Chai Spiced Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

Soft, buttery, and perfectly spiced chai cinnamon swirl Bundt cake is delicious for dessert, brunch, or with your afternoon coffee. Add a generous drizzle of brown butter icing and this cake soars to new heights. It’s a giant cake, for sure, so invite a bunch of friends and family over to help gobble it up.

overhead image of slices of chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake

We can say with 100% confidence this chai cinnamon swirl Bundt cake is a recipe you must try, especially in the fall season. It’s truly perfect– we tested it at least half a dozen times! Do you know how much butter that is?! Perhaps it was a little determination, maybe a degree of perfectionism, but we think we’ll describe it as a serious commitment to all things cinnamon swirl.

And do you know what’s better than a cinnamon swirl? One including chai spices. You’ll fall in love with the chai-spiced flavor.


Chai Spiced Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

  • Texture: This chai Bundt cake is thick, soft, and moist with a tight crumb. It’s not quite as dense as this cream cheese pound cake, but not as light and airy as white cake. Nestled somewhere in between!
  • Flavor: There’s tons of buttery and brown sugar goodness, all swirled with chai-spice and topped with a gorgeous brown butter icing. Your taste buds will thank you. 
  • Ease: This is a big crowd-pleasing cake that’s much easier than expected. Plus, there’s no crazy assembly or decoration required.
  • Time: The total time is over 5 hours and most of that time is waiting for the Bundt cake to cool.

slice of chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on a silver plate

slice of chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake

Recipe Testing: What Works & What Doesn’t

  1. Why this recipe works. Creamed butter + sugar make up the base of this chai cinnamon swirl Bundt cake. So there’s tons of buttery flavor at the heart of it! Instead of flavorless granulated sugar, we sweeten the cake with brown sugar. It tastes delightful with the thick swirl of warm chai spice flavors. 
  2. Making it super moist. Since Bundt cakes are fairly large, they tend to be a little dry. We compensate for this by adding more moisture. Sour cream, milk, and 5 large eggs help guarantee a super-moist and tender crumb. Just be careful not to overbake it, otherwise you’ll sabotage all your efforts in keeping it moist! And if you like this recipe, it has the same base recipe as cranberry orange Bundt cake
  3. The wet ingredients. The wet ingredients might appear curdled and that’s due to the ranging temperatures and consistencies of the ingredients. The solid butter may be warmer than the liquid eggs, the thick sour cream may be colder than the butter, etc. This is normal, and it comes together after you add the dry ingredients.
  4. The chai spice swirl. Hidden inside the cake is a generous swirl of flavor: brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice. You’ll notice these are the same spices we enjoy in frosted chai snickerdoodles, chai spice donuts and chai latte cupcakes. Layer the swirl between the cake batter: half of the cake batter on the bottom and half of the cake batter on the top. There’s actually no need to swirl it – the oven will take care of that. The weight of the cake batter rises and falls as it bakes, moving the cinnamon swirl along with it.
  5. Brown butter icing. This cake is undeniably delicious, buttery, and moist. And we don’t usually say this, but it could even be enjoyed without the chai spice swirl and icing! Of course, my team and I would never pass up an opportunity for icing. We just love the brown butter flavor, but if you don’t feel like browning butter, you could easily replace it with vanilla icing, brown sugar icing from pumpkin donuts, or salted caramel.

layer of cake batter in the bottom of a bundt cake pan

layer of chai spice mixture on top of cake batter in a bundt cake pan

top layer of cake batter in a bundt cake pan

Bundt Cake Pan

I generally use the same Bundt cake pan because I love it. Even though it’s nonstick, I always generously grease it just to be safe. (Bundt cakes are notorious for sticking no matter what!) Bundt cakes always release very easily and the shape is just so lovely. I also have and recommend this Bundt cake pan too.

chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake in bundt pan after baking

brown butter icing in a glass bowl

chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on a white serving plate cut into slices

More Favorite Baking Recipes

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slice of chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake

Chai Spiced Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 65 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This chai spice cinnamon Bundt cake is deliciously moist, soft, and buttery. It’s perfect for dessert, brunch, or with your afternoon cup of coffee!


