Chai-Spiced Pound Cake: a new twist on classic spice cake

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Welcome to King Arthur Flour’s Year of the Bundt! We’re celebrating this classic American dessert with a variety of recipes throughout the year. This month, we’re kicking off fall with our globally-inspired version of a classic American spice cake: Chai-Spiced Pound Cake.

Have you ever enjoyed a cup of chai? Known as masala chai in India, its birthplace, this combination of black tea and spices has become a given for any barista worth his or her beans, right up there with mocha latte and jasmine green tea.

What makes chai special? Not its tea leaves; flavor-wise they’re simply the delivery device for an array of “dark” South Asian spices: cloves or allspice, coriander or black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and, most notably, cardamom, the world’s third priciest spice (after saffron and vanilla).

Though notably assertive on its own, cardamom teams seamlessly with its fellow chai spices — and our Chai-Spiced Pound Cake is delicious proof. Moist, dense without being heavy, and wonderfully flavorful, it’s a perfect salute to cooler weather. Brew a pot of tea or cup of coffee, and cut yourself a slice of spice!

Chai-Spiced Pound Cake: a sip of chai and slice of cake in each delicious bite! Click To Tweet

How to make Chai-Spiced Pound Cake

First, preheat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the center.

Next, gather your ingredients:

16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chai spice; or 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ginger, 2 teaspoons cardamom, 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup sour cream or yogurt, full-fat preferred
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Our chai spice combines six typical chai spices in an ideally balanced blend. You can certainly make this cake without it, substituting an array of spices to create a chai-like experience. But if you like spice cake, oatmeal cookies, or any confection lending itself to multiple spices (apple pie, anyone?), I highly recommend keeping a jar of this blend on hand.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Make the batter

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and honey until smooth and somewhat lightened in color; this will take about 2 minutes at medium speed of an electric hand or stand mixer.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions. A bowl scraper is the ideal tool for this task.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chai spice (or spices).

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Measure the flour by weighing it; or gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Gently but thoroughly beat or stir half the flour into the butter/egg mixture.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Add the sour cream (or yogurt) and vanilla, stirring to combine.

Finally, stir in the remaining flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat briefly to incorporate any sticky residue.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Scoop the batter into the pan

Thoroughly grease a 9- or 10-cup Bundt pan. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Smooth the batter with a spatula.

Bake the cake

Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester, bamboo skewer, or long toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 15 minutes.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Turn the cake out of the pan

Loosen the edges of the cake, if necessary, and carefully turn the pan over onto a rack; the cake should slip out onto the rack.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Cool the cake completely before slicing. Store any leftovers, tightly wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

The perfect final touch: caramel

For a simple yet tasty final touch, try drizzling the cooled cake — either the whole cake, or individual slices — with caramel sauce.

Baking gluten-free?

We’ve got you covered! Simply bake this recipe with our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour in place of the all-purpose flour; no other changes are necessary.

High-altitude adjustments

Do you bake at altitude? Check out our high-altitude baking tips.

Looking for additional Bundt cake tips, techniques, and recipes? See our Complete Guide: Bundt Cakes. And find links to additional specially selected Bundt recipes and blog posts on our Year of the Bundt page.

Thanks to fellow employee-owner Julia Reed for taking most of the photos for this post.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Shelly S.

    Hi, I use an old-time heavy cast bundt pan – it is not non-stick. Accordingly, should I just grease it or grease and flour? Thanks???

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Shelly, we think you might want to take some time to review the tips in this article about how to prevent your Bundt cake from sticking. There are a number of creative methods shown here, which you might want to try to ensure your cake turns out nicely. The good news is that this Bundt cake is known to slide easily out of the pan; it’s a good recipe to try baking in your Bundt pan. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you! Kye@KAF

  2. Ruth A Myers

    I can almost smell this cake baking, just by reading the list of ingredients! I would love to make this recipe in smaller amounts to sell at the local farmer’s market. Do you think it could be made in several small loaf pans?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This recipe makes a scant 5 cups or 38 oz of batter, which we’ve found fits well in one 9″x5″ pan. We haven’t experimented with smaller loaf pans ourselves, but we’d imagine it would work well too. It just might take some experimentation to nail down bake time. Best of luck and happy baking! Mollie@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Yes, go for it. It will be a Speculaas cake instead of a chai cake, but definitely still equally tasty. And yes, use the same amount. Good luck — PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Tube pans usually have a slightly higher capacity than Bundt pans, so your cake might turn out looking slightly shorter than it otherwise would be. Not to fret, though: it will still taste delicious and the baking time should be on par with that of a Bundt pan. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We like it best the day it’s baked, but it holds its moisture impressively well. The cake will still be soft, tender, and almost just as delicious the second day. You can always add a simple glaze of powdered sugar and milk on top of the cake if you want to liven it back up on the day of serving. Enjoy! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Kathy, feel free to use 1/4 cup of maple syrup instead of the honey in this recipe. The liquid sweetener helps keep the cake soft and moist, and the flavor of maple syrup will blend nicely with the other flavors in the spice cake. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  3. Debra

