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.
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. Speaking of cinnamon swirl…cinnamon swirl quick bread? Cinnamon swirl banana bread? Talk about commitment to 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.
Recipe Testing: What Works & What Doesn’t
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
More Favorite Baking Recipes
- Homemade Apple Pie with Chai Spices
- Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- Pumpkin Cupcakes
- Cinnamon Roll Cake
- Apple Crumb Cake & Classic Crumb Coffee Cake
Chai Spiced Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 65 minutes
- Total Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes
- Yield: serves 12
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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!
- 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: vanilla icing (see Note)
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
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.
- 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.
- 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.
- For the chai cinnamon swirl: Mix the swirl ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- 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.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Bundt Pan
- Frosting Options: vanilla icing, brown butter icing from peach Bundt cake, brown sugar icing from pumpkin donuts, maple icing from banana scones, or salted caramel
- Why Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read more about the importance of room temperature ingredients.
Keywords: chai spiced cinnamon swirl Bundt cake
Reader Comments & Reviews
Can I use salted lactose free butter in place of unsalted butter as I can’t have lactose
Hi Cathy, We haven’t personally tested this with a vegan or lactose-free butter so I can’t say for certain, but let us know if you give it a try!
I made the cake with the lactose free butter and lactose free sourcream and lactose free milk and it turned out perfect! Thanks for all your recipes
Hello! Could buttermilk be used instead of regular milk? If so, would it be a 1-1 substitution?
Hi Stephany, you can absolutely use buttermilk in this recipe. But I recommend replace both the sour cream AND milk with buttermilk. (Use 1 and 1/4 cups, or 300ml.)
This is a fabulous recipe! Excellent flavor and texture. I warmed the milk and let two chai tea bags soak in it. My bundt was done at 58 minutes (I did cover it lightly with foil at 42 minutes as it was getting dark). I flipped it out after 15 minutes and it came out beautifully (I sprayed it generously with Pam with Flour). I brushed the warm cake with some simple syrup. I topped it with the vanilla icing with extra chai spice. It was a HUGE hit at my cast party.
But I have a question – why would you leave it in the pan for 2 hours? I usually follow all Sally directions exactly but that made no sense to me (I am an experienced baker). Everything I have ever read about bundt cakes say to invert the cake after 10 minutes and that if you leave it too long in the pan it will keep baking and steam so it could get too gummy and moist and could stick to the pan. So I was not going to leave it in the pan for two hours. I would love some insight into that direction.
I usually love everything on this site, but I think I just have trouble with the cakes. I love the challenge of the Bundt cake. I just tried this cake and it came out of the pan perfectly, but it ended up dense and tasted eggy. I have recently started weighing all dry ingredients to improve consistency of the end products. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. I adore your cookies, pies and breads though.
Can this be made into mini bundtlettes?
Im sad I really wanted to like this recipe.The cake did not slide out of the bundt pan at all, it was completely stuck. It then separated and the bottom half below the filling fell out as I tried to get it off, while the top layer stayed stuck inside the pan. The crumb was not very good either.
Hi Sally! Love your website & cookbooks. Every recipe I try is delicious! (Your no bake cheesecake is a family favorite.) I’m going to make this cake for a ladies brunch. Was thinking of adding toasted pecans to the filling. Do you think that would work?
Hi Ally, that would be delicious! You could add up to a cup of toasted pecans. Hope it’s a hit!
I have to say, as much as excited as I was to make this cake, I did not care for it. It was a bit to dense for my liking and I did not like the brown butter icing (but I think I MAY have over browned it). I LOVE everything else I’ve tried on your site…just posting this for those who may not love a dense cake. TY for all the amazing recipes!
I made this except I only had 2 sticks of butter so I subbed 1/2 cup vegetable oil for the third stick. Came out moist and delicious, perfectly done at 55 minutes in my oven. Definitely a keeper!
Can’t wait to try this recipe! Currently baking and waiting for Hurricane Ida. Realized I’m out of allspice. Any substitutions you’d recommend?
Hi Lindsay, you can use an equal amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to make a spice blend similar to allspice. Hope this helps — and stay safe!
Question about this cake – would it be ok to do two layers of the cinammon swirl? like batter-sugar mix – batter -sugar mix – batter?
I made this halved! I used 2 eggs rather than 2&1/2 and it came out super soft, I also used salted butter with a little bit of extra salt, I don’t recommend doing that, use unsalted or add no salt. It baked for a lot longer than I thought, and I put it in a loaf pan, but it came out very very soft with a tight but very soft crumb like cake but better! I added a bit of coffee for an extra kick, and I plan on increasing the spices! Later I plan on trying it topped with chai brown butter frosting! Thank you so much for this recipe, and those are my notes!
Amazing flavor and texture! The brown butter icing was an awesome bonus!
