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!

overhead image of slices of chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake

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?

slice of chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on a silver plate

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 (!!)

slice of chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake

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. 🙂

chai spice mixture in a white bowl with a spoon

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.

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

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

chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake in bundt pan after baking

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 in a glass bowl

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

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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slice of chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake

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

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.

167 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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