Chai Tea Tres Leches 1.5

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One of my mentors from graduate school once said to me, “every moment is a teaching moment.” Of his many words of wisdom, that statement is one of my favorites. It eliminates the need for regret and allows every ‘mistake’ or ‘mishap’ to be a source of growth. Hence, this being Chai Tea Tres Leches version 1.5. Version 1.0 wasn’t a tres leches at all. Version 1.0 started out as a desire to make an Earl Grey tea cake with an orange buttercream. But when I pitched the idea to friends, I got strange looks. They replied politely, “Earl Grey is an acquired taste.”

Point taken. So, I switched the concept–Chai Tea cake with a Vanilla Buttercream. Only, version 1.0 left something to be desired. It’s wasn’t “chai-ey’ enough and the buttercream overshadowed the cake. I thought… I should have made a tres leches–that way I could infuse the cake with milky/chai-ey goodness to highlight the chai flavor more.

So, this is my first attempt at bringing those daydreams to fruition. Not surprisingly, I brought it to SEEDS. The consensus from the SEEDS folks was that the cake was tasty (they finished the entire thing!). Half thought it was sweet enough as is, half (including me) thought it could have been sweeter. And among the folks who knew about tres leches, there was consensus that this was definitely not a tres leches cake. I agreed. This is more of a spice cake than a tres leches cake. But, rather than cry about it, I’m turning this into a teaching moment :). In version 2.o, I am planning to increase the sweetness and increase the amount of ‘leches.’ As a spice cake though, this was really tasty. And the cream was actually much better than a heavy frosting.

I wanted to post version 1.5 now because as an accompaniment to morning, afternoon, or evening tea, I think this cake would be just great. And the folks over at in collaboration with Kelly Ripa and Electrolux are looking for dishes that represent the “ultimate tea party recipe.” Ahem ;). Foodbuzz will donate $50 to Ovarian Cancer research for every blog post that highlights a contender for the ultimate tea party recipe. Cancer has touched the lives of many of my loved ones and of my friend’s loved ones, so I didn’t think twice about doing this post! Check out Kelly Confidential for more info!

Chai Tea Tres Leches 1.5 (Printable Recipe)

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cardamon

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

3/4 cup chai concentrate

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 chai tea bag (just the tea leaves)

Cake Method:

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 9in x 13 in baking pan. Set aside.

*Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cloves and cardamon. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, oil, almond milk, chai concentrate, vanilla, and the leaves from the tea bag. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three batches. Add to prepared pan. Bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 45 minutes. Prick the top of the cake with a fork.

Los Leches Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup chai concentrate

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cardamon

dash cinnamon

dash black pepper

Los Leches Method:

*Add almond milk to medium sauce pan. Heat over medium low heat until the liquid reduces by half. (Notes: Traditional tres leches calls for evaporated milk… this is my attempt to make vegan evaporated milk [so the three milks are regular almond milk, evaporate almond milk, and coconut milk]. Also, make sure you heat the milk slowly. Rushing this step will leave you with almond milk foam all over your stove).

*Whisk chai concentrate, coconut milk, vanilla, sugar, spices, and ‘evaporated’ almond milk. Once the cake is cooled, slowly pour the milk mixture all over the cake so that it absorbs into the fork holes. Set aside.

The Cream Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 cup soy whip

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons chai concentrate

1/2 teaspoon cardamon

pinch cinnamon, clove, salt, pepper

1 chai tea bag (just the leaves)

The Cream Method:

*Beat all ingredients until the mixture reaches the soft peak stage (just holds on the end of a spatula).

*Dollop 3/4 of the cream all over the cake. Spread evenly. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Serve with remaining cream on the side.

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. flavourful cake delicious

  2. This looks excellent. I used to make chai tea from scratch, and this recipe inspires me to make some after my next visit to the food coop. Maybe I’ll make a chai-flavored cake or muffins too.

  3. This looks delicious! Love the chai too… yum!

  4. What a delicious sounding Tres leches! Even better that it is vegan. Great idea making it with chai!

  5. Oh dear that looks so good and delicious! My mouth just started watering:) Love this!

  6. Looks delicious!

  7. WOW, really delicious!! I would love to have some with my coffee right now :))

  8. Yum! You are right… this sounds like the perfect cake for a tea party!!! 🙂

  9. A really interesting post. I love experiementing with recipes too. tres leches also has many possibilities, inspiring thank you.

