Today’s recipe is inspired by one of my favorite beverages! If you have never had one, a dirty chai is a chai latte with espresso added. It has all the creamy, spicy deliciousness of a chai latte, but with the round, full bodied flavors of espresso. Plus, there is the extra boost of caffeine! This healthy coffee cake with chai is so so good!
This recipe presents a healthier take on traditional coffee cake. It utilizes applesauce in place of oil, and it is anti-inflammatory, and brings a dose of protein, omega-3s, and fiber. And you can’t ignore how tasty it is. A warm slice is the perfect complement to your morning (or afternoon) coffee!
Why You'll Love this Healthy Coffee Cake
- Have Your Cake and Eat It Too – While this recipe is certainly still a recipe for coffee cake, it includes quality ingredients that each serve a purpose. The addition of applesauce, oats, greek yogurt, and walnuts all bring a little extra nutrition.
- Fun Flavors – Everyone loves a coffee cake, but this recipe brings something new to the table with cozy chai spice, and the fun addition of instant espresso.
Dry Ingredients For Healthy Coffee Cake
- Flour – All you need is a little all-purpose flour for this recipe.
- Baking Soda – You will need both baking soda and baking powder, so make sure you read carefully!
- Baking Powder – Baking powder helps your coffee cake rise.
- Salt – A tiny bit of salt helps with the flavor of your coffee cake, and it also activates the baking powder.
- Instant Espresso – Instant espresso is different from finely ground coffee. Instant espresso has been brewed and dried to a powder. If you add finely ground coffee to your recipe, it is still going to be gritty when it comes out, but instant espresso will blend beautifully, providing a subtle, yet noticeable bottom note to your dish. If you wish to forego the espresso, you can. Then it will simply be a chai coffee cake!
- Chai Spice – You can purchase a chai spice blend, or prepare your own.
Wet Ingredients for Coffee Cake
- Vanilla Extract – While this dish gets most of its flavor from the chai spice, you still need to add vanilla extract. The vanilla will help to marry all of the flavors together.
- Greek Yogurt – Greek yogurt keeps your coffee cake moist, and adds extra protein. You can use plain, unsweetened, or vanilla.
- Eggs – You will need two eggs to bind your coffee cake batter.
- Sugar – You need sugar to sweeten the coffee cake, as well as to make your streusel topping. If you wish to use alternative sweeteners in the cake itself, you could try coconut sugar, stevia, or erythritol, however I recommend using regular granulated sugar in your streusel. The delightful crispy crumbly element of a streusel will likely be lost if you use a sugar substitute. You can use raw sugar if you prefer.
- Applesauce – I replaced the oil content in this recipe with applesauce instead. It is healthier, and it also makes for a light, moist finished product.
- Walnuts – Walnuts are full of protein and omega-3s, which are essential for optimal brain function. Between that and the positive impact that cinnamon has on memory, this chai coffee cake makes for a wonderful study snack!
- Oats – I recommend old-fashioned oats, though quick cooking can work as well. Do not use packaged oatmeal or steel cut oats.
- Butter – The cake itself is oil-free, however it would be pretty hard to make a streusel without either butter, or oil. I recommend a good quality butter, but you can also use coconut oil if you prefer.
How to Make It
- Preheat oven 350F and grease a standard loaf pan. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the vanilla, Greek yogurt, eggs, sugar and applesauce, making sure ingredients are well incorporated.
- Sift the remaining dry ingredients into the bowl. The flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, espresso powder and chai spice
- Fold the dry into the wet ingredients and pour into a prepared loaf pan
- In a separate bowl combine the walnuts, oats, chai spice and sugar
- Mix in the melted butter, then spoon topping evenly along the batter in the loaf pan.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness and let cool before unpanning. Enjoy warm or room temp.
Step by Step Instructions
First, preheat your oven to 350 and prepare your baking pan. This recipe is designed for a loaf pan. I like this method because it yields a nice, perfectly dense product that can be sliced without falling apart. Grease the loaf pan so that it is easy to remove later. Next, mix your wet ingredients! Add your vanilla, greek yogurt, eggs, sugar, and applesauce to a mixing bowl and whisk until mixed well.
Now, add your dry ingredients. Sift your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, espresso powder, and chai spice into the bowl of wet ingredients.
Fold your dry ingredients into the wet mixture until your batter is mixed. Then, pour the batter into your loaf pan.
Get a clean bowl, and mix your streusel topping! Combine your walnuts, oats, your remaining chai spice and sugar and stir. Add your melted butter, or coconut oil and mix evenly. Spoon your streusel topping onto the top of your coffee cake batter. Distribute evenly.
Place your dirty chai coffee cake in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until cooked through. You can use a toothpick to check that the center is cooked.
Allow your coffee cake to cool before removing it from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Serve your coffee cake warm with a pat of butter, or a little whipped cream to really up the coziness-factor!
- Store the coffee cake on the counter, in an airtight container for up to 5 days. It is better unrefrigerated.
- If you wish to make your own chai spice, you can use this recipe:
People call it “coffee cake” because it is a perfect companion to a warm cup of coffee. While some coffee cakes may actually contain coffee, it is intended to be served with coffee, hence the (somewhat misleading) name.
A dirty chai is a chai latte with a shot of espresso added.
Chai spice has many health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory properties, and its assistance in regulating blood pressure. As for the beverage you might order at a coffee shop, it really depends on what type of milk you choose, and whether the chai concentrate contains a lot of sugar or preservatives. There are dirty chai lattes all across the board when it comes to healthiness. However, if you prepare your own at home, it can definitely be a healthy way to get an energy boost.
Traditionally, no. Most coffee cakes do not actually contain any coffee. However, this recipe includes the addition of instant espresso. If you wish to leave the espresso out, this will still be a perfectly delightful take on coffee cake.
Looking for more healthy breakfast dish ideas? Try these:
Healthy Coffee Cake with Chai
- 1 ½ cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Baking Powder
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Instant Espresso optional
- 1 tbsp Chai Spice
- 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Greek Yogurt
- 2 Eggs
- ⅓ cup Sugar
- ⅓ cup Apple Sauce
For The Streusel
- ½ cup Walnuts chopped
- ¾ Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
- 3 tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil melted
- ½ tsp Chai Spice
- ¼ cup Sugar
- Preheat oven 350F and grease a standard loaf pan.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the vanilla, Greek yogurt, eggs, sugar and apple sauce, making sure ingredients are well incorporated.
- To the bowl sift in the remaining dry ingredients. The flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, espresso powder and chai spice.
- Fold the dry into the wet ingredients and pour into a prepared loaf pan.
- In a separate bowl combine the walnuts, oats, chai spice and sugar.
- Mix in the melted then spoon topping evenly along the batter in the loaf pan.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes. Check with a tooth pick for doneness and let cool before unpanning. Enjoy warm or room temp.
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp Ginger
1 tbsp Cardamom
1 tsp All Spice
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cloves
Whisk all ingredients together. Best kept unrefrigerated, on the counter, in an air tight container for up to 5 days.