Chai-spiced carrot cakes with honeyed cream cheese

The warming spices of chai tea give depth of flavour to this classic. The recipe also works for a single-layer cake, baked in a 23cm loose-bottomed tin.

More than 1 hour

Makes 4 mini cakes


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  • 3 bags PnP vanilla chai tea
  • ½ cup (125ml) hot milk
  • 1 cup (150g) cake flour
  • 1 cup (150g) wholewheat flour
  • 1 packet (100g) chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds) + extra toasted nuts for decorating
  • 2 tsp (10ml) each bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and baking powder
  • ½ tsp (3ml) fine salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups (330g) castor sugar
  • 1 cup (250ml) sunflower oil
  • 2 cups (160g) carrot, grated
  • 1 can (430g) crushed pineapple in syrup


  • ¼ cup (60ml) honey
  • 1 tub (250g) full-fat cream cheese
  • ½ tsp (3ml) cinnamon
  • 4 cups (520g) icing sugar
  • Lemon juice, to taste



  1. Steep tea in hot milk for 10 minutes, then discard tea bags.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C and line four 8cm round loose-bottomed tins with baking paper.
  3. Combine dry ingredients, excluding sugar, in a bowl.
  4. Cream eggs and sugar together in a separate bowl until pale and fluffy.
  5. Whisk in oil, then fold wet mixture into dry ingredients.
  6. Stir in carrot and pineapple with syrup.
  7. Spoon batter into baking tins. (Two 18cm baking trays will work too, cutting baked cake later with a cookie cutter to create rounds.)
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes in tins, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. Cut rounds in half to create 2 layers each.
  11. Whisk honey and cream cheese until softened and smooth.
  12. Add cinnamon and ¼ icing sugar and whisk until smooth.
  13. Add remaining icing sugar in two parts until smooth.
  14. Add a drop of lemon juice.
  15. Pipe or spoon frosting between cake layers.
  16. Top cakes with frosting and toasted nuts.
  17. Decorate with spun sugar (click here to see how to make it).


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