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Desserts & Sweets
Almond Chai Cake
Tangelo Syrup

almond chai cake with tangelo and honey syrup moody photography

Almond Chai Cake

with Tangelo Syrup

I have been dreaming up the idea for this warming winter cake for some time now, knowing how good the combination of almond milk and chai tea is, and imagining how those flavours could be carried in a light almond flour batter and lifted with a tangy but sweet tangelo syrup. I'm happy to report that the result is as good as I imagined, and even happier to report that it only contains half a cup of refined sugar. The rest of the sweetness comes from some warming spices and a bit of honey in the cake batter, plus a third of a cup of honey in the syrup. If you have access to a local floral honey, then I recommend using it here as a good honey will make all the difference to the flavour of the cake.   

You don’t have to use almond milk if you don’t want to, another plant-based milk would work as would cow's milk, but it really does lend that extra almond flavour when combined with the ground almonds. I explain how to make your own almond milk here, and in this cake I add an option to use some of the almond pulp that is a byproduct of making almond milk up in the batter – if you choose to make this variation only add the measurement of almond pulp listed, as because almond pulp is much drier than ground almonds, adding any more could lead to a drier cake.


I enjoy having this Almond Chai Cake with a cup of tea in the afternoon, but it is also nice if you eat it still slightly warm as a dessert cake with thick Greek yoghurt. 


Serves 12 


For the cake 

  • 1 cup almond milk 

  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated ginger 

  • 2 chai teabags (I use Healtheries Chai Tea) 

  • 100 grams softened butter OR ½ cup softened coconut oil 

  • ½ cup brown sugar 

  • ¼ cup honey 

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

  • 1 teaspoon tangelo or orange zest 

  • 3 eggs, at room temperature 

  • 1 ½ cups flour 

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 

  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice 

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon 

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom OR 5 cardamom pods, ground 

  • 1 ½ cups ground almonds OR 1 cup ground almonds plus ½ cup almond pulp 

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 

  • 2 tablespoons tangelo or orange juice 

For the syrup 

  • 1/3 cup runny honey 

  • 1/3 cup tangelo or orange juice 

  • ¼ cup water 

  • 1 large tangelo or orange, cut into thin slices 




  1. Preheat oven to 180.C

  2. Prepare a 22-25cm sized cake tin by lightly greasing the sides with coconut oil or butter and placing baking paper on the bottom. The photo I have taken here is of a cake made in a 22cm tin, but usually I would use a 25cm tin so that the cake is a little bit wider and thinner, allowing more coverage for the syrup.  

  3. Flavour the almond milk by placing it, the chai teabags and ginger in a small pan. Gently scald the milk, bringing it to a light simmer. Simmer for 30 seconds, stirring and pushing the teabags with the back of a spoon to release the chai flavour, and turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to steep so the ginger and chai infuse into the milk and let it cool while you make the rest of the cake. 

  4. Beat the butter or coconut oil together with the brown sugar and honey until light and creamy. Add the vanilla and tangelo/orange zest, then the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.  Set aside. 

  5. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and cinnamon. Add the ground cardamon and ground almonds, and almond pulp if making this variation. Mix, and if using almond pulp break up any lumps. 

  6. By now your milk mixture should have cooled down enough to handle. Take each teabag and gently tear them open, squeezing out as much of the insides into the milk as you can. You are trying to get as much chai flavour into the milk as you can. Discard the empty teabags. Add the tangelo or orange juice to the milk with the baking soda. Mix well – the reaction between the baking soda and acidic juice will cause it to expand a bit. 

  7. Pour the dry ingredients and the milk mixture into the creamed sugar/egg mixture and gently fold together using a spatula. Mix until just combined ensuring you don’t overmix. If you mix it too much at this stage the cake could become dense, and we are aiming for a light cake with good crumb. 

  8. Spread batter into prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-30 minutes. If your oven is known for cooking unevenly (as mine can be) turn the cake around halfway after 15 minutes. The length of time you cook the cake will depend on whether you have used a large tin or small cake tin, and also it will depend on your oven. I find it is a good idea to test the cake with a skewer after it has baked for 20 minutes and give it another 5 or 10 minutes if it isn’t ready. The main thing to remember is that you don’t want to overcook the cake or it could become dry, although in saying that syrup cakes are usually quite forgiving thanks to the moist syrup that gets poured over them.  

  9. While the cake is cooking make the tangelo syrup. Heat the honey, tangelo or orange juice and water in a heavy based saucepan until it is simmering, then add the tangelo slices. Use tongs to turn and gently move the slices in the syrup to ensure even coverage while it is cooking. Simmer on medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes until the syrup gets a bit thicker and darkens slightly. Keep an eye on it during this time as you don’t want to take it too far or it may become bitter.  

  10. Remove the syrup from the heat. Using tongs, take the tangelo slices out of the syrup, letting any excess syrup drip back into the pot. Lay them on a piece of baking paper to cool slightly. 

  11. Remove the cake from the oven when a skewer pushed into it comes out clean. Keep the cake in the tin and place on a board. While it is still hot, take your skewer and spike holes all over the top of the cake. Pour over some of the syrup, allowing it to sink in before adding more, making sure you are covering the whole top of the cake. If you like you can save a bit of syrup for serving on the side.  

  12. Let the cake cool in its tin for 30 minutes before removing and place it on a serving plate. 

  13. Cut each tangelo slice from the centre down. Take hold of the cut ends and twist each one. Arrange these tangelo twists on top of the cake and serve. 

  14. This cake will last well stored in a tin in a cool dark place (not the fridge), staying fresh for 4-5 days. 

wholesome chai almond cake with tangelo and honey syrup
almond chai tea cake with honey tangelo syrup on a aged backdrop

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Almond Chai Cake Recipe
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