Thai Tea Cake

As flattered as I am that people ooh and aah over this Thai tea cake every time I bring it to a food-centric gathering and tell me what a great idea it is, I can’t help but feel a bit like a fraud. This is because there’s no such thing as Thai tea cake. A Thai tea cake is a cake — any cake — that contains or has been infused with Thai tea.

This one featured here is no exception. It’s nothing but a basic génoise with some Thai tea leaves added to it.

Since the whole idea is to make a cake that features the flavors of prepared Thai tea which many of us love so much, i.e. sweetened tea and milk, I serve this plain cake simply with sweetened whipped heavy cream. That’s it. You can dust some powdered sugar on top of the cake, but that’s not even necessary.

You don’t have to use my recipe; any plain cake recipe which has served you well will do. Watch out, however, for ingredients that may clash with the delicate flavor of the tea. Add-ins with strong flavors, such as lime zest, should be left out. Olive oil should be replaced with melted (and cooled) butter. If the recipe calls for floral perfuming agents, such as orange blossom or rose water, they should also be omitted. These are just a few examples.

Thai tea leaves are crumbled into very small pieces and softened almost readily upon contact with liquid even before being baked, so you can add them into your cake batter if you don’t mind a bespeckled cake. I certainly don’t. Be sure to add the tea at an early stage to allow it to thoroughly infuse the batter.

But if you don’t want black specks in your cake, infuse some of the liquid your cake recipe calls for with the tea first before adding it to the batter. For example, if you’re using a hot milk sponge cake recipe, infuse the milk with the tea first and strain it before adding it to the batter. If no liquid of any kind is called for, then make about 2-3 tablespoons of very, very concentrated tea, strain it, and add it to the batter at the butter-sugar creaming stage; that little amount of liquid shouldn’t destroy the wet:dry ratio of the batter.

But if you want a mildly-sweet cake with soft and spongy texture, you can use this basic génoise recipe.

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Thai Tea Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • 6 large eggs, must be at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or better yet 1¼ cups cake flour)
  • 3 tablespoons Thai tea leaves (not a Thai tea mix with added sugar and whitener)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled completely
  1. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper and grease the bottom and sides of the pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, tea, sugar, and salt on high speed for 10 minutes until the mixture has tripled in volume.
  4. Sift (you must sift, as opposed to simply adding, the flour into the egg mixture to prevent lumps. Sift in the flour ⅓ at a time and fold it in gently.
  5. Gently fold in the melted butter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place the pan in the middle of the oven, and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger.
  7. Let the cake cool completely, at which point you can dust some powdered sugar on top, if desired.
  8. Serve the cake with heavy whipping cream with added powdered sugar added, whipped to a soft peak.


17 Responses to Thai Tea Cake

  1. ♥peachkins♥ January 27, 2011 at 1:26 am #

    what a great looking cake!

  2. dp January 27, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Infusing cakes, creme brulee and ice cream with Thai tea always brings it up a notch! You can even make Thai tea whipped cream by cold steeping the cream overnight in the fridge before whipping it.

  3. anna January 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Thai tea is such a pretty and delicious flavor for cake! I’ve done Thai tea cupcakes before and they were lovely.

  4. pigpigscorner January 27, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    I certainly don’t mind the black specks if it gives more flavour! Sounds amazing.

  5. Charlotte January 31, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    My husband is a Thai Tea fan. He would love this! I don’t have a spring form pan, just a regular 9″ round. Does it make a difference?

    Are all Thai Teas the same? Just buy any bag that says Thai Tea?

  6. Leela January 31, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    Charlotte – I’ve explained the two types of Thai tea through the links from the words “Thai tea leaves” in two places in the post. To make this cake, it’s best to use the unsweetened kind.

    The amount of batter this recipe produces exceeds the capacity of most 9-inch round pan, unless you have the type whose edge comes up as high as that of a springform pan. Therefore, to make a 9-inch round cake, you need to halve the recipe. But if you have two 9-inch round pans, you can split the batter between the two pans then turn the whole thing into a 2-layer cake. Frost it with either butter cream icing or what I prefer which the meringue-y 7-minute frosting.

  7. Ju (The Little Teochew) January 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Lol, you are so funny, Leela! I love tea infused cakes. Gosh, that means I have made Thai tea cakes before, w/o even knowing! 😉

  8. Ashley February 6, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    This looks and sounds absolutely AMAZING.

  9. jj March 9, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    hi leela, I just came back from BKK and bought an orange canister of jasmine tea (from China) which I saw several vendors sell along with other thai ingredients. I assume this is the one the street vendors use to make Thai iced tea? Am I right?

  10. Leela March 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    JJ – Oh, I know exactly what orange can of jasmine tea you’re talking about. No, it’s not. Thai tea comes with spices and color mixed in and does not smell of jasmine at all. Follow the link in the recipe to see what loose Thai tea leaves look like.

  11. Anonymous April 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Hi Leela, I can’t find what temperature to cook the cake at, I’m assuming its ~350F? The instructions say to preheat the oven but not to what temp 🙁

  12. Leela April 5, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    Anon – GAH!!! It’s fixed now. Sorry about that, and thank you so much!

  13. Chameleon Thai Restaurant Brighton December 20, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    I would LOVE to try this, thanks for sharing your reciple!

  14. Rebecca December 4, 2016 at 3:48 am #

    HI Leela,

    is it normal for the thai tea leaves to sink to the bottom of the cake whilst baking? The top is fluffy and soft — just like you have described. however, I had to cut off the bottom half because it was overtly thick and chewy.

    • Leela December 4, 2016 at 8:31 am #

      Rebecca – No. The problem could be 1. the eggs weren’t beaten enough or 2. the flour (or butter wasn’t folded into the beaten eggs thoroughly enough, or 3. the flour (or butter) was mixed into the eggs too much causing the beaten eggs to deflate. For a genoise-type cake like this, there’s not baking powder or baking soda to help lift it; it depends solely on the air that you whip into the eggs. This could be tricky if you’re not used to making this type of cake.

      To solve #1, beat the eggs until they’re really pale and tripled in volume; when you lift the beater and let the mixture flows back onto itself, it should retain its shape on the surface for about 7-8 seconds before dissolving (or you can blow into the surface, quite hard, and it forms “a rose”).

      To solve #2, use a larger rubber spatula, don’t stir vigorously but fold the flour in gently but thoroughly—all the way to the egg mixture at the very bottom of the bowl which often gets left out.

      To solve #3, a trick that often helps beginners, is to spoon out about 1 cup of the batter and mix it into the melted butter thoroughly first, then fold that mixture back into the remaining batter.


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