Ingredients

  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) full fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk, at room temperature
  • optional for topping: brown butter icing, salted caramel, or maple icing

Chai Cinnamon Swirl

  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  2. For the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The mixture will look curdled; that’s ok– it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, add the milk, and beat on medium speed it all until the batter is completely combined. Batter is thick, yet silky.
  4. For the chai cinnamon swirl: Mix the swirl ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  5. Pour half of the cake batter evenly into the prepared Bundt pan. Sprinkle the swirl ingredients evenly on top– it will be a thick layer of swirl! Cover evenly with remaining cake batter.
  6. Bake for 55-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with just a couple lightly moist crumbs. This is a large, heavy cake so don’t be alarmed if it takes a little longer in your oven.
  7. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours inside the pan. Then, invert the slightly cooled Bundt cake onto a wire rack or serving dish. Allow to cool completely.
  8. As the cake cools, prepare the icing. Try vanilla icing, the brown butter icing used on peach Bundt cake, the brown sugar icing used on pumpkin donuts, the maple icing used on banana scones, or homemade salted caramel. I used the brown butter icing in these photos. Drizzle icing over cake before slicing and serving.
  9. Cover leftover cake tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the entire cake ahead of time (before topping with icing). Cover cooled cake and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before icing and serving. Baked cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature (if desired) before icing and serving.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Bundt Pan | Glass Mugs | Custom Stamped Fork
  3. Why Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.

49 Comments

  1. Tammy Spencer says:

    I love the idea of a chai spice Bundt cake. Question, can you halve the recipe to make a pound cake instead (in the standard loaf pan, I mean)? Thanks!

    1. Absolutely! I’m unsure of the bake time in a 9×5 loaf pan.

  2. Pulled the ingredients out seconds after I saw this recipe today. Nice that it uses common ingredients. I opted for the brown butter glaze. The cake was moist, buttery and delicious. Thanks!

  3. Hey Sally! Do you think this recipe can be made in two 9×9 pans instead of the Bundt cake pan? Or which other pan would you recommend for it? This recipe seems delicious, I can’t wait to try it!

    1. I do recommend a Bundt pan. But the 2 9×9 square baking pans could work as well. There may be leftover batter.

  4. Can I substitute anything for the cardamom and allspice? I’ve heard the flavor of cardamom is quite distinct and can’t be substituted. I absolutely want to make this (to shove in my face of course), but the cost of the spices where I live are EXTREMELY extravagant. *sigh*

    1. You can make it a simple cinnamon swirl instead. Just increase the total amount of cinnamon to 1 Tablespoon.

      1. UPDATE: I made it with a cinnamon swirl today, and IT IS AMAZING. I usually have a lot of self-control when it comes to sweet things, but I could NOT stop myself from eating this! I kept on telling myself “just a *tiny* slice more” untill I ate 1/4(!!!) of the cake by myself *facepalm*. It just dissolves into buttery cinnamony goodness especially when I eat it with coffee or milk. I’m going to make it again this week when guests come over. Thank you for the recipe! I’m going to the gym to burn all these calories haha.

  5. Made this today and brought it to work. Absolutely delicious! This truly does not need icing, though I’m sure any of the suggested icings would also be amazing with it. It smelled heavenly before we even cut into it. I love how fancy this feels while really being quite simple. We were going for a “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” reference–“There’s a hole in this cake!” It looked excellent with a potted plant placed in the middle 😉

  6. This cake is AMAZING!!!! Made it as per directions for tea time on Christmas day and it was a hit with all the guests! Baked it for 60min in my Nordicware Heritage bundt pan and it was gorgeous. The brown butter icing was really yummy as well. Definitely will make again!

  7. Ellen Cassidy says:

    Hi Sally, I have been following your blog for years and love all your recipes. I run an airbnb and always like to leave homemade baked goods for guests, but the challenge is finding good recipes that freeze well. I am wondering if this bundt cake could be sliced first before freezing? So I could just take out 4 pieces at a time, for example?  Perhaps if it is wrapped very well? Thanks so much! 

