buttermilk by combining apple cider vinegar with milk.
While there might be a couple ingredients you don’t use all the time, I think you’ll find this recipe to be pretty straightforward and easy to follow. Just be sure to read all the way through each step, and your cake will be amazing!
This coffee cake is best serve a touch warm with a cup of good coffee – enjoy!
Streusel Chai Coffee Cake
Streusel Chai Topping
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (plus more for coating the skillet)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, see notes*
- 2 oz finely chopped raw almonds, 1/3 heaping cup
- Preheat oven to 325°F and coat a cast iron skillet (or baking dish) with butter.
Make the Chai Streusel
- Add all the streusel ingredients into a medium bowl and stir to form a soft dough.
Make the Coffee Cake
- Use an electric mixer or stand mixer with whisk to cream the butter and sugar for 1 minute. Add eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract; beat to combine.
- Add 3/4 cup flour, baking soda, salt. Mix on low until just combined. Add remaining 1 cup flour a bit at a time while also adding the buttermilk; beat on low speed for 30 seconds until combined. Mix in almonds.
- Spread batter in prepared skillet or baking dish. Crumble the streusel dough over the batter into pea sized pieces. Press slightly into the batter and bake 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on wire rack at least 15 minutes before cutting.
Buttermilk:You can buy buttermilk or make it with milk and acid. It helps to tenderize gluten, keeping this cake light and tender. It also adds a very pleasant, slight tang.
How to Make Your Own Buttermilk:In a measuring cup, add 1/2 cup whole milk with 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Allow it to sit for a few minutes. Remove 1 Tablespoon and then you have the amount you need for this recipe.
Chai Spices:This recipe incorporates spices found in chai tea. While I regularly use these spices, if you find you are out – you can still make this cake. Cinnamon may be used exclusively (about 1-2 teaspoons), so can cardamom. Though, I wouldn’t recommend using larger quantities of cloves, as this is a bitter, strong spice.
Make Ahead and Freezer Friendly:Make this coffee cake fresh and enjoy at room temperature for up to 3 days or store squares in plastic bag in the freezer. Simply defrost and enjoy!
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