Chai Spiced Apple Cake

Last Updated on February 24, 2011 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

One morning last week, my day was made by a gigantic vacuum-sealed bag of fresh diced apples arriving at my door as a lovely offering from the friendly Jazz apple folks. If you haven’t tried a Jazz apple, they are a crunchy, sweet-tart cross between a Gala and a Braeburn. Try one. They are addictive. I may have made a fairly significant dent in the 7 lb bag already…

No shame in an apple bender, right?

However, I figured at least some of them should make their way into a butter-flour-sugar vehicle of some sorts. Obviously. Enter this incredibly moist, tender, delicately spiced and haphazardly iced, chock-full-of-apples cake.

In baking this cake, I conducted a little experiment. I decided to measure my flour in cups, and then weigh it to see how accurate it was. And guess what?? My gently spooned and leveled 3 cups were a full 3 ounces heavier than they should have been. This makes a serious difference in cakes, people!!

Lesson: 1 cup of all-purpose flour should weigh 4.4 ounces. If you scoop directly from the bag into your measuring cup, you are going to get a much denser cup of flour which could significantly affect your end result. Even spooned-and-leveled flour can be off enough to make the difference between a perfect cake and a dry one. Same goes for butter – 1 tbsp butter equals 1/2 an ounce. The lines on the greasy paper wrapping your butter sticks can’t provide much more than a rough estimate. Weigh your ingredients, and you may experience your best baked goods ever.

Here’s a super resource for converting volume to weights.

Apples and cinnamon have got to be the comfiest of all comfort food combinations. I decided to jazz up my cake** with some additional warm spices of the chai tea variety – ginger and cardamom, specifically. Honestly, if I could bottle the smell in my kitchen while this was baking, I think I could get rich selling it.

**Did you get that clever word play? You know, ’cause of the Jazz apples? Jazzed up the cake? Get it?? No? Ok. Clears throat. Resumes seriousness.

Try this cake. Omit whatever spices other than the cinnamon that don’t float your boat, or that you simply don’t have on hand. Humour me and weigh your ingredients. Watch how fast the cake disappears.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 cups peeled, diced apples

For buttermilk icing

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a nonstick bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the large bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add half of dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat on low speed till just combined. Add half of the buttermilk and beat again. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and buttermilk. Gently stir in apples and transfer batter to prepared bundt pan. Bake 50 -60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

To make icing:

  1. Beat together all ingredients, adding more icing sugar or buttermilk as needed to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake.
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