This very un-vegan cake can be made vegan with a few tweaks.
First, pour 1/2 cup boiling water over 6 black chai tea bags in a bowl; let steep for 5 minutes, then discard the tea bags and let the liquid cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, lightly spoon 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour into measuring cups and level with a knife. Combine the flour in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/3 cup vegan cream cheese (such as Tofutti) with 1/4 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance); beat until well combined - about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup vegan sugar and 1/2 cup organic brown sugar (for both, I like Wholesome Sweeteners); beat until combined.
Add the brewed tea liquid, along with 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil; beat to combine.
Next, make the equivalent of 1 cup vegan buttermilk: pour 1 tablespoon lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, and fill with plain soy milk (such as Silk) to equal 1 cup; let stand for 5 minutes to clabber (sour) the mixture.
Add the flour mixture and the 'buttermilk' alternately to the rest of the batter, starting and ending with the flour mixture, and beating after each addition.
Now it's time to whip up some vegan egg whites! The original recipe called for two egg whites, beaten into stiff peaks. To make that vegan, make the equivalent of 2 eggs with Ener-G egg replacer (I do not recommend other vegan egg substitutes for this particular step) and place in a large bowl. Beat for 12 minutes - yes 12! - to get the full effect of 'stiff peaks'. After about 2 minutes of beating, add 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar. About half way through the 12 minutes, start adding 1/4 cup vegan sugar (1 tablespoon at a time), beating well between each addition. By the end, you'll have lovely, foamy 'egg whites'.
Gently stir one-third of the 'egg whites' into the rest of the batter, then fold in the remaining 'egg whites'. Spoon the batter into a 9-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. The original recipe said 35 minutes, but I've learned that vegan 'egg whites' take a bit longer to set than the real thing, so I baked my cake for 40 minutes - at which point it was so perfect I could hardly believe it!
Cool the cake, still in the pan, on a wire rack, then dust with 1/4 cup powdered sugar once cooled. Here's a photo of the cook just before dusting with the powdered sugar (where, again, I recommend Wholesome Sweeteners). Divide into 12 squares of 270 calories each. This cake is perfect with - of course- a cup of tea!
Alas, these groceries were bought the day my cashier did not hand me my receipt!
The Vegan Pantry
- Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
- Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
- Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
- Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
- Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
- Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html