Fall has well and truly arrived, and with it pumpkin EVERYTHING. Still being relatively new to Canada and the fall pumpkin obsession, the novelty hasn’t worn off yet.
I’ve baked with tea before, but this time I went super easy mode and used a cake mix. Infusing the vegetable oil with DAVIDsTEA’s famous pumpkin chai tea turns this vanilla cake mix into a delicious fall dessert that people won’t believe you made from a box! And the decorating is really easy too — just the way I like it!
- 1 Betty Crocker french vanilla cake mix
- 3 eggs
- Just over 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp DAVIDsTEA Pumpkin Chai tea
- 1 8oz (250 gram) package of cream cheese
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups icing/confectioner’s sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- Orange food colouring
- Two 8-inch round cake tins
- 1 small pot
- Bread knife
- Teaspoon or butter knife
Firstly you’ll need to infuse the 1/2 cup of oil with the pumpkin chai tea. Put a generous 1/2 cup (so, 1/2 cup + 1 tsp) into a pot with the tea and turn the stove on to medium heat.
Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, before taking the mixture off the heat and leaving it to steep for another 10 minutes. Strain the oil using a sieve and toss out the tea leaves — you’ll likely lose about 1 tsp of the oil in the tea, leaving you with the 1/2 cup required for the box cake mix.
Preheat your oven to 350F/180C. Make up the box cake mix according to the instructions, using your now tea-infused oil and adding 1 tsp of cinnamon. Pour the batter evenly between two greased 8-inch round cake tins and bake according to the instructions — in my oven they took about 25 minutes. When they’re done, pull the cakes out of the oven and leave them to cool.
While you’re waiting for the cakes to bake and cool, make your cream cheese icing. I just used the Philadelphia cream cheese recipe, but you could buy ready-made cream cheese icing if you wanted to make this even easier. Add a couple of drops of orange food colouring to the icing until it’s a pumpkiny colour you’re happy with.
Once the cakes have had plenty of time to cool, level the tops using a bread knife (or a cake level). Spread a layer of icing over one levelled cake and stack the other on top of it.
Now it’s time to create the pumpkin shape — take your bread knife and cut a shallow semicircle out of one side of the cake, like below.
Next apply your crumb coat and then set the cake in the fridge for about an hour, or until you can touch it without getting icing all over your fingers.
Cover the cake again in an even layer of icing, and then drag a butter knife or a spoon back and forth over the cake to add pumpkin-like texture. Lastly, take your cinnamon sticks and push them halfway into the cake in the centre of the dip. And you’re done!
It would be super easy to turn this into a Jack-o’-lantern by piping a face on the finished cake. I haven’t tried it, but I’m thinking I will in a couple of weeks for Halloween.
Happy pumpkin season!