    1. Hi Ellen! That’s actually how I typically freeze this cake– in slices. They’re great frozen up to 3 months. You can wrap each slice individually if you’d like.

  8. Made this for New Year’s dinner with friends. It was quite the hit. People are planning to finish it off for breakfast!  The cake is moist and a bit different from my sour cream coffee cake. Will be making this again

  9. I’ve actually made your lemon bunt cake a few times and it’s come out awesome every time! Thank you  

  10. Carrie Kramer says:

    Could you use this recipe for mini bundts?

    1. Sure can!

  11. Diane Gauthier says:

    I have made this MANY times and now get asked for it! It is a definite ‘go-to’!

  12. This is one of the best recipes I have ever tried. It came out perfectly. I made it with the browned butter icing and it was divine. I always come to Sally’s website any time I need a baking recipe!

  13. Hi Sally! would crushed walnuts go well mixed with chai swirl, or will they be too heavy for this bake?

    1. They’d be wonderful! I recommend using chopped walnuts.

  14. Hi Sally,
    I don’t have a bundt pan yet and I want to make this…could this work in a 9×9 pan or something similar?

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. This would be too much batter for a 9X9 pan, but it will likely work in two loaf pans – I haven’t tested it this way so I’m unsure of the bake times. Let me know if you try it!

  15. My apartment smells amazing as this is baking! We have a bridal shower breakfast tomorrow morning and have to wait to know how it tastes…or pre-slice it so I can try a nibble! It is a loooong bake though!

  16. Sally,
    I filled the bundt pan with half of the batter and then sprinkled on the filling, and then I poured on the other half of the batter. Somehow, when I took the cake out of the pan, the swirl had gotten to the bottom of the pan because it was all on the top of the cake and some of it stuck to the pan. Why did this happen and how do I prevent it?
    But by the way, the cake was delicious! God bless!

    1. Hi Faith! I am just seeing this comment now– thank you so much for trying the recipe. I’m so sorry the filling seeped to the bottom of the pan. Did you alter the recipe at all? This batter is so thick that I’m surprised the filling moved around much. If you decide to try the recipe again, Layer in the batter and filling as instructed in the recipe, then use a knife to swirl the layers together. This will help keep things combined– and in place!

  17. I want to make this cake SO badly! The problem is I don’t have a bundt pan :(. I read through other comments and it seems like from your suggestions, if I halve the recipe I might be able to try it in a 9×9 or loaf pan and just adjust the baking time. My question is…(and I’ve wondered this for other recipes too!….) since the recipe calls for 5 eggs, would you recommend I use 2 or 3 if I halve the recipe? I am never sure what to do if I halve a recipe and the egg count is odd! What do you do?? Appreciate your help!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, To cut 5 eggs in half you really should use 2.5 eggs! What I usually do is use two full eggs, then crack the third in a bowl and mix it and then use only half of it. Please let me know if you try this in a different pan!

  18. Hi,

    Can I use either full fat yogurt or fat free Greek yogurt in place of sour cream? Or is sour cream the best option?

    Thanks

    1. For the best texture, sour cream is recommended. However, you can substitute with full fat yogurt if needed.

  19. Hey Sally!I made the cake and it looks good but I am freezing it till thanksgiving.Can I make the brown butter glaze in advance and store it in the fridge?

    1. Absolutely! It will solidify in the refrigerator, but warming it up on the stove or in the microwave will bring it back to the right consistency.

  20. Hi there, just was curious if you could use a regular old 8 inch cake pan instead of a bundt pan? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi, Britney! This would be too much batter for one 8 inch cake pan, but you could make 2-3 layers. I haven’t tested it this way so I’m unsure of the bake times. Let me know if you try it!

