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Inspired by the viral “Taylor Swift Chai Sugar Cookies,” my new Chai Sugar Cookie Cake has layers of tender and flavorful chai cake, a chai cookie, and the most delicious vanilla buttercream.
Taylor Swift Chai Sugar Cookie Recipe
Have you heard all the hype about the Taylor Swift Chai Sugar Cookies? Before Tay Tay was Taylor Swift as we know her, she had a blog, much like this one, where she shared her life, along with favorite recipes. One of those recipes was for Chai Sugar Cookies. The recipe recently started to circulate the internet again and people are going crazy for the cookies.
What are Taylor Swift Chai Sugar Cookies?
Chai Cake Recipe
When I heard about the Taylor Swift cookies, I knew I had to turn the flavor into a cake. Chai is such a wonderful flavor for this time of year and pairs really well with so many fall and winter flavors. I created chai cake layers for my Chai White Chocolate Raspberry Cake a couple years ago and have fallen in love with them.
Instead of using chai leaves, I created my own blend of chai seasoning that I use in the cake and the sugar cookie recipe.
Seasonings you’ll need for the chai flavor:
- black pepper
For this cake, I am using a half batch of my chai cake layers to yield two 6-inch round cake layers. If you’d like to do a full three layer 8-inch cake, double the recipe below or check out the recipe for my Chai White Chocolate Raspberry Cake and work with the cake layers there.
Chai Sugar Cookie Recipe
For the chai sugar cookie recipe, we’re making ⅓ batch of my Classic Sugar Cookies with the addition of the chai seasonings. This recipe will yield enough dough for the cookie layer to go between the cake layers, plus additional mini cookies to use on the cake and to simply snack on with a cup of hot chocolate or tea.
This buttercream is light and fluffy, silky and smooth – and just all-around delicious.
To me, a buttercream should never be so dense that it steals the show away from the cake. In fact, a buttercream should be part of the ensemble, a complementary element to the layers and fillings. However, that’s not always the case. I grew up thinking buttercream was dense and heavy. It wasn’t until I started making homemade cakes and homemade frosting that I realized, it didn’t have to be that way.
How to Make Buttercream Frosting
To get a light and fluffy homemade buttercream frosting, I have a detailed post: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM to give you in-depth instruction for making your buttercream unreal! Here’s an overview with a quick picture tutorial for making the best vanilla buttercream:
- Sift your powdered sugar
- Use slightly cold butter and mix on its own for 2 to 3 minutes
- Use heavy whipping cream
- Beat for 5 minutes
- Stir by hand
Before frosting your cake, make sure to stir the buttercream with a wooden spoon or spatula to push out the air pockets. This makes getting smooth sides on your cake so much easier.
You’ll be able to get nearly white in color with that extra five minutes of beating. More importantly, you’re creating a light, fluffy texture that won’t overpower your cake layers.
Chai Sugar Cookie Cake
For the Cake
- 1 1/2 cups (172.5 g) cake flour
- 1/2 tbsp (6 g) baking powder
- 1/4 tsp (1.5 g) salt
- 1/4 tsp (2 g) cardamon
- 1/2 tsp (.75 g) ground cloves
- 3/4 tsp (2 g) ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp (1.3 g) cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp (1.4 g) all-spice
- 1/16 tsp (.3 g) black pepper
- 1/16 tsp (.3 g) nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cups (150 g) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp (2.1 g) vanilla extract
- 2/3 cups (160 g) buttermilk, room temperature
For the Chai Sugar Cookies
- 1 2/3 cup (200 g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp (3 g) baking powder
- 1/4 tsp (1.5 g) salt
- 1/8 tsp (1 g) cardamon
- 1/4 tsp (.4 g) ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp (1.5 g) ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp (.6 g) cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp (.7 g) all-spice
- Pinch of black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold and cut into cubes
- 2/3 cup (133.3 g) granulated sugar
- 1 egg, cold
- 1 egg yolk, cold
- 1 tsp (2.1 g) vanilla extract
For the Buttercream
- 1 cups (226 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold
- 3 cups (375 g) powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
- 2 tablespoons (28.9 g) heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp (2.1 g) vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
For the Cake
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combined the cake flour, baking powder, salt and all of the seasonings. Whisk to combine the ingredients evenly. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for another 30 seconds.
- With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time. Make sure to mix well between each addition. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Continue to mix on medium-high speed for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and light in color.
- With the mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of the flour mixture. Stir for about 20 seconds and then add ½ of the buttermilk. Repeat the additions with another ⅓ of the flour mixture, the second half of the buttermilk and then the final ⅓ of the flour mixture. It’s important to alternate adding these ingredients so they mix evenly, which will help your cake to rise more evenly. NOTE: Only mix until the ingredients are incorporated. Over mixing your batter will cause it to be dense and/or sink in the oven.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two 6-inch cake pans. Bake the cake layers on the middle rack in your oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Watch this cake closely at the end. Over baking your cakes will cause them to taste dry. When you insert a toothpick in the center of this cake, it should come out with a few moist crumbs on it.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 to 15 minutes, before inverting them onto cooling racks to cool completely. Once cooled completely, you can level the cakes (if needed) and then wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them until you’re ready to stack and decorate the cake.
For the cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray one 6-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, and set aside. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, as well. Set aside.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy.
- Stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
- Stir in the dry ingredients until no streaks of flour remain.
- Form a ball with the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- With 8 ounces of the dough, shape the cookie dough into a flat 6-inch circle to place inside the 6-inch cake pan.
- With the remaining cookie dough, roll it out to about 1/4” thickness on a floured surface. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out cookies. You’ll get about 15 to 20 cookies.
- Place both the small baking sheet of cookies and the cake pan with cookie dough in it in the oven at the same time. Set two timers: one timer for 10 minutes for the small cookies, the second timer for 15 to 18 minutes for the cookie layer.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before using in and on the cake.
For the Buttercream
- In the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for a couple minutes on its own. The butter will get lighter in color and texture.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar until combined. Add the vanilla and salt.
- With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the cream. Once added, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for about 3 minutes. The frosting should be silky smooth.
- Place your first cake layer, top side up, on a cake board or cake plate. Cover the cake layer with about ½ to 2/3 cup buttercream and spread evenly, making sure to get eye level with the cake to ensure it’s even.
- Place the cookie layer on top fo the buttercream, followed by another ½ to 2/3 cup of buttercream.
- Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the buttercream. Apply a thin coat of frosting around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze your cake for about 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat and lock in your crumbs.
- After the crumb coat is set, use the remaining frosting to decorate your cake. Garnish with some of the remaining sugar cookies.