Zucchini-Chai Tea Cake

I almost called this a coffee cake.  Silly me.  Of course this is not a coffee cake.

It’s made with tea and it goes best with tea.  Clearly, it has to be called a tea cake.

Once you’ve tried a bite, I think you’ll agree that this is an important statement – the chai tea makes all the difference in this cake, which might otherwise be called zucchini bread, or something more average-sounding.

And really, this tea cake is not to be called average.

Besides, I bet you’re not average, either.  I bet you do extraordinary things every day.  Don’t you? 

I just know you’re the type who goes rock climbing on the weekends, makes wedding cakes from scratch, flies kites with your kids, speaks three different languages, and/or helps solve problems for everyone you know.  No, you’re far from average, so why bother spending the time and calories to bake and eat something that is?

That being said, I hope you like tasty.  Because tasty is definitely something this is.  Light and fluffy and cinnamon-spicy would also be good descriptors.

I think those facts alone make it worth the baking time – but the calories are worth it too, because with whole wheat and a modest amount of fat and sugar, this tasty treat becomes a satisfyingly delicious breakfast/dessert that won’t send you sugar crashing off the top of Mount Crumpet. 

Another delightful thing I found about this recipe, is that it makes just the right amount for one beautiful cake to serve at brunch, and a little cakelet to keep all to yourself.  This way, you can have your taste-test (the one I always feel the need to take) without making a big ol’ whole in your lovely creation.

I think it’s time to put a kettle on for tea – it’s 4 o’clock somewhere, right?

Zucchini-Chai Tea Cake

{makes about 12 servings}


  • 2 c. white whole wheat flour (spooned lightly into the cup and leveled)

  • ½ c. oat flour or rolled oats ground in a food processor

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • ¾ c. unsweetened plain almond milk

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • ½ c. unsalted butter

  • ¼ c. unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 c. packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 chai tea bags, or for stronger flavor, 1 ½ T. loose leaf chai tea blend

  • 1 ½ green zucchinis, grated (about 5.5 oz)

Crumbly topping:

  • 2 T. ground flaxseed

  • 1 T. ground chia seed

  • 2 heaping T. brown sugar

  • 1 T. applesauce

  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray one 9” round cake pan and one teensy loaf pan (or two wells in a muffin pan) with baking spray.

Grate the zucchini onto a few stacked paper towels.  Spread the zucchini out evenly and top with a few more paper towels.  Place a pan on top and weight down with cookbooks – or whatever you have – to press out the excess liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the almond milk and steep the tea with the vanilla (about 5 min.)

Melt the butter with the applesauce and allow to cool a bit before whisking in the sugar and then the almond milk mixture.  Whisk in the prepped zucchini and egg.

Whisk together the flour through baking powder in a large bowl; pour the wet mixture on top.  Mix until no more dry flour remains and distribute between the pans.

In a small bowl, mix the crumbly topping ingredients together and evenly distribute on top of the coffee cakes.  

Bake the coffee cakes about 35-40 minutes – or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Place the pans on a wire baking rack away from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before removing from the pans.  (I actually just kept them in the pans, so either way!)

My favorite way to enjoy this – warm, with freshly brewed chai tea, maybe with a little steamed soymilk in it!