I still have not perfected the Bundt pan greasing… I had to put some of the cake back together but it got covered up with icing haha.
Will definitely make this again!
So glad you enjoyed it, Kenny! Our trick for bundt pans is to use a lot of Pam – more than you think you’ll need. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!
I would love to try this it sounds so good! But since it would be only ME eating it, I’d like to half it and make it in a 6cup bundt pan. I can half all the ingredients except for the eggs. Would I use 3 eggs or 2?
Hi Barb! We recommend using 2.5 eggs. Our general rule for halving an egg is to crack it open, beat the yolk and white together with a fork, measure the volume (should be a few Tbsp), then use half. Hope you love it!
Hola, cuántos gramos debe pesar cada huevo? el peso debe ser con o sin ncáscara?
Hi Silvia, Egg weights can vary but usually large eggs in the shell are about 57g, and 50g out of the shell. I hope this helps!
I am making this again (rave reviews the first time I made this) in 2 smaller bundt pans and will cut down the cooking time. Whenever I use the toothpick trick to check for doneness, I never seem to get it right. Can you suggest an internal temperature so I can use my digital thermometer to check for doneness?
BTW, you are my go to website for baking! I love the videos, tips and recipes. Thank you!
Hi Ellen! I’m glad you enjoy this cake recipe. 200°F (93°C) is usually the standard temperature for cakes. My team and I can begin adding this to some cake recipes because it could certainly be helpful. You can also lightly poke the warm baked cake with your finger– if it bounces back, it’s likely done.
Update: I made an error with the cake pan for this cake and used one that was too small for the volume of batter , oops! Some of the batter overflowed and the high butter content caused my oven to smoke. Sally this is not for you to post but it is my apology for wondering if there was too much butter in the cake; it is delicious and has a lovely fine crumb. I will definitely make it again in a larger pan! This one is a keeper and I was so concerned about the crazy amount of pottery overflow and after stewing about it all night I realized my pan was too small! I couldn’t find any other way to get a hold of you to see what might’ve been in a matter with my mishap and then I realized that my new pan was probably just too small. Rookie error ! It really is a yummy cake :). Sorry for the comment drama! Truly.
So happy to hear that you were able to find the issue, Victoria! Using a pan that is too small can result in quite the mess. Hope you’ll get another chance to try this recipe with a larger pan!
You know how fool-proof this recipe is? I forgot the milk (didn’t realize it until my Bundt cake had been baking for 10 minutes) and it STILL turned out delicious! A little simple syrup, a little milk brushed on the outside, a little extra glaze… and I don’t even think anyone could tell the milk was missing!
How many cups is this cake counter as? Could I do two smaller 6 cup pans with it?
Hi Nat, It should be just fine to divide this batter between two 6 cup bundt pans. Bake time will be shorter!
Instead of 3/4 cup milk could I do 3/4 cup sour cream (1.25 c total)? I don’t have any milk but I do have sour cream. I also have heavy cream…
Don’t wanna sacrifice taste so worst case scenario I can make a trip to the store…
Hi Stefanie! Sour cream will be a bit too thick. We recommend sticking with milk if at all possible!
I always enjoy making (and eating!) your recipes…one question about this cake. Is it possible to divide the batter into mini bundt tins and bake that way?
If so, how many mini cakes would this recipe make and how long would you bake them for?
Hi Stephanie, you sure can! The yield and bake time will depend on the size of your mini Bundt pans. Keep a close eye on them to ensure they don’t over bake.
I can’t wait to try this cake! I just took it out of the oven though at 50 minutes . It was cracked on the top and it looked like what was cracked wasn’t fully cooked.. but I inserted a toothpick and a knife and they came out clean! I’m surprised it was so fast as my oven usually takes longer.. I hope it is not undercooked! To the eye it looks like it but again.. it came out clean! Hoping for the best!!
Update: it was undercooked. Still tasty, but some parts of the bottom of the cake were definitely undercooked. Making this recipe again I would definitely give it at least 60 minutes even if the poker comes out clean (mine did..).
I love the site. Your tips and recipes have taken my love of baking to the next level. I just made this cake and I tested it at 50 minutes and it seemed done. I was worried since you mentioned it probably needed more than 55-70 minutes to cook so I put it back in for 10 more minutes. I am worried about it being too dry now. So two questions… One, have you ever had one cook in less time than expected? Two, do you think keeping it covered at room temp would help prevent it from further drying out, or do you think the fridge helps more since there is moisture in the fridge?
Hi Skye, if you’re finding your baked goods to bake at less time than the recommended time listed, it’s possible that your oven runs a bit hot. Do you have an oven thermometer? That will help to determine the true temperature of your oven. For this cake, you can store it at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week — as long as it’s tightly wrapped/covered, it should stay moist. Hope this helps!