  10. Your lucky SEEDS friends! Can’t wait to see your next version~

  11. Wow this looks so fresh and perfect 🙂 I would love to have a tea party now 🙂

  12. I know what I am having with my morning coffee! This sounds gorgeous, and healthy too!

  13. The cake looks delicious with the cream! I would love to have a slice.

  14. Wow–what a cool concept! I’ve got to try this.

  15. Tiffany, this sounds awesome! That’s a great quote – every moment truly is a teaching moment and cooking is definitely no exception. It’s easy to give up but I’m glad you persisted and came up with this yummy cake!

  16. I love Earl Grey, but I guess I can see how chai would appeal to more people. A beautiful cake, though!

  17. Love the chai tres leche concept – Looks deliciously spicy! Can’t wait for version 2.0!

  18. Yum….I love the chai tea and look forward to seeing the next version. 🙂

  19. This looks and sounds like a delightful recipe! Very pretty!

    Blessings, Catherine

  20. I love tres leches! And the chai additional sounds wonderful!

  21. Oh My Goodness…..Yum……This sounds incredible.

  22. Yum, this sounds so delicious. I can see how it’s not so much a tres leches cake, but who cares?! As long as it tastes good…
    I love the chai idea, i’m going to have to try something like this soon!

  23. What a great way to put two classics together! Looks delish…

  24. I love hearing the thought process from your original idea and how it progressed to this delicious cake.

  25. Well alright Now, This is good Tiffany. How did you know that I adore chai tea?

  26. This looks like a delicious cake. For some reason I always thought a tres leches cake used condensed milk. I love that you’ve added tea in your version.

    • Traditional tres leches does have sweetened condensed milk… but this is a vegan version. And to my knowledge there’s no vegan sweetened condensed or evaporated milk (at least not yet!). This was my attempt to ‘veganize’ a classic :).

  27. Earl Grey is the awesome, period! 🙂 I love your teacher’s statement. Your tres leches looks good, you know I love the spices. Plus it is for a good cause.

  28. Your cake looks fantastic!! I can almost taste the cream!

  29. That looks so amazingly good!

  30. Kudos to you for posting this ‘tea party’ recipe in support of Ovarian cancer research! I desperately tried to get one in time, and though I posted today I dont think tea party when I have brownies… well maybe. 😉 Anyway, a tres leches cake is perfect for tea time, esp when made with chai tea!

    • I would TOTALLY have brownies at a tea party!!! 😀

  31. I love your ideas and your recipe! FYI I’d totally try an Earl Grey cake if you made one, even though it is an acquired taste, in the form of something like this it can be balanced out. In my humble opinion.

    This cake looks so perfect and VERY creative! I am quite impressed!

    • I made Earl Grey shortbread cookies this weekend… folks loved them… I think I’ll try a cake next!

  32. Wow did this post make me drool.

    I adore your cake and especially like how you included coconut milk.

    Thanks so much for the post a recipe!

  33. Oh, be still my heart. This looks amazing, Tiff! My goodness, I think you’ve really outdone yourself this time. :-p

    And, BTW, I loved your reference to that great quote. I worked with infants and toddlers at a child care center for many years and I truly respected that philosophy. We all grow to become better individuals by experiencing challenging moments and learning from them. Children are the same. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, Tiff!

    • Thanks Stephanie!!!

  34. I love chai tea and the spices you incorporated into this cake. Great concept!

  35. So creative! Can you make me some?! LOL!

    How was the soy whip, both to work with and taste? I’ve never tried it.

    • The soy whip was OK to work with. It didn’t hold up as much as I would have liked…. but I’m going to play around with it a bit more…

  36. Tiffany, Love you dessert it looks so good and so creative ….it deserves an award:)Check it out

    • Thank you so much Irena! I am so touched! Our blogging community is pretty freaking amazing! It’s kind of crazy how welcoming and supportive everyone is! I hope you had a great Monday!

  37. I love chai tea! You have such a great attitude–I am sure version 2.0 will be amazing!

  38. I am always impressed by your unique recipes…i would never have thought of mixing up all those ingredients to make such an outstanding cake. This is definitely going into my “to bake” list 🙂

  39. Thanks for the positive feedback folks!

  40. This looks and sounds so delightful!

  41. Love chai tea! This sounds like a perfect breakfast treat for me.