Chai Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

Soft, buttery, and perfectly spiced chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake is delicious for dessert, brunch, or with your afternoon coffee. Serve with a generous drizzle of brown butter icing!

chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake slices

I made this bundt cake 5 times in 1 month. Do you know how much butter that is??

I baked this chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake so often because I was testing the recipe to perfection. Once I finally got the recipe right, I overbaked it. Forgot to set the oven timer, went upstairs, and came back down almost 2 hours later. My well done bundt cake (and patience) immediately went into the trash. I nearly gave up because the amount of butter I used in all this recipe testing was ridiculous. But I persevered! You might call it determination or perfectionism, but let’s call a spade a spade and refer to it as a serious addiction to all things cinnamon swirl.

Even better if that cinnamon swirl includes chai spices. Why choose a cinnamon swirl when you can have a CHAI cinnamon swirl?

Deliciously moist, soft, and buttery chai spice cinnamon bundt cake! Recipe on

This Chai Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake Is:

  • Buttery + moist
  • Deliciously chai-spiced
  • Dense, but not heavy
  • Easy to make
  • Impressive + feeds a crowd
  • Topped with brown butter icing (!!)

Deliciously moist, soft, and buttery chai spice cinnamon bundt cake! Recipe on

Why This Recipe Works

This bundt cake is soft and thick with a tight crumb. Not quite as tight as pound cake, but not as light and airy as white cake. The base of this cinnamon swirl bundt cake is creamed butter + sugar. So, at the heart of it, there’s tons of buttery goodness! Instead of flavorless granulated sugar, I sweeten the cake with brown sugar. It tastes remarkable with the thick swirl of warm chai spice flavors. Since they’re quite large, bundt cakes have the tendency to be a little dry, so I add enough moisture to compensate. We’ll use 5 large eggs, sour cream, and milk. This trio of wet ingredients guarantees a super-moist and tender bundt cake.

Just don’t over-bake it. You’ll sabotage all your efforts in keeping it moist!

This is the same base recipe as rum cake and cranberry orange bundt cake. 🙂

Layer In the Chai Spice Swirl

Hidden inside the cake is a generous swirl of warm spices including:

  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Allspice

You’ll notice these are the same spices we enjoy in frosted chai spice snickerdoodles, chai spice donuts, and chai latte cupcakes. I love the flavor cardamom adds!

It’s easier than you might think to create the beautiful swirl. Simply layer the chai spice mixture between the cake batter– half of the cake batter on the bottom, half of the cake batter on the top. There’s no need to actually swirl it, the oven will take care of that. The weight of the cake batter rises and falls as it bakes, moving the chai spice swirl along with it.

Chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on

Chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on

Chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on

Then bake! (And, um, don’t forget your oven timer.)

Delicious chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on

Brown Butter Icing

I don’t normally say this, but this cake is undeniably delicious even without the chai spice swirl in the center. And without icing too! I know I’ve mentioned it like 20x already, but this cake is so buttery and moist. Regardless, I never pass up an opportunity for icing. *Brown butter icing* to be exact.

Instead of brown butter icing, here are a few equally delicious options: vanilla icing, the brown sugar icing used on pumpkin donuts, the maple icing used on banana scones, or homemade salted caramel.

Brown butter icing on

I can say with 100% confidence this is a recipe you must try. It’s a giant cake, for sure, so invite a bunch of friends and family over to help you gobble it up! You’ll fall in love with the chai spice flavor, one we often associate with this time of year.

Before You Bundt

  • Bundt Pan: Call me boring, but I always use the same bundt cake pan. It’s the best. It’s nonstick, but I still always grease it just to be safe. The bundt cake releases so easily. Never a crumb stuck and easy to clean. Plus, the shape is so pretty!
  • Curdled Ingredients: The wet ingredients in the batter will look somewhat curdled before you add the dry ingredients– this is due to the ranging temperatures of the ingredients and is completely normal. The butter may be warmer than the eggs, the sour cream may be colder than the butter, etc. Have no fear! It will all come together when the dry ingredients are added.
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Chai 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


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: 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


  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.


  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.
Deliciously moist, soft, and buttery chai spice cinnamon bundt cake! Recipe on


Comments are closed.

  1. If you omitted the chai spices would you need to up the amount of cinnamon? I would like to just so the cinnamon and sugar. Thanks so much Sally!!

    1. Hi Laura! If the chai spices are left out, I recommend increasing the cinnamon in the cinnamon swirl to 1 Tablespoon.

  2. This looks amazing! Would love to make it this weekend.. I was wondering if I can use a different shape pan (don’t currently have a bundt pan)? Would that work?

