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If there’s anything that truly screams Christmas, it’s gingerbread. Therefore, I can’t think of a better way to kick the holiday season off than with this Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake. This sweet, super moist gingerbread cake is made with brown sugar, molasses, and a touch of vanilla extract. It’s spiced up with the warming flavors of chai and baked with a swirl of cream cheese throughout the center. The final touch is a generous drizzle of buttery lemon glaze. This perfectly sweet and spiced up version of gingerbread cake is so delicious. Perfect for baking on cold December days while cozied up inside!

This post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.

overhead photo of Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake with 3 pieces of cake cut

There’s nothing I love more than a festive dessert. I know I’ve said this many times, but this time of year is truly my favorite. Something about the holidays always brings out my most creative side. I love the types of recipes I share in November and December more than any others throughout the year. This gingerbread cake turned out even better than I envisioned, so I am so excited to share the recipe with you guys.

Not only is this cake delicious, it’s also simple to make. This truly is a wintery cake…warming, lightly spiced, a touch buttery, and slightly decadent… just about as close to perfect as a cake can get.

overhead photo of Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake before baking with the cream cheese layer showing

overhead photo of Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake before baking

Here are all the details you need to know.

This time of year, my fridge is stocked with my favorite Land O Lakes® Extra Creamy Butter. You may not know this, but the variety of butter you use can really make a difference, especially when baking. I love the rich buttery flavor and hints of salt in Land O Lakes® Extra Creamy Butter. It creams wonderfully into batters and always turns out a moist delicious cake.

The first step is to cream the butter with brown sugar and molasses. The sugar adds sweetness, while the molasses adds that classic gingerbread color and rich flavor. Once the wet ingredients have been thoroughly mixed in, add the dry.

side angled photo of Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake with the glaze being drizzled over the cake

For my dry mix, I use the basics…flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

But for the spices? I didn’t use just ginger. I also incorporated the spices used in a steaming cup of chai tea…ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and pepper. It’s the ultimate spice blend that gives you a very gingery gingerbread cake, hinting of the flavor of chai.

side angled photo of Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake

Once the batter is mixed up, there is one last key ingredient, cream cheese. At the last minute, I decided to add a swirl of creamy cream cheese to the center of this cake. Something about all the spices and rich molasses paired with cream cheese sounded so good to me.

And you know? The cream cheese ended up truly complementing all the spices. It adds a nice creaminess to every bite…so delicious.

Layer the batter with the cream cheese and bake. As the cake bakes, your house will be filled with the smells of ginger and cinnamon. At this point, holiday music should be playing. And in a wintry movie world, a fire will be roaring, snow will be falling, and the lights on your tree will be twinkling away.

The perfect picture, right? To me, yes. But again, I love this cozy time of year. If it snowed every day this month, I’d be happy. It’s a great excuse to stay inside and bake…specifically this gingerbread cake.

overhead close up photo of Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake with multiple slices of cake cut

Finish with something extra sweet…and lemony.

Originally, I had a completely different icing in mind for this cake, but after my first round of testing, I knew I wanted an icing that would lighten the cake while enhancing its flavors.

Enter this lemony, buttery, vanilla icing. It has hints of sweet butter, lemon, and plenty of vanilla. It’s perfect for finishing this spiced gingerbread cake and adds just the right amount of sweetness.

overhead photo of Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake with multiple slices of cake cut

Serve this cake…

every chance you get this month.

No really, I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this cake. I’ve already made it several times over the last two weeks. It’s the easiest cake to mix up, and it always comes out looking impressive with the swirl of cream cheese inside and that pretty off-white icing on top.

I’ve enjoyed this cake slightly warm with a cup of cocoa. I’ve also gifted it twice to friends as a holiday thank you (it wraps up beautifully in a cute little gift box).

So my suggestion? Take some time off this weekend for a little holiday baking. Nothing is better than a gingerbread cake baking in the oven on a cozy wintery weekend.

