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

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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.

168 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

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