  21. This was so delicious. I made this for a New Year’s Day family potluck and topped with homemade dulce de leche. I didn’t have sour cream and swapped out cream cheese. I also used Garam Masala plus cinnamon for the Chai spices. My family went crazy over it. My super picky grandma ate an entire slice which is rare. It’s the best cake I have ever made and will definitely make it again.

  22. In short, this is an incredible recipe. Million thanks Sally! Super moist and tasty. I will definitely repeat it very soon. I have already recommended this to my sisters and many other friends. My only concern is that I got clusters of crystalized or non-dissolved brown sugar in the swirl after baking the cake. Next time I might try to heat the brown sugar to melt it a bit before mixing it with the swirl spices. Any idea anyone?

  23. Hi Sally, I made this cake and it turned amazing, but at the Chai i used cinnamon and cardamom only, but i used about 2 teaspoon cinnamon and one cardamom, and for topping i tried dusting sugar and the taste was amazing, thanks

  24. Hi Sally, I made this cake yesterday, it tastes nice but the bottom part of the batter under the chai spice layer did not rise well and turned out very dense. I used plain flour but about half of it was pre-sifted plain flour cause that’s what I had in the cupboard, used electronic scales for measuring. The final batter was not as thick as yours in the pictures. Could it be the reason for not rising properly? Should I have increased the amount? Also, do you add all eggs at once or one at a time or it doesn’t matter? Wasn’t sure. I added one at a time and followed all of the instructions. Thanks. I love your website and your recipes.

    1. Hi Gosia, so glad you tried this Bundt cake. Did you use 375 grams of the plain flour? I’m concerned that it wasn’t enough flour, especially if it was pre-sifted. I usually don’t sift the all-purpose flour for this recipe. That would likely be why the cake tasted dense. The cake also could have been under-baked as well. If you’re interested, you may find my How to Prevent a Dry or Dense Cake post helpful.

  25. Hi Sally,

    I’ve never left a comment on anyone’s online recipe, even though I’ve made many, many of yours and this blog is my first resource for baking. This time, though, I had to; the cake is absolutely phenomenal!!! Every single element turned out perfectly; the process was simple and enjoyable, the swirl was extremely flavorful and spicy-sweet, the texture of the cake itself was buttery and velvety, and it came out of the pan with no effort at all after only 10 minutes. I made it for my family tonight and everyone agreed that it was best thing I’ve baked in a long time. I emphasized the Chai flavor by warming the milk for the cake batter and steeping two Chai teabags in it while mixing everything else together, and when I added the Brown Butter icing I steeped another teabag in the hot melted butter before adding the remaining ingredients. I would definitely recommend these extra steps to anyone who loves Chai. More importantly, I would recommend this recipe to anyone, ever. It’s just the best, especially for fall! Sally, you are amazing and you should be so so proud of what you create! Thank you 🙂

  26. I’m making this today! It sounds amazing and I love your recipes! I only have a 12 cup Bundt pan, not a 10. Will this make a big difference?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      That should still work, Emilee. Happy baking!

  27. This was my first Bundt cake and it turned out awesome! Not too sweet, super moist and the chai cinnamon mix was delicious! I greased the Bundt pan with cooking spray and let the cake cool completely and it slid out without any problems. My sever-year-old son even asked if I would make it for his birthday. Great recipe, Sally!

  28. I loved this recipe! This cake came out so moist and perfectly spiced. I didn’t have any ground cardamom so I substituted 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of cloves and it was perfect.

  29. Hi Sally!
    I’m so excited to make this! But I don’t have ground allspice, ginger, or cardomon (Better restock soon). But I do have pumpkin pie spice, which includes most of those things. Can I use some of that instead? If so, how much?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sunny! We haven’t tested it but don’t see why it wouldn’t work – you replace them all with 2.5 tsp of pumpkin spice. The flavor may be less like chai, but still spiced and delicious. We would love to hear how it goes!

  30. Amazing coffee cake (thank you)! Can it be baked as mini loaves or muffins?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Sure can!

      1. Thank you. Would the muffins be started at 425?

      2. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi T, absolutely, you can follow the same basic baking time and temperature from these muffins.

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