OK, I took a short break from the kitchen, because I’d made a few massive wedding cakes, and being that focused for that long always makes me feel like I’ve been underground.

Like, why is every TV station showing a Patrick Swayze movie? And where’d all the rotary phones go?

It was time to warrsh the dishes, mop the floor and do something completely different for a while.

So I broke out the crockpot (oh, yes) and let it do the work while I roamed the city, read the latest issue of Oxford American, nuzzled the newborn niece, listened to tons of free podcasts on EVERYTHING, walked outside, napped while it rained, finally watched “Fight Club” (and a mini-marathon of “Ruby”), checked out Halloween costumes and decorations, cleaned, organized, listened to new music and hung out with Jeff.

It was good.

And then something happened. I started getting new ideas for things to make for fall, for tailgating, for Halloween. And I found this recipe for Chai-Apple Pie Coffee Cake, which begged to be made immediately.

With the chai baked into the cake and used to sauté the apples, you get a coffee cake that’s sweet and spicy, moist for days and crumbly. Just right for a low-key rainy day. Or several.

I don’t think a big dollop of bourbon whipped cream would hurt it one bit.

A little bit of feel-good goes a long way.

Now, let’s make something good.

Chai-Apple Pie Coffee Cake

Adapted from Oregon Chai™


  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chai tea latte concentrate (recommended: Oregon Chai™ Tea Latte, Original)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
    Apple Topping:

  • 2 cups of apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chai tea latte concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch baking dish, 9-inch cake pan or a small bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add butter and mix until crumbly, with your fingers or a pastry blender. In a separate bowl, mix together chai concentrate, egg and vanilla. Blend into flour mixture, spoon the mixture into the pan, and spread it with a spatula or knife.
  3. For the streusel, place 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons butter in a small bowl. Pinch together with your fingers until crumbly. Set aside.
  4. To make the apple topping, sauté apples in 2 tablespoons butter for approximately 2 minutes in a small saucepan. Add chai concentrate, cover and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Spread the streusel on the batter. Spoon apples over the top, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar.
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Cool cake on wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.