Chai Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

*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


  • 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


  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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Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

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


All Comments

  1. Hey Sally! I have always wanted to ask you this since I saw you told one person you take your ingredients out 60-90 minutes prior for getting then to room temperature…My question is, what temperature do you keep your room (kitchen)? It might seem like a silly question, but I keep my home 64 degrees in the day and 62 at night, so I always have to use shortcuts to get things room temperature safely (your tricks with the eggs and butter as well as putting cream cheese in the wrapper in a ziploc bag and submerging in a bowl of almost hot water to soften and warm it out of the fridge, or making a bowl of water I place my bowl of measured sour cream in to bring it to room temp) Even if I were to place my foods out prior to mixing them up, I think it would take too long to safely use them, so please keep up with giving us those shortcuts to bring things quickly to the necessary temps! I for one appreciate them and not all people have the same room temp, let alone fridge temp and it can alter things a bit…

    1. Our home is between 68-70, usually a bit warmer these days because of our baby girl. In a colder kitchen, I recommend leaving out for a little longer; they’re OK at room temp for a few hours. Especially if they’re all being mixed up and baked.

      1. Ok, Sally made this today as an anniversary cake and boy was it scrumptious…I agree with you that it would be great without icing or the swirl also as the cake itself is a lovely moist buttery and crispy around the edges treat! Used a nonstick bundt pan and my advice for those with sticking troubles (especially around the center cone area) is if u are using a spray to grease, grease it right b4 u add the batter so the spray doesn’t leave the sides and pool at bottom and leave a little space around the edge of pan and around the cone so the chai sugar combo doesn’t stick to the cone or pan and get ur cake stuck…hope this helps and thanks again for a lovely buttery cake and icing!!!!!!

  2. Hey Sally! Do you think this recipe can be made in two 9×9 pans instead of the Bundt cake pan? Or which other pan would you recommend for it? This recipe seems delicious, I can’t wait to try it!

  3. What’s your favorite brand/type of butter to use when baking, especially in a butter-heavy recipe such as this one? I’ve started splurging and using Kerrygold (Irish, Grass-fed) butter when I bake and OH MAN am I in love!!!! Definitely going to try using Kerrygold in this recipe and I know we won’t be able to stop eating it! 🙂

    1. Hi Kayla! This is a great question. I don’t normally splurge on fancy butters for baking. They typically make a wonderful taste difference in cooking, but I never notice anything different in my baked goods. I always grab store-brand butter or whatever is on sale. Use whatever butter you’d like!

  4. Hello Sally! I have a 9 1/2inch bundt pan. Will the cooking time be less? Or will I not need all the batter?

    Thank you!

  5. Have you ever tried using dry Chai mix powder instead of the separate spices?  I’m wondering because I have a large bag of vanilla chai mix from Big Train and thinking it might work instead. ????

  6. Sally! We live at high altitude and I find recipes made with buttermilk to be happier and more successful. Do you think using buttermilk rather than milk will work with this recipe? 

  7. Sally, thank you in advance  for another delicious recipe. I made it yesterday in a nonstick 10 inch Bundt pan, however my swirl came out flat in the center versus nicely domed like yours. So when we cut into it it just didn’t have the lovely look that your cake does however it still tastes great! any tips here? Also, any tips for preventing the swirl material from escaping into the edges of the cake? 

    1. Hi Faye– once you have all of the layers in place in the pan (the batter, the swirl, the batter) you can take a knife to swirl it all together. This will help the filling look more like a swirly/domed filling. (I didn’t do that though.) And to avoid the swirl from escaping through the edges, don’t bring it to the edges of the pan when you’re adding it in. Leave some space on the sides so that it’s not touching. This should help.

  8. Can I substitute anything for the cardamom and allspice? I’ve heard the flavor of cardamom is quite distinct and can’t be substituted. I absolutely want to make this (to shove in my face of course), but the cost of the spices where I live are EXTREMELY extravagant. *sigh*

      1. UPDATE: I made it with a cinnamon swirl today, and IT IS AMAZING. I usually have a lot of self-control when it comes to sweet things, but I could NOT stop myself from eating this! I kept on telling myself “just a *tiny* slice more” untill I ate 1/4(!!!) of the cake by myself *facepalm*. It just dissolves into buttery cinnamony goodness especially when I eat it with coffee or milk. I’m going to make it again this week when guests come over. Thank you for the recipe! I’m going to the gym to burn all these calories haha.

