1 1/4 cups milk
2 black (normal) tea bags
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch of ground black pepper
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cup castor sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla essence (or vanilla bean)
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups Plain flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
100g softened butter
100g softened cream cheese
Whatever you need of icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence/paste (or 1 vanilla bean)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1). In a saucepan, heat the milk until just before boiling. Add the teabags and spices (including the split vanilla bean if using this), cover and remove from heat. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then give the milk a stir and remove the teabags, squeezing them to remove as much tea flavour as possible. (and remove and scrape the vanilla bean). Allow to cool. Measure out 1 1/4 cups of this, adding extra (plain) milk if some has evaporated off (I needed to add 2 tb).
2). Beat the sugar and butter until creamy. Add eggs. Sift together the baking powder, salt and flours.
3). Gradually add the spiced milk and sifted flour mix alternately, mixing well.
3). Spoon mixture into baking cases and bake at 190ºC for around 20 minutes, or until cakes are cooked (skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean). Allow to cool before icing.
If you would prefer to use Chai teabags instead of the spices, use 3 Chai teabags and do not use the spices or black teabag, however the result will not be the same flavour as using the spices. If you really like Chai, try the Chai frosting, or if you prefer something more subtle, perhaps a plain vanilla frosting
For the Frosting:
Beat butter and cream cheese together, then add spices, vanilla and enough icing sugar to make the right consistency. Halve the spices for a more subtle flavour.