Chai Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

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

I made this bundt cake 5 times in 1 month.

Do you know how much butter that is??

Don’t remind me.

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

I baked this chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake so often because I was testing the recipe to perfection. Not only this, I wanted to have slices frozen for when we have friends visiting little miss Noelle this fall. (Jude and Noelle are legit BFFs.) I’m a firm believer that you can never have too many baked goods in the freezer. Case in point.

But testing the recipe is the main reason this bundt cake was on repeat. 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. Pregnancy brain, perhaps? 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 and 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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here’s why this recipe works:

This bundt cake is buttery and thick with a tight crumb and a sticky sweet cinnamon-chai swirl. It’s dense, but not overly heavy. The base of this cinnamon swirl bundt cake is creamed butter + sugar. So there’s tons of buttery goodness at the heart of it. Instead of flavorless granulated sugar, I sweeten the cake with brown sugar. 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, soft, and tender bundt cake.

Just don’t overbake it. You’ll sabotage all your efforts in keeping it moist. Trust me, I know from experience!

Now what about that swirl?! Hidden inside the cake is a generous blanket of brown sugar and chai spices including ginger, cardamom, allspice, and– of course– cinnamon! The same spices we enjoy in frosted chai snickerdoodles and baked chai spice donuts. (omg try those donuts ASAP.)

Simply layer in the chai spice mixture, like so:

Chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Then bake!

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

Delicious chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I don’t normally say this, but this cake is undeniably delish even without the chai spice swirl in the center. And without icing too! You know how I love my “stuff” in desserts, so this is truly saying something about the bundt cake itself. If you’re ever looking for a plain pound cake/bundt cake, this should be your go-to. I know I’ve mentioned it like 20x already, but this cake is soooo buttery and moist!

Regardless, I never pass up an opportunity for icing.

Brown butter icing on sallysbakingaddiction.com

*Brown butter icing* to be exact.

Equally yum: a drizzle of salted caramel or a shower of maple icing.

So after about 5 times baking this bundt cake, I can say with 100% confidence this is a recipe you HAVE to 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. (It’s finally cooling down here on the east coast. Yay!)

Before you bundt:

  • I love this bundt cake pan. I’ve had it for 4 years and it’s the only bundt pan I use. It’s nonstick, but I still always add a little coat of butter or nonstick cooking spray to grease it. The bundt cake releases so easily. NEVER a crumb stuck. Plus, the shape is pretty.
  • The wet ingredients in the batter will look somewhat curdled before you add the dry ingredients; this is completely normal and due to the ranging temperatures of the ingredients. 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.

Chai Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

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 brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Directions:

  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 my brown butter icing, salted caramel, or maple icing. 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 a couple days and/or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Make ahead tip: 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.

Recipe Notes:

Why is everything at room temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.

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KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Bundt Pan | Glass Mugs | Custom Stamped Fork

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

125 Comments

All Comments

  1. This looks yummy. My parents will be arriving in a few weeks and I have met up with other expats-both good reasons to make this cake!

  2. Oh, maple icing and chai…perfection! I’m sorry you had some issues with the recipe, but anyone could do that, even those NOT distracted by the whole building-a-person thing 😉 I think I’d make this even more excessive by adding those cinnamon chips that come out this time of year…maybe in the swirl, or on top, or in the batter…or, like, all of the above…

  3. Ooh, definitely going to try this out. I love chai and when you combine that with buttery baked goodness? I can’t only image it’s awesome! Thanks for all the recipe testing work so we can enjoy the results! 🙂

  4. I know how important being at room temperature is, but I can never seem to time it right, how long do you take your cold items out beforehand?

      1. Hi Sally, thanks for your response. I did halve the recipe (I used 3 eggs) and baked it in a standard loaf pan…it was done in about 55 min. The taste was divine, and I brought half to a neighbor with newborn twins. Thanks for this lovely recipe, and I wish you love and laughter with Noelle! 

  5. Hi Sally, can’t wait to try this, I can only image a slice of cake with a cup of chai!
    I want to try freezing this, do you have tips? Freeze the whole cake, or slices?
    Thanks and congrats on your sweet baby girl Noelle!

    1. Hi Bella! Thank you for the congrats 🙂 I sliced the cake and froze the slices on a large paper plate that I stuck inside a zipped-top bag. You can freeze the entire cake if you’d like as well.

  6. Hi Sally,
    Chai spice is my FAVORITE flavor, so I am really excited to try making this recipe. BUT I don’t have a bundt pan… A couple years ago my sister gave me a mini bundt pan with a dozen muffin-sized bundt-shaped holes. Do you have advice on timing/temperature adaptations for mini-sized bundts?
    Thanks so much!!!

  7. Sally, I hope you are getting some rest!

    I can’t keep up!..Everytime I plan to try one of your amazing recipes, another pops up and I can’t chose which to make first.

    I will definitely be making this and either the apple cinnamon rolls or the pumpkin roll for a party I’m having next week! I can’t wait! 🙂

    1. Sure am! All of these blog posts have been scheduled ahead of time with a few up-to-date sentences added here and there. It’s been WONDERFUL to relax, recover, and rest. And Noelle is such an incredible sleeper. We’re lucky. Anyway… I’m blabbing! I hope you love this bundt cake… and whichever other recipe you choose too!

  8. Funny you should post this recipe today, Sally. I just ordered a new bundt pan and was looking out for recipes to try. This will be on my list 😀 (Side question: Do you happen to have a good recipe for cream cheese pound cake to share? If so do you think baking it in a cold oven makes a difference?)
    Also wanted to say I really appreciate you taking time to respond to comments and questions. After trying some of your recipes I know I can rely on it to be a solid one when I’m looking for something new to try but seeing that you help troubleshoot makes me even more confident to go ahead so THANK YOU! nd I have seen you respond with grace to criticism (i.e. on the amazon review) and I must say that shows so much about your character. Thank you for you wonderful recipes. All the best!!

    1. You’re welcome! And thank you for the kind comment, I sincerely appreciate it. 
      I don’t have a cream cheese pound cake recipe… but I think you should try this raspberry swirl pound cake. My favorite! http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2017/06/09/raspberry-swirl-pound-cake/

      1. Just wanted to let you know I made your pound cake and it was delicious! Baking in loaf pans always make me nervous because it takes so long to bake and I’m always afraid of it being raw in the middle!

  9. Sally, first of all, congratulations on the birth of your lovely daughter-truly enjoy all the pictures you post. Blessings upon your family!
    Your recipes are always so timely! I was going to look through my large recipe binder filled with your recipes in preparation for weekend house guests and meal preparations.
    Your recipe for this bundt cake is exactly what I will bake to serve for breakfast.
    Thank you!

    1. I’m glad you’re serving it for breakfast because it’s unbelievable with a giant mug of hot coffee! 
      And thank you so much for the congrats. We’re on cloud 9!

  10. I’ve got to admit – coffee cakes and crumb cakes are my favourite kind! Even more then frosted layer cakes and cookie cakes. They’re so versatile and they can be no-frills or super fancy. Can’t wait to try this! Is there any way to bake the recipe in a 13×9 inch pan instead? I don’t have a large enough bundt pan 🙂 

  11. Sally I love the idea of freezing slices of this cake for company. Can you describe exactly how you wrap the slices and store in the freezer?

    1. Hi Desiree! I sliced the cake and froze the slices on a large paper plate that I stuck inside a zipped-top bag. You can freeze the entire cake if you’d like as well.

  12. Oooh, this looks like a good one — I adore chai and it’s so perfect for this time of year!  Do you think I can substitute yogurt for the sour cream?  I bought too much yogurt and would like to use it up.  I love the idea of doing this in mini bundt molds….I suspect maybe start checking them 7-10 minutes earlier….?  Also, I saw another recipe where they actually used chai tea bags and infused the liquid ingredients (in this case it wwould be the milk) with the tea to add more chai flavor.  Overkill or guilding the lily in this recipe…?

    1. Yogurt works instead of sour cream. The chai tea infused wet ingredients sounds great. If you try it, let me know. I’m intrigued!

  13. Good golly Miss Molly!! That is a seriously mouth-watering cake. We were evacuated this week due to the wildfire in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. Thanks to the Herculean efforts of our local firefighters and teams from other states, we’ll be able to return to our untouched homes soon. This cake will be the perfect thank you gift. 

  14. Oh my gosh, you just made cinnamon swirl 10000x better by adding those delectable chai spices! Most DEFINITELY adding this to my fall baking rotation. And I agree with you on the “you can never have too many baked goods in the freezer” – my freezer is always stuffed with them (and I wouldn’t have it any other way).

    One quick question: I actually do not own a bundt cake. Any way you could make this in a regular cake pan, or perhaps a loaf pan? I know that kind of defeats the purpose, but just wondering if I should go out and buy a bundt pan or not.

  15. This looks divine! Can I substitute the chai spices for a “chai spice” mix that I already have? If so, what would those measurements be? Thank you

  16. Love the pic of Noelle and Jude! Looking forward to future pictures of her baking with you when she gets a bit older.

    I haven’t had chai anything yet but this looks like the perfect opportunity to try it out. We’re expecting a ton of rain in the next few days, so it’s ideal baking weather.

  17. Hello Sally! This looks delicious! Quick question. I will be making this one day ahead but do not have time to make the icing the next morning. So I was planning on doing it the same day. If I do that and then refrigerate it will it be soggy the next day?

    Congratulations on your baby girl

    1. Hi Jacquelyn! How about you make the icing, cover and refrigerate overnight then drizzle right before serving. Just to avoid any possible sogginess.

  18. 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!

  19. Hey Sally! I don’t have all of the spices in the recipe to make the chai part of chai cinnamon swirl. Can I use chai tea in my cupboard or will that throw off the flavors? Thanks!

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