  3. I’ve made 2 chai cakes in the past 3 days and have had the same result trying to get the cake out of the pan. It breaks apart at the chai filling. I waited the 2 hours and greased the pan well. I love the cake, but it’s got to come out of the pan!!

    1. Yes I agree. I had the same problem when I last made this cake. though it was still devoured my co workers it did not look as pretty! Sally Help us!

      1. So sorry about the trouble! I’m just seeing these comments/questions now. It’s the sugary chai spice layer that’s sticking to the pan and tearing up the cake when you’re trying to release it. Next time, to avoid this, make sure that the layer does NOT touch the sides of the pan. When adding it, sprinkle it only in the very center, leaving a good inch of batter on both sides. This way it hopefully won’t be touching the sides at all. Hope this helps!

      2. FYI who had trouble with the cake releasing, I found a new spray called Bak Klene at William Sonoma, also Amazon.
        It works like a charm, thanks to the lady at W and S advice.

  4. Sally- I love this recipe! Would it work in muffins?

    1. Yes, definitely! It’ll make quite a lot. Fill the muffin liners all the way to the top, then follow the baking instructions, time + temperatures for these muffins:

      1. Hello! These make great muffins. I halved the recipe and used 2 eggs. Was the perfect amount for 12 muffins! Baked according to the master muffin directions.

  5. Hi Sally. I’ve been wondering if you ever bake with stoneware? I only have a stone bundt pan, the chai cinnamon swirl cake baked in about 50 minutes. The couple bites I had seemed dry. I am thinking of buying a normal bundt pan, which do you suggest?

    1. Hi Thomene! I don’t typically bake cakes in stoneware. My favorite bundt cake pan is this one

  6. I just made this. Thanks Sally! I was craving a chai swirl cake but thought it might be too indulgent to make for no occasion but your idea to freeze slices sold me.
    I’m a bundt cake novice as I rarely bake bundts and my mistake was I used oil to grease my pan and it stuck 🙁 but that is my error and I know next time I will use butter and flour. My aim was to slice the cake, so not too big a deal. I love the flavours and my Mum loved it too – it is divine on it’s own like you said. But I also wanted to ice half of it – so I made half batch of your browned butter icing, and to offset the sweetness and up the chai taste I mixed up a half batch of your chai spice mix (1 tsp Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp Ginger and Cardamon, 1/4 tsp Allspice) and added 1tsp to the BB icing and then added an extra 1/4tsp to my taste – definitely reccomend that too!

    Next time I want to make this as a loaf pan cake – do you think half the recipe will have enough batter – I read approximately a bundt cake is 12 cups whereas a loaf pan holds approx 8 cups so 6 cups might be too shallow?
    Also I might adapt a coffee cake recipe to add a layer of chai spice mix. Thanks again Sally!

  7. Sally…I have a silicone bundt pan. Is there any change in baking time or temperature?
    Thank you.

    1. There shouldn’t be.

  8. Hi Sally, do you think this will work well in a mini bundt pan?

    1. Hi Cynthia, you can use mini bundt pans but I’m unsure of the exact bake times. Enjoy!

  9. Diane Gauthier says:

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

  10. hi sally, do you think a simple syrup is necessary for more moistness like some places out there do? ty 😉

    1. I don’t find it necessary on this particular recipe – the cake is already so moist and buttery! I do use it on some other recipes, and it’s always a nice trick to use it to save a cake that is over-baked and too dry!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

      1. Thank you for your reply! I’ll try your suggestion.

  14. I just made this beautiful cake. SMELLS SO AMAZING. Came together so quickly. Thank you Sally. Can’t wait to try this….2 hours is a long time to wait ( . :

  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. Yum, I’m going to sooooooooooooo make this❤️❤️

  18. I made this yesterday. The color of my cake turn out a light caramel. I left the cake in the pan for the two hours and I think it made the cake dry. I only cooked it for 60 mins. I had trouble getting the cake out of the pan also, just read how to avoid that.
    I think I will try it again, (every one loved it at the meeting) however I will try a different pan and not leave it for 2 hrs.
    Love your blog…

  19. 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!

      1. Thank you so much for your reply, Sally! That makes perfect sense and seems like something I should have thought of myself! Ha! 😛 I will definitely let you know what pan I use and how it turns out. Thanks again!

  20. 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?


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

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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?

  25. 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

  26. 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.

      1. Hi Sally, thank you for reply. Helpful post. Is there a way to convert pre-sifted flour to non-sifted. Flour is like gold dust these days in UK and pre-sifted was all I could found.

  27. Naomi Mutua says:

    I’m a bit disappointed.
    I expect ‘chai’ flavors to have actual black tea flavor, cause chai really is tea (in Swahili/Indian/Arabic.


  28. 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 🙂

  29. 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!

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