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  • Writer's pictureNatasha Mahapatro

Pumpkin Chai Loaf


With Diwali this week, I am excited to share yet another semi-homemade dessert that is sure to be a guaranteed hit during the entirety of the holiday season. Whether you are hosting and are in search of a beautiful addition to your dessert spread, looking to gift your friends with baked goods this holiday, or treating YOURSELF to a nice treat for breakfast to go alongside your morning brew as the temperatures drop– you will quickly fall in love with this recipe! Talk about a recipe that is perfect for fall. :) I mean...there’s pumpkin, chai, maple, and bourbon in this recipe. I personally enjoy eating this with my daily afternoon cup of chai, heated up for 10 seconds, with the tiniest bit of butter spread on top. If you make this to enjoy any of the ways above, I’d love to hear about it! Be sure to tag me at @thetashmashup on Instagram.

Now let’s get to it and talk about THIS bread! It reminds me of all the reasons I love a soothing cup of chai. You KNOW someone loves you when you go over to their house and they make you a cup of chai, just the way you like it. I’d like to think this recipe is similar in that regard and everyone I’ve made this for has felt the love baked into it. You can easily make it festive by wrapping it with brown parchment paper and twine to drop off at your loved ones' homes. I also love purchasing some gorgeous flowers from the farmer's market and wrapping them with floral tape to top the loaf. Can I make it any more clear that you should gift this loaf this year?

Spice cake mix is my favorite cake mix to hack and make fun recipes with during the holidays, especially knowing that all of the cozy spices we love like cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg spices are already IN the mix. Also the addition of CHAI! Adding in the chai in the bake and ground chai leaves in the glaze makes this treat so fun and it’s like each bite is a hug. Truly. You'll see.



For the chai loaf:

  • 1 box of your favorite boxed spice cake mix (I have used both Betty Crocker™ Super Moist™ Spice Cake Mix and the Duncan Hines Signature Perfectly Moist Spice Cake Mix)

  • 1 15 ounces can of canned pumpkin/pumpkin purée (NOT to be mistaken for pumpkin pie mix)

  • 1/2 cup of strongly brewed chai, room temperature and unsweetened (**details on how I make mine below)

  • 2 large eggs or 3 flax eggs

  • 3/4 teaspoon of freshly ground green cardamom or cardamom powder

  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice mix, optional but highly recommended

For the bourbon glaze:

  • 1 cup of organic powdered sugar (read notes on specifications below)

  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup

  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of loose chai leaves, finely ground, added depending on your taste (I used The Chai Box)

  • 1 tablespoon of bourbon (if omitting, add in an additional tablespoon of maple syrup)

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice mix, optional

  • Hot water, only if needed (**recommend adding in 1/8 teaspoons until you’ve reached your desired consistency)

For garnish:

  • 1/4 cup of roughly chopped pistachios or unsalted walnuts, for garnish after glaze, optional


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Additionally, grease and line your 9x5 loaf pan. Grease your pan and set it aside.

  2. Once your oven is preheated, it’s time to whip together the loaf. Using a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix together your pumpkin loaf ingredients: spice cake mix, canned pumpkin, chai, eggs, cardamom powder, and pumpkin pie spice mix. Be sure to not over mix, as that could make your cake dense. I recommend mixing the batter on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

  3. Pour your batter into your 9x5 pan and bake the loaf at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick placed in the center comes out clean.

  4. While your loaf cools, I’d recommend making your glaze! It thickens as it sits and takes just a minute or so to whip together. Given this, I’ve found that the best time to get to the glaze is while the loaf cools. In a small bowl, whisk together your powdered sugar, ground chai leaves, and maple syrup, bourbon, and vanilla extract until the sugar has dissolved completely. If needed, add in hot water to thin the glaze if needed. Be sure to let the glaze stand still for 2-3 minutes for it to thicken and then drizzle it on top of your chai loaf.

  5. Top with nuts when the glaze is still wet to the touch and hasn’t hardened if desired! If you can wait (this I know is asking for a lot), I’d suggest waiting for the glaze to harden before diving in!

~ Serves 6-12


  • I recommend brewing a strong cup of chai for the best flavor in this loaf. You get two recipes in one in this case. Here’s how I like to make my chai but you can make it any way you like. Boil 1 cup of water and 1 cup of milk. Once boiling, add 2-3 heaping teaspoons of your favorite boldly flavored chai leaves (I use Chai Box) and then simmer the chai on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until it boils up to the top on this temperature at least twice.

  • This loaf keeps really well on the counter or in the fridge, but I do not recommend freezing it since the bourbon glaze tends to not keep as well.

  • If you’ve made my Rooh Afza cake, you probably know where I am going with this one. One of the best tricks I’ve learned (I’d like to believe that semi-homemade cakes are my specialty) is that while you can take shortcuts with the boxed mix, never compromise on the frosting. I’d urge you to purchase organic powdered sugar. After wondering why my frosting was never the consistency I loved when buying cakes from bakeries, I realized it’s because regular powdered sugar has cornstarch in it. Crazy, right? Using organic powdered sugar (usually found right next to the regular kind) is what makes this frosting so especially decadent. Whole Foods, Safeway, and Target should all carry this. :)

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