PS. Looking for more gingerbread recipes…check out some of these oldies but goodies!

side angled photo of Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake with bite taken out of cake slice

If you make this cream cheese swirled chai gingerbread cake, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch the how to video:

Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 12
Calories Per Serving: 355 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) Land O Lakes® Salted Extra Creamy Butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

Vanilla Lemon Icing


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-cup Bundt® pan with butter, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
    2. To make the cake, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown
    sugar, and vanilla until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the molasses, beating until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix on low speed until just combined, making sure the batter is completely mixed.
    3. Slowly add in the milk. Beat until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Be careful not to overbeat the batter.
    4. Spoon half the cake batter into the prepared pan. Gently dollop the softened cream cheese over the batter and spread in an even layer. Spoon the remaining batter over the cream cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes and then invert the cake onto a plate.
    5. To make the glaze, in a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and milk until smooth. If needed, thin the glaze with additional milk.
    6. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake and let set 10 minutes. Serve at slightly warm or room temperature.


Storing: this cake keeps well for 3-4 days at room temperature. 
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horizontal photo of Cream Cheese Swirled Chai Gingerbread Cake

{This post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Half Baked Harvest cooking!}

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  1. 3 stars
    The texture is really beautiful, but the molasses flavour was overpowering, to the point that I could barely taste the spices. If I were to make this again, I’d substitute a good chunk of the molasses with honey. As it was, it was quite yummy with whipped cream, but we needed that creamy lightness to cut the molasses. Gosh, that was a strong molasses flavour.

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks so much for making this cake and sharing your feedback, so sorry it was not enjoyed. Please let me know if I can answer any questions! xx

  2. Hi there! I’m in the UK and there’s only dark brown sugar or light brown sugar. No “brown sugar.” The dark brown sugar says it’s best for gingerbread but that could be referring to the cookies. Which brown sugar should I use? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi there,
      Dark born sugar will be great to use:) I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  3. 4 stars
    I can never get bundt cakes to release out of the pan in one piece. I buttered it twice and let it sit for 15 minutes and it only released half of the cake and broke where the cream cheese layer began. My granddaughter and I pieced it together and threw the icing on so it didn’t look too bad until she tripped on the stairs carrying it home. It will make a nice pudding now and will still taste amazing. Do you have any tips on getting bundt cakes out? I didn’t want to butter and flour the pan as it would take away from the color of the gingerbread.

    1. Hey there,
      Thank you so very much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Do you grease your pans? Happy Holidays!??

      1. 4 stars
        Yes I greased the pan using soft butter and applied it with a brush. I did it twice to ensure it had a good coat of butter. 98% of my bundt recipes that use butter vs oil don’t come out. I’ve tried teflon coated bundt pans and even the fancy William Sonoma Nordic Ware cast aluminum type. I seriously think going forward I will start using a tube pan with a removable bottom. Happy Holidays Tieghan.

  4. could I omit the chai spice? and make it more of just a gingerbread cake? if I did- which ones would I remove to take out the chair flavor but keep the gingerbread?

    1. Hi Cheyanne,
      I really haven’t tried this and I worry that omitting some of the spices that you would lose flavor in the cake. Please let me know if you give it a try. Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  5. Hi Tieghan!

    Do you think there would be enough batter for me to split this into to 8 inch round cake pans to make a layered cake?

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hey Teresa,
      Yes, that should work well for you. Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xTieghan

    1. Hi Donna,
      Yes, that would be okay to do! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

    1. Hey Lauren,
      Sorry I haven’t but for a sweet recipe like this I would stick with the ground ginger. I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    Just made this for my family yesterday on Christmas and we all loved it! I loved the smell of the spices and even though I couldn’t find the individual spices like cardamom and all-spice, I used a “pumpkin spice” mix and it still turned out great. The cream cheese was a fun surprise inside the cake, though next time I will whip it to be creamier. Thank you for an amazing cake!

  7. This looks so good! Do you know if it would be ok to make the batter in advance and bake it a day or two later? We are traveling across the state so I figured maybe I would make the batter rather than bringing all of the ingredients with me.

    1. Hey Kristen,
      I have never tried that, but honestly I would just bake the entire cake and travel with it. Should be great! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  8. Loved, loved, loved this “twist” on the gingerbread bunt cake! It was delicious!!

    We are a dairy free household, I omitted the cream cheese and used unsweetened coconut milk (full fat) in place of the milk and used a basic lemon juice, zest and confectioners sugar for the icing.

  9. This cake looks amazing! Do you think I could make it in a mini Bundt cake pan if I reduced the baking time? I would love to gift smaller versions to family members for Christmas.

    1. Hey Rachel,
      Sure you could do that! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan