I went into this cake kinda “meh” about it. As I’ve stated before, in my Pumpkin Spice Donut recipe, I’m not a crazy pumpkin person. It’s practically sacrilege to say that come fall but it’s the truth. Chai, on the other hand, I quite enjoy.
It has a slightly spicey edge full of warm cinnamon notes. So I figured I could weather another pumpkin treat as long as I paired it with something I like. And the results were phenomenal. I can assure you pumpkin nay-sayers, it’s freakin’ delicious with chai.
Note: This post contains affiliate links to which I earn a small commission, but don’t worry there’s no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting CAKED by Katie.
I’ve been baking for some time now. There’s not much in the kitchen that I haven’t attempted. But this was the first time I tried my hand at mousse. And dairy-free mousse at that. Oi vey…what was I thinking?! After a few different tries, I figured it out. The key to getting that airy and creamy mousse texture without heavy cream was tofu! And you want to know the best part…no one in my family even guessed it was tofu. I’m calling that a supreme pumpkin mousse win.
The real star of this cake show was the almond chai layers though. Perfectly spiced and perfectly moist. Ain’t no one got time for a dense or dry cake. The subtle spiciness of chai compliments that smooth sweet of almond. Little side tip about using almond extract: a little goes a long way. There’s a fine line between a hint of almond yumminess and an overpowering almond chemical taste. So err on the side of caution and start small.
Like my Espresso Oreo Cake, I sliced each 8-inch cake layer in half giving a total of 4 layers. This helps maximize that delicious pumpkin mousse filling and gives you a better buttercream to cake ratio. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, I fully support all the buttercream. 😉 I use a Wilton cake leveler to slice my layers up fast and level. It’s just a few bucks and worth its weight in gold.
Finally, I used a really fun cake comb, it’s called the Wave, to create this fun textured design on the buttercream. It’s from NY Cake and super simple to use. Apply a thick layer of buttercream and, much like an icing smoother, smooth the buttercream with the comb. make sure you clean the comb after each pass to prevent any buttercream dragging and to give super sharp lines.
NY Cake has kindly offered my readers a 10% discount off their entire store when you use the promo code CAKED at checkout. So gather your tools, mix up some chai spice, and get ready to eat. Well bake first and then eat. 😉
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8-inch round cake pans.
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter, oil, and sugar on high for 2 minutes with the whisk attachment.
Add egg whites and mix on high for 2 minutes.
Add yogurt, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix on high for 2 minutes.
Combine all the dry ingredients into the mixer and mix on low
While the mixer is on low slowly pour in the almond milk and mix until combined. Be careful to not overmix the batter.
Divide batter between pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack to fully cool.
PUMPKIN MOUSSE FILLING:
In a blender or food processor, add the tofu, pumpkin puree, chai spice, and brown sugar. Blend or process until smooth.
In a small cup, mix the cornstarch and milk into a slurry.
In a large pot, add the blended pumpkin mixture in with the cornstarch slurry and cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. This should take approximately 3-5 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow it to fully cool before filling the cake.
ALMOND CHAI BUTTERCREAM:
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and shortening on high speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
Add the icing sugar, salt, chai spice, vanilla extract, almond extract, and almond milk and mix on low until combined.
Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Using the cake leveler, cut each cake layer in half creating a total of 4 layers.
Place one leveled layer of almond chai cake on a cake board or plate. Cover with approximately 1 1/2 cups of buttercream and pipe a border around the edge. Fill with approximately 1/3 cup of the pumpkin mousse.
Repeat with the remaining cake layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Apply a final thick coat of buttercream and, using the NY cake comb, gently run it around the sides of the cake making sure to clean the comb off after each use.
Decorate as you please. I used Slo Food Group edible gold leaf for a pop of metallic on the side of the cake and decorated the top with cinnamon sticks and some leaves and twigs found in my backyard. Enjoy!