This red velvet bundt cake is moist and tender with the perfect red velvet flavor thanks to just a hint of cocoa powder. It’s topped with cream cheese glaze, and looks truly stunning with its beautiful red cake crumb.
If you’re looking for a red velvet cake that’s super moist, perfectly dense and not overly sweet – then this red velvet bundt cake is the perfect option. I love bundt cakes because they have such a tender crumb and a texture that’s dense in the best possible way. Plus – they look really pretty without requiring all the work of a layer cake.
The Perfect Red Velvet Bundt Cake
Red velvet cake should have just a hint of cocoa, a super moist texture, and a beautiful red color. The flavor is somewhere in between chocolate and vanilla, and there’s almost a slight tanginess to the flavor thanks to the buttermilk. This bundt cake recipe hits all of those requirements.
For this red velvet cake – we’re actually using a combination of butter and oil. The butter adds more flavor, and beating together the butter and sugar aerates the cake to give it a better texture. However – since oil is liquid at room temperature (as opposed to butter which is solid) it keeps the cake more tender. So by using both butter and oil, we’re getting the best of both worlds.
You’ll notice we’re using cake flour in this recipe. Cake flour has a finer consistency and gives the cake a more delicate cake crumb. Always sift your cake flour to get rid of lumps.
The perfect red velvet flavor comes from a few key ingredients: cocoa powder for the mild chocolate flavor, and buttermilk creates a slightly tangy, buttery, creamy flavor. We’re using just 2 ½ tablespoons of cocoa powder. I always use natural cocoa powder as opposed to Dutch-process cocoa powder in red velvet recipes (it’s the lighter colored one). The buttermilk also makes the cake ridiculously moist and tender, in addition to contributing to that classic red velvet flavor.
Now the one “weird” ingredient in red velvet cake is definitely the vinegar. The vinegar reacts with the baking soda to help the cake rise. It’s also acidic. Acid brings out the red tones in cocoa powder. So traditionally, before red velvet cake recipes used red food coloring, it also helped make the cake red.
Of course, it wouldn’t be red velvet without the red color. For this recipe, I used 2 ½ tablespoons of liquid red food coloring. You could also use gel if you prefer (you’ll likely only need about 2 tablespoons of gel food coloring). The amount of food coloring used is really dependent on how vibrant you want the color to be – but I like my red velvet cake vibrant.
Cream Cheese Icing
This bundt cake is topped with a tangy cream cheese glaze. It’s a thinner icing as opposed to a thick, creamy frosting and tastes delicious with the red velvet flavor. I gently cut off the bottom of the bundt cake, and then sprinkled some of the cake crumbs on top of the cake. If you’d prefer to cover the cake in a thick cream cheese frosting instead – check out this recipe.
Baking Tips & Tricks
- Ensure your butter, eggs and buttermilk are room temperature before getting started – I always take mine out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior to baking.
- If you don’t have cake flour, you can use a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch (aka cornflour) instead. Measure out 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, then remove ⅓ cup from the bowl. Add in ⅓ cup cornstarch. Sift the mixture together at least 3 times.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 teaspoon vinegar to 1 cup of whole or 2% milk. Let sit for 5 minutes for the milk to sour. You could also use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of vinegar. Note – this 1 teaspoon of vinegar is in addition to the vinegar called for in the recipe below.
- When making a bundt cake, I always use pan release to grease & flour the pan. You can make your own using this recipe, or buy pan release at a cake decorating store (or on Amazon).
- I do not recommend using an intricate bundt pan for this recipe, because it makes it much more challenging to remove the cake from the pan.
- Make sure to read this tutorial with all my favorite tips for making bundt cakes.
Or for more red velvet recipes, be sure to try:
- Red Velvet Cupcakes
- Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies
- Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Velvet Bundt Cake
- 2 ½ cups cake flour*
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil or canola
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ tablespoons red food coloring
- 1 cup buttermilk*
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 4 oz cream cheese full fat, brick style
- 1 ½ - 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream as needed
Red Velvet Bundt Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and position the oven rack in the middle of your oven.
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Beat in the oil, eggs, vanilla extract and red food coloring.
- Turn the mixture down to low speed. Beat ½ of the flour mixture into the bowl followed by ½ of the buttermilk. Repeat the process until all of the flour mixture and buttermilk are mixed in.
- Beat in the vinegar.
- Brush your bundt pan with pan release, ensuring to get into all the creases. Or generously grease and sprinkle with flour or sugar. (I always use pan release).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the bundt pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a wire cooling rack and continue cooling.
- Beat the cream cheese until soft.
- Beat in the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time until the desired thickness and sweetness is reached, mixing in the milk/cream 1 tablespoon at a time as needed. You want the glaze to be thinner than peanut butter in consistency.
- Gently slice off the bottom of the cooled cake so that it's flat, then place the cake on a plate.
- Pour/spread the cream cheese glaze over the top of the bundt cake, letting it drizzle over the sides.
- Crumble the cake that you sliced off into small crumbs, and sprinkle over the cake.