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Chai Apple Coffee Cake Recipe, Food Gypsy

Chai Apple Coffee Cake, It’s Coffee Time!

A casual, rustic cake to gab over, because it’s been ages since we had coffee. Come on over, Chai Apple Coffee Cake is fresh out of the oven!

Surely it’s time to go back to living! Chatting with friends, spending hours debating politics and agreeing we could do it better. I feel like it’s been too long… so coffee cake! Is there coffee IN the cake? No Honey, it’s a cake you eat with your coffee or tea. Hey, whip up some hot chocolate if you like, but do enjoy the deep Chai spice with bright, sweet apples of this simple cake. It’s delish.

What Do You Need to Bake Chai Apple Coffee Cake?

To get that signature Chai richness we lean heavily on ginger and cinnamon. Then we add balance with nutmeg, clove and cardamom. I love this spice blend in the crumble. It could just as easily top muffins with coarse sugar.

Sour cream might be something you have to pick up. Other than that it’s basic cake ingredients; flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, salt.

More Than Apples

The cake is pretty darn flexible.  I tested it with both dark brown sugar and white, and prefer the colour and crumb of the white sugar version, but I like both. You could shift the fruit to pears or very ripe quince and have an equally fantastic Chai coffee cake.

I’m in love with apples at the moment. So I’m indulging, just a little bit. Use your favourite baking apple, there are so many amazing varieties of apples! I used Golden Delicious in this recipe because they hold well, without disintegrating into mush and have a bright, sweet taste.

When Was The Last Time You Checked On Your Spices?

I ask because it’s been ages since I dug through the spice rack. Recipe tested the spice mix Chai Apple Coffee Cake several times and just could not get it right. It was bland when it should have been punchy. Then I checked the expiry date on my spices. Turns out my ground ginger expired in 2015. Yup. 2015.

Ground ginger is probably one of my least used spices. I generally cook with fresh, but when it comes to baking, dried, ground is best. Tuns out a few of my lesser-used spices; Curry Leaves, Chinese Five Spice, and Garam Marsala all needed to be refreshed.

A wee reminder: check those spices before you start your Christmas baking because your Ginger Sparkle Cookies will NOT be the same with weak, barely there, ginger. (This has been a public service announcement.)

Bake well. Be SPICY. Have a piece of coffee cake!

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Chai Apple Coffee Cake Recipe, Food Gypsy

Chai Apple Coffee Cake

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  • Author: Cori Horton
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 12 1x


A rustic, casual cake to gab over, because it’s been ages since we had coffee. Come on over, Chai Apple Coffee Cake is fresh out of the oven!


Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sunflower or light vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 medium apples, diced or slightly chunky
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Chai Spice Crumble

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 11/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, cold and cut into small cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Prepare a 9 x 13-inch pan, coating the inside liberally with non-stick spray and lining (fully, or partially) with parchment paper (see notes).
  2. CHAI SPICED CRUMBLE: Combine ground ginger, nutmeg, clove and cardamom in a bowl with 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar and lightly whisk to mix.  Add a 1/4 cup of salted butter and blend together using a pastry blender, a wooden spoon or your fingertips until you have a coarse, crumbly mixture. Then add honey, and mix again. Reserve until needed.
  3. APPLES: Peel and chop apples into chunky cubes. Toss lightly with lemon juice and reserve.
  4. CAKE: Using a mixer on medium setting (or wooden spoon and some elbow grease) cream together softened butter, oil and sugar until smooth and light; about 3 minutes, then scrape down the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and cream again until light and fluffy, and scrape down your bowl again.
  5. Add dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt – directly on top of your butter mixture and lightly whisk to combine before mixing again, on low speed until JUST combined.
  6. Remove your bowl from the stand mixer, and lightly fold in the sour cream using a spatula, to make a smooth, creamy, but dense batter.
  7. Scoop batter into your prepared 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle with approximately half of the Chai Spice Crumble, evenly distributed (you can swirl it in with a butter knife if you like, going smoothly from side-to-side of the pan in a figure-eight motion). Top with apples, gently pressing them into the batter below, then top with the remaining Chai Spice Crumble.
  8. Bake at Chai Apple Coffee Cake at 350°F (175°C) for 30 – 35 minutes or a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake removes clean.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Before serving, loosen edges with a paring knife around the outside, to be able to remove cake, slice by slice from the pan. Slice and serve, with ice cream (vanilla or coffee!), crème fraiche, or whipped cream. To avoid your cake crumbling under the knife, use a serrated knife and cool completely before cutting.  Reserve at room temperature, in its pan, covered with plastic wrap. No fancy cake plate needed. Frankly, this cake improves with age, so it’s a great bake-the-day-before cake. If you can resist it!


This makes a BIG cake, so if you’d like to cut back on how much cake you have on hand, halve the recipe, using two eggs, and bake in an 8 x 8 pan.

For me, coffee cakes are too casual for cake stands or platters, they should live on the stove, still in the pan they were baked in, covered with plastic wrap until they’re done! Just in case we get company! You might notice in the video that cover the bottom of the pan with two overlapping pieces of parchment that run up just the two ends of the pan. This way, once it’s baked, I can easily remove the parchment without disturbing the cake. I heart easy!

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.

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