Chai-Spiced Ricotta Cake with Nutmeg-Scented Glaze

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Chai-Spiced Ricotta Cake

I love ricotta cheese.

So much, in fact, that I could (and do) eat it with a spoon. It sounds weird, but it really isn’t so different from cottage cheese. (Which I know, a lot of you out there probably don’t like…if you can get past the way it looks, it really is delicious, lol!)

Along with cottage cheese, ricotta is something I always toss into my cart when I’m grocery shopping; I don’t even bother taking inventory at home first. Because of this, even though I eat it frequently, I sometimes end up with so much that I have to think of a way to use it other than my pre-workout snack.
Cake works for me. ;)

Chai-Spiced Ricotta Cake 2

This cake is moist and dense from the ricotta, but it isn’t overly heavy (especially since there isn’t a thick, heavy frosting on top).

When I was dreaming up this cake, I took a few cues from gingerbread. A lot of the spices in Indian-spiced tea (or masala chai) overlap with the classic spices of gingerbread (like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves), but masala chai also has black tea, nutmeg, and cardamom; I used them all in this cake (I’m greedy like that ). The last spice I used – black pepper – is a traditional ingredient in gingerbread and also a common flavor in masala chai. I know it sounds strange, but I really think this is the secret ingredient that makes the cake…and don’t worry, you won’t be able to pull out the flavor of black pepper!

I know it’s last minute at this point, but this cake really would be lovely on a Thanksgiving dessert table. It’s festive and delicious with very minimal effort!  But if you already have all your desserts picked out, this would also be wonderful for any celebration.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Chai-Spiced Ricotta Cake 3

Chai-Spiced Ricotta Cake with Nutmeg-Scented Glaze
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 standard-sized bundt cake
Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered black tea
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Wet Ingredients:
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Nutmeg-Scented Glaze:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 350F; butter and flour a standard-size bundt pan.
  2. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. With a handheld electric mixer, beat together the sugar, molasses, and oil, then cream in eggs until light and fluffy. Beat in the ricotta and vanilla. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into wet until just combined, making sure not to over-mix.
  3. Bake the cake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool 20 minutes in the pan, then invert it onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  4. While the cake cools, whisk together all ingredients for the glaze. Once the cake is cool, drizzle the glaze on top and let it harden before cutting.

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  1. says

    I also digg & love ricotta. I only use low fat fresh sheep’s ricotta.
    I must make this appetizing & festive ricotta cake & that glaze looks wonderful too! :)

  2. says

    Would you look at that photo? Gorgeous! Your cake is so moist, Faith. No doubt from the ricotta…I’m a fan as well. Love the black tea and ww flour in this too.
    Wishing you and yours a most Happy Thanksgiving, my dear friend!

  3. jacquie says

    the cake looks wonderful. while not a fan of chai i do love gingerbread so would love to try that version of it. any thoughts on how to do that? thanks.

    • says

      Jacquie, If you like the flavor of gingerbread but not chai, you could omit the black tea, nutmeg, and cardamom from the cake. You could keep the glaze recipe the same, or omit the nutmeg, or use cinnamon or vanilla in place of the nutmeg. Hope this helps! :)

  4. says

    Although, I’m not a black pepper fan…I do believe when you say that this ingredient could be the secret touch to your recipe ;o)
    Every other ingredient suits my palate just fine.

    Faith…Have yourself a very wonderful Thanksgiving.

  5. says

    I just made my first homemade ricotta and loved it… so easy to do. I enjoy using it in so many things… a cake, and not a cheesecake, is new to me. I love the idea… perfect cake for the holiday with all those wonderful spices.

  6. says

    Yep, I’m the same exact way about ricotta :) This is a terrific way to use it up and 5 star foodie jr would love to make it with me (and of course I have ricotta cheese in my fridge right now to use up). Happy Thanksgiving, Faith!

  7. says

    Happy Thanksgiving. We do not celebrate it here but there is nothing to stop me making this wonderful cake. I can eat any kind of cheese by the spoonful :)) Diane

    • says

      Tina, Thank you so much, I did have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Hope you had a great one too! I think around 3/4 teaspoon of cardamom would be good, but you can adjust it up or down slightly to suit your tastes.

  8. Karen says

    I’m planning on making this beautiful cake. I drink cardamom tea everyday and have been making my own lemon ricotta (the lemon juice used to make the cheese leaves a delicious fresh lemon flavor). Anyway, I’m not sure what powdered tea is. Should I just grind up tea leaves in my coffee grinder or is it something you buy powdered?

    • says


      That homemade lemon ricotta sounds incredible!

      I’m so glad you’re thinking of making this cake, it really is fantastic. For this recipe, I just grind up regular black tea leaves (you can cut open a tea bag or use loose leaf — whatever you have on hand will work fine). Hope you enjoy the cake!

  9. Melissa says

    I know this is a little bit late but I wanted to tell you that I made this cake for Thanksgiving and it was AMAZING! Everybody absolutely loved it, and I ended up making a 2nd one just to eat throughout the week :)I made it in a bundt cake pan with a rose mold design on top and it was lovely to look at as well.

    I omitted the cardamom because I could not, for the life of me, find it in any of my grocery stores. Also, I found that 1 tbsp of butter was not enough to dissolve the 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, so I added some water until it liquefied.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe; it has found a permanent spot in my recipe book :D

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