    Can’t wait to try this recipe I love Bundt Cakes and I love spice cake so I know this one’s going to be great I’ll probably do one in the fall for Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  4. Cathy

    I just made this bundt cake. Bravo PJ! I thought the vanilla recipe was awesome but I think you outdid it with this one. The whole house smells amazing. I got a bit too excited to eat the cake so I took it out the pan just after 5 minutes from the oven. As you could guess, it was too hot and started to break up a bit. I put the cake mold back on the cake to hold it in place. A few pieces fell off the cake and I’m not mad about it. Sooo delicious! Next time I’m wait 15 minutes to cool it before unmolding it.

    Reply
  5. Bernice

    I doubled the recipe as I had one potluck today and one tomorrow. I put a little ganache on top and sprinkled some toasted sliced almonds on it. I only had dark brown sugar, so I used that. I didn’t have ground coriander, just seed. I toasted it before grinding with my mortar and pestle. That’s great for Indian cooking, but made it a bit strong for the cake. It was still good, though! My only disappointment was they didn’t fill the pans as high as I would’ve liked. This recipe says a 9 or 10 cup Brund pan. I thought my standard ones were 12 cups, so perhaps that was the issue.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Bernice, if you have a 12-cup Bundt pan, you’re welcome to increase the recipe for a taller cake. If you’re making two cakes, you could try increasing the recipe by 2.5x and dividing the batter evenly between the two. If you’re making just one cake, you could try making 1.5x the recipe and using any spare batter to make cupcakes. If you want to double check the size of your Bundt pan, check out this article about how to do it. We hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  6. Carol

    This recipe sounds like a much tastier version of a honey cake that is traditional for the Jewish New Year. Would you please suggest a substitute for the dairy items ( yogurt or sour cream) would coconut cream work? If not I will try it for some other occasion.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re happy to help! You can use a non-dairy alternative like Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks for the butter; for the yogurt or sour cream, you can use either soy or coconut yogurt. Be sure to use a plain, unsweetened variety for best results. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I’m assuming yes, Sam; cake recipes can generally be turned into cupcakes. Fill each well of your cupcake/muffin pan about 3/4 full; bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven. They’re done when a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Jennifer, brew a pot of tea – or cup of coffee. Cake this good deserves a complementary beverage! Enjoy — PJH

  7. Christine Russell

    I sent my mother in law down to Norwich to pick up some chai spice and gluten free measure for measure after I saw this recipe on Facebook. I have a friend/coworker who loves anything chai, but is gluten free. I just took it out of the oven and my house smells amazing. I can’t wait to share this with my colleagues tomorrow and chase away the Monday blues. I’m considering adding some cream cheese frosting, or maybe just having it on the side for those who might like to try it frosted.

    Reply
  8. Julie Z.

    Can you substitute unsweetened applesauce for the eggs or any other recommended changes? I don’t eat eggs/dairy and would already be using vegan butter, nondairy yogurt.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Julie, often times applesauce can be used to replace up to 25% of the oil or butter (rather than eggs) in a recipe. You’ll be better off using all vegan butter instead of a combination of butter and applesauce in this case. To replace the eggs, we typically recommend using Golden Flax Meal blended with water. (For full instructions use this article on our blog.) Keep in mind that eggs play a crucial role in the structure of cake, so the texture may be slightly different than what it otherwise would be in this recipe. (It’s still worth giving it a shot, we think!) For the yogurt, we recommend using a plain soy yogurt, which tends to be the tangiest of all the non-dairy yogurts. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  9. Jennifer

    I made this using my acorn pan and they turned out amazing! Little spice bombs. I used both spray and flour on the pan – cooked them 10 minutes, let them sit for 5 minutes before popping them out using a small off-set spatula and they look awesome. 10 minutes was all they needed. I made my own chai spice and it was perfect!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sweet ideas: white chocolate or cinnamon chips; for a bit of spice: crystallized ginger. Toasted pecans and/or dried cranberries might make the cake nice and festive! Kye@KAF

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