  9. Sally, I made your chai cinnamon swirl bundt cake yesterday, and it was a home run with all the taste testers that tried it.
    I had no problem with it sticking to the pan, and I used the brown butter icing, and it was so delicious! I even had it in the fridge overnight with icing and all. No problem at all!
    Thanks Sally for another great recipe. I have your new cookie book too but haven’t made anything from there yet. I’ve been looking at all the delicious recipes in the book and then on your blog….. Decisions, decisions!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this bundt cake!! Let me know which cookie recipe you decide on. If you love brown butter, try the brown butter snickerdoodles first 🙂

  10. If I wanted to make cupcakes for this recipe would I have to change anything besides the cook time? Maybe the temperature?

  11. Made this today and brought it to work. Absolutely delicious! This truly does not need icing, though I’m sure any of the suggested icings would also be amazing with it. It smelled heavenly before we even cut into it. I love how fancy this feels while really being quite simple. We were going for a “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” reference–“There’s a hole in this cake!” It looked excellent with a potted plant placed in the middle 😉

  12. HI Sally,
    So I definately didn’t cook the cake long enough, but I had an issue with is splitting in half when I too the cake out of the pan. It split where at the chai spice layer. Do you have any suggestions to prevent this? Is it because I didn’t cook it enough?

  13. This is in the oven right now!  I did not use unsalted butter and the batter tasted a bit salty.  My fault, of course. I hope the beautiful chai cinnamon swirl will balance it out plus the brown butter icing.  It seems most of your recipes call for unsalted butter.  Is there a rule of thumb for reducing the salt when using salted butter?

    1. Hi Robyn! Generally, if using salted butter in a recipe that calls for unsalted butter, reduce the added salt by 1/4 teaspoon per 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter. I hope you enjoy the bundt cake!

  14. Sally- 

    I’ve yet to find a recipe of yours I don’t love! I’m going to make this for my MIL’s bday, but I’m not sure if she’s a fan of chai spices. Could I leave them out and just add a little more cinnamon? 


  15. Hi Sally! This looks so good! 
    Just one question though – I have a 6 inch bundt. How you suggest i proceed? If I do half the quantity mentioned here, how many eggs do I use?

    ALso, would you recommend adding caramelised apples/pears in the batter?

    1. I suggest a larger bundt pan. 🙂 But you can try halving this recipe for the 6 inch. You can try to add fruit– I think it would be so good!

  16. Hi Sally,

    Thank you so much for this delicious recipe. It was fun to bake and my family enjoyed it.

    All the best to you & yours!

  17. Hi Sally,

    I want to make this cake for my co-workers. Is there a way I can make it dairy free? I have a co-worker that cannot have milk. So do you have any suggestions on what I can substitute the milk and the sour cream that this recipe calls for? Please and thank you!

    1. I’m unsure how the cake will taste dairy-free, but you can try dairy-free butter, any non-dairy milk (such as almond), and a non-dairy yogurt for the sour cream.

  18. This cake is AMAZING!!!! Made it as per directions for tea time on Christmas day and it was a hit with all the guests! Baked it for 60min in my Nordicware Heritage bundt pan and it was gorgeous. The brown butter icing was really yummy as well. Definitely will make again!

  19. Hi Sally, I have been following your blog for years and love all your recipes. I run an airbnb and always like to leave homemade baked goods for guests, but the challenge is finding good recipes that freeze well. I am wondering if this bundt cake could be sliced first before freezing? So I could just take out 4 pieces at a time, for example?  Perhaps if it is wrapped very well? Thanks so much! 

    1. Hi Ellen! That’s actually how I typically freeze this cake– in slices. They’re great frozen up to 3 months. You can wrap each slice individually if you’d like.

  20. Made this for New Year’s dinner with friends. It was quite the hit. People are planning to finish it off for breakfast!  The cake is moist and a bit different from my sour cream coffee cake. Will be making this again

  21. Can I use lemon zest and lemon juice instead of cinnamon for lemon bunt cake recipe? And can I add cocoa powder with chocolate chips in the middle for a chocolate bunt cake recipe,

  22. Hi Sally!
    Do you think the chai cinnamon swirl would work in a cheesecake? Or would you recommend mixing the chai mixture through?

    1. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work either way! It sounds amazing so please let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  23. Can I make this in loaf pans? If so would it be 2 loaf pans for the one bundt cake recipe? Cook time and temp? Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Teara! Dividing the batter between 2 loaf pans should be OK. Same oven temperature, but I’m unsure of the exact bake time. Use a toothpick to help test for doneness.

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  1. Hi Sally!
    Do you think the chai cinnamon swirl would work in a cheesecake? Or would you recommend mixing the chai mixture through?

    1. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work either way! It sounds amazing so please let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  2. Can I make this in loaf pans? If so would it be 2 loaf pans for the one bundt cake recipe? Cook time and temp? Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Teara! Dividing the batter between 2 loaf pans should be OK. Same oven temperature, but I’m unsure of the exact bake time. Use a toothpick to help test for doneness.

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally