High Chai – Massala Tea Carrot Cake

high tea boven instaSometimes I have to meet my inner Englishman. On these moments I enjoy a decadent high tea. Meeting a friend for tea or coffee on a free afternoon and indulge myself with some sweet pastry and hearty sandwiches. That’s the good life. Contemplating about the concept of high tea the thought came up: why not combine two high tea essentials? Tea and cake in one! And when we’re talking about tea, we’re talking – of course – about delicious, spicy Indian massala tea. With tealeaves from the enchanting green hills of Darjeeling, Assam or Munnar.

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Munnar, spring 2017. Breathtaking view on tea plantations from Chokramudi Mountain

This carrot cake is infused with masala tea and therefore very flavorful. The tea, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon are the main players of this dish. The combination of the sweet, spiced cake with creamy frosting is just heavenly. A perfect treat on a autumn or winter afternoon.

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Healthy Version
I tried to bake healthy glutenfree, vegan and sugar free versions of carrot cake, but was never completely satisfied with the result. The cake came out the oven too moist, soft and less tasty. That’s why I use real eggs, flour with gluten – I prefer spelt, which is low in gluten –  and real brown sugar. But feel free to replace the eggs by 1 tsp of baking powder, 1 tbsp (apple cider) vinegar, 2 tbsp flax seeds soaked in water. Also you can substitute the sugar by agave syrup, but keep in mind that the caramelization of the brown sugar makes the cake more tasty and firm. Butter can be replaced by coconut butter, but this makes the cake more greasy and soft. Please let me know if you have a good healthy carrot cake recipe or some suggestions!

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Masala Tea Carrot Cake recipe
Serving: 12 portions
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Waiting Time: 2-3 hours

Equipment:
cake tin, about 22 cm / 8 inch

2 big bowls

Ingredients

Cake
3 tbsp chai mix tea leaves
50 ml boiling water
350 g spelt flour (or all purpose flour)
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped / powder
2 tsp cardamom powder (from the store or fresh roasted and grounded green cardamom pods)
400 g shredded carrots
150 g / ¾ cup brown sugar
180 g melted/soft butter (cow or coconut)
4 eggs
80 gram pistachios, coarsely chopped
100 gram dates, coarsely chopped

Frosting
200 g cream cheese
100 g soft butter (cow or coconut)
250 g icing sugar

Method

Cake
Pour boiling water over the tea leaves and let infuse for 15 minutes.
Grease the cake tin with butter or oil. Preheat the oven on 180 C / 350 F.
Break the eggs in a bowl. Add the melted butter and sugar and beat well with a electric mixer or whisk.
Add spelt flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder, ginger powder, cardamom powder, tea infusion and salt. I love to use plenty of cardamon, but reduce the amount if you like. Mix well until the batter is smooth. Use a spatula or an electric mixer.
Add shredded carrots, and mix well. Then add dates and 50 gram pistachios. Keep the other 30 gram aside for the topping. Stir well and pour the batter in the cake tin. Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes, depending on the power of your oven.
The cake should be golden brown when it’s ready. Or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool down in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove from the tin to a cooling rack and wait for at least 1 hour.  

Frosting
Place the cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Take a hand mixer and beat on low speed. Gradually add icing sugar until the mixture is smooth. Frost the cake and garnish with the pistachios.   

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