Chai Spice Cake - Guest Contributor Shana Groseclose

At Fitlandia, we promote moderation and this vegan chai spice cake will hit the sweet spot for that occasional treat. Our Guest Contributor, Shana Grosclese adapted this recipe from, who adapted it from She even veganized Martha Stewart’s ButterCream frosting!  

Let’s hear from Shana herself:

"This super-satisfying cake took me back to my days living in Nepal, where chai tea was on the offering several times/day.  To find a recipe that was already veganized made me especially happy.  Across South Asia, “chai” gets served a number of different ways - black with cardamom, sweet and milky with black pepper, biting with LOADS of fresh ginger.  So adjust the spices to your palette - if it smells delicious, it will be!

For this recipe, I added nutmeg, upped the amount of some spices, simplified the instructions, took the milk out of the icing, the almond extract from the cake, and added decorating ideas. I never follow recipes 100%!"


  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 c (minus 2 tbsp) unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk product)
  • 3 c unbleached cake flour
  • ½ T baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t ground cardamom
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 2½ t ground ginger
  • 1/8 t freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 t fine sea salt
  • 1½ cups raw sugar, processed until fine
  • ¼ cup oil (recommend avocado oil)
  • ½ c STRONGLY brewed chai tea (from the bag, not concentrate)
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Vanilla “Buttercream” Frosting

  • 2 c (4 sticks) vegan butter, at room temperature
  • 3½ - 4 c powdered cane sugar, sifted (to taste)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split down the middle and scraped
  • 1 t vanilla extract


For the Cake

PREP:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease & flour two round 9-inch pans and line with parchment paper. 

  1. Use a clear measuring cup for the milk!  FIRST, add 2 T vinegar, THEN fill with almond milk to the 2c mark.  (This will separate.  It’s normal.)
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, and chai tea. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Alternate adding the dry stuff and the wet stuff to the batter.  Don’t over mix - your cake will be flat!
  5. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for 30–35 minutes. Let the cakes cool for an hour before attempting to frost.  (If you are making this ahead, cover tightly with plastic wrap & store in the fridge.  Then frost day-of.)

For the Frosting

  1. Beat the vegan butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar to the butter, scraping the sides with a spatula as needed.
  2. Mix in the teeny-tiny vanilla bean specks and vanilla extract, and beat the frosting for another 2–3 minutes until whipped and creamy.

Frost it & Serve

  1. Ensure that your cakes are COOL.  (If you rush this, your beautiful buttercream frosting will melt into an unsatisfying pool and appear rather like a slipped toupee.  No one wants to eat a melting toupee.  #Truth)
  2. Place one cake half on your serving dish. Spread about 1/4 of frosting on the top of the cake, then add the other cake half. Cover generously with frosting, then use a butter knife or spatula to add frosting 2 T at a time around your cake, swirling artfully as you go.  ;P
  3. “Decorate” with your spices - scraped vanilla bean, some whole cloves, and cardamom pods…a nutmeg nut, cracked…cinnamon stick.
  4. Keep the cake cool.  Serve with black tea or mulled wine.  

About Shana

Shana Groseclose is a consumer product safety educator & business owner with Arbonne International.  They offer vegan, gluten-free nutritional supplements and personal care products (soap, lotion, chapstick, etc) without animal cruelty, petrochemicals, PABA, parabens or formaldehyde-donating preservatives.  Shana has been vegetarian - mostly vegan - for almost 30 years and loves playing with food.  Her faves are pumpkin, kale and brussel sprouts.

You can learn more about Shana and Arbonne at


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