Recipe courtesy of Benjamina Ebuehi

Masala-Chai Carrot Cake

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min (plus cooling)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
London-based baking star Benjamina Ebuehi learned from a young age that spices were the secret to the bold flavors in her favorite savory dishes, but it wasn’t until she started baking that she realized those same ingredients could also elevate desserts. Take the Masala-Chai Carrot Cake from her book, The New Way to Cake. Knowing that many home bakers already have a go-to carrot cake recipe (most likely flavored with cinnamon), she decided to turn to less-expected spices like black pepper and cardamom. “Some cakes just have one sugary note, but I often want something more intriguing,” Benjamina says. “Using spices in a cake gives it nuance.”


For the Cake:

For the Frosting:


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. To make the cake, add the tea bags to a mug of the boiling water and let them steep for 5 minutes before discarding the bags. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper and cardamom. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the muscovado sugar, eggs and tea, mixing until combined before stirring in the oil. Tip in the carrots and fold them in so they’re evenly distributed. Fold in the flour mixture until just incorporated, making sure there are no pockets of flour hiding near the bottom.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cakes are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans, then turn them out onto a rack. 
  5. To make the frosting, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until pale and smooth. Beat in the cream cheese until combined. 
  6. To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake stand. Spoon one-third of the frosting on top and push right to the edges. Place the second cake topside down in order to give you a flat top. Add the rest of the frosting, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula. Scatter the walnuts on top of the cake. 

Cook’s Note

Once you’ve made this cake a couple times, feel free to adjust the spices to your taste and make it your own.