I tested this red velvet bundt cake recipe over and over again until it was absolutely perfect. The secret to this stunning, perfectly fluffy and moist red velvet bundt cake is in the ingredient ratios! Plus, it has half the amount of red food coloring than most red velvet cakes out there without sacrificing on color. A silky homemade cream cheese frosting takes it over the top!
I made this red velvet bundt cake a total of 6 times. You heard me right- SIX times until I got it right. I love making bundt cakes because they are easy to make and come with a built in design, but sometimes it’s hard to get the ratios right.
But let me tell you- it was worth the wait! This cake is fluffy, moist (without being oily), has a delicious bite to it especially with the cream cheese icing drizzled on top.
Plus its topped with my favorite versatile cream cheese frosting that you can use on so many different desserts!
What is a Red velvet cake?
Classically a Red Velvet Cake is made with special ingredients like cocoa powder, buttermilk, and a splash of vinegar. When the cocoa, buttermilk, and vinegar react with the baking soda, they create this velvety texture to the cake- hence the name! This is what makes this cake so special.
I love a good red velvet layer cake but decided to go for a twist on a classic recipe and make a red velvet bundt cake instead! As a trained pastry chef I love to play around with the classics to see how I can switch it up.
What does Red velvet cake taste like?
The taste of red velvet is like vanilla with a hint of cocoa, kinda hard to explain otherwise. It’s also classically topped with a cream cheese frosting.
For the cake
- Unsalted butter– this isnt a special ingredient but how you use it is important. Make sure it is at room temperature before starting. If you forget to soften the butter I have a whole post on how to soften butter quickly.
- Cocoa Powder– A classic red velvet cake has just a little bit of cocoa powder added into the dry ingredients.
- White Vinegar– A teaspoon of white vinegar is added into the wet ingredients. You WILL NOT taste it! You do need it though, because it will react with the buttermilk to bring out a more red color in the cocoa- which is why they call this a red velvet cake!
- Red Food Coloring- You absolutely do not have to use this in your cake at all. This has no effect on the flavor but it just used for the color. I like to use a water based food coloring because I think the gel gives off a strong flavor if you use too much.
- Buttermilk– this gives red velvet cake that classic tangy taste. I don’t suggest swapping it out for regular milk. In fact you can just make your own if you don’t want to go out and buy buttermilk.
For the cream cheese glaze
- Cream cheese- softened at room temp
- Unsalted butter- softened. Learn how to soften butter quickly.
- Confectioners sugar
- Milk or cream
- Vanilla extract
How to make a red velvet bundt cake
It’s best to first measure out all your ingredients and clean as you go! Make sure to check out this post on how to bake and get a bundt cake out of a pan perfectly before you start!
- Step one: mix the wet ingredients– In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar together. Add the oil and beat 30 second more. Next add in the eggs one at a time and continue beating on low- medium speed.Add in the vanilla extract, the vinegar, and food coloring, and continue mixing until the batter is a uniform red color.Measure out the buttermilk in a measuring cup and set aside.
- Step two: combine the dry ingredients-Combine the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl or on a large piece of parchment paper.
- Step 3: Mix wet and dry ingredients together– Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients 1/3rd at a time starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Step four: Bake-Heavily grease a bundt pan with baking spray, I like bakers joy, but if you don’t have that then spray with any baking spray you have and then dust it with some flour.
- Step five: Bake the cake for 55-60 mins.
- You’ll know the cake is done when it is puffed up and the edges start to break away from the pan. You can also insert a toothpick into the center, and if it comes out clean it’s done!
How to make your own buttermilk:
If you dont have a bottle of buttermilk you can make your own!
Measure 1 cup milk (any kind but whole is best) and take out one tablespoon. Replace it with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar and let it sit for 10 minutes. You now have buttermilk!
Best red food coloring to use
Sometimes you need a lot of food coloring to get the right color red. For this reason I like using a water based food coloring instead of a gel. I only use 1 1/2 tbsp so it wont mess with the texture of the cake. I prefer water based over gel because the gel can have a bitter taste to it if you add too much.
After running a custom cake shop for 5 years believe me I have had my fair share of playing with food colorings!
Cooling the cake
You have to make sure the cake is a little cool before turning it out. It needs about 10-15 minutes to cool.
Take a wire rack and place it over the bundt cake, then grip the rack with your thumb and hold on to the bundt with your other fingers, and FLIP. Remove the bundt pan.
Make the cream cheese frosting
- In a large bowl of a hand or stand mixer, cream the cream cheese, butter, and confectioners sugar on low speed. Do not mix this on a higher speed or the confectioners sugar will blow up into your face.
- Once creamy, add in the milk and vanilla. The consistency is really up to you. This frosting is kind of in the middle of a pipeable frosting and a glaze.
It’s not firm enough to hold a piping shape but it doesnt really drizzle either.
If you want to make it thicker to pipe, add another 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and add half the milk and vanilla. If you want to be able to drizzle this then use a little more milk to get to the desired consistency.
To frost I poured the icing into a sandwich zip top bag and snipped off the end, then went around the cake piping the lines over it.
What makes this cake so moist?
What keeps this cake moist is the combination of fats like butter and oil, and using buttermilk instead of regular milk!
- Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature so it’s not lumpy when you make the frosting
- Measure dry ingredients on parchment. It is super easy to fold and then pour into your mixing bowl versus trying to pour from a clunky bowl.
- Take some crumbs from the cake and sprinkle them over the frosting for a fun decoration.
- Top with sprinkles for kids birthdays!
How does your bundt cake slide out so easily? I have a whole post on that! Make sure to read how to get a bundt cake out of a pan easily.
Store this cake on the counter in an air tight container for up to 5 days. It can also be storied in the fridge but will run the risk of drying out.
To freeze double wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
More bundt cake recipes:
Fluffy & Moist Red Velvet Bundt Cake
For the cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs large
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 1/4 tbsp red food coloring water based
- 2 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
For the cream cheese frosting
- 1 cup cream cheese 8 oz bar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp heavy cream or milk
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the 1 cup unsalted butter and 2 cups of sugar. Mix on low- medium speed until light pale and fluffy looking. About 1 minute. Slowly add in the 1/4 cup oil and continue mixing until combined about 30 seconds.
- Add in the eggs one at a time on low speed. When they are fully mixed in add the 1 tbsp vanilla, the 1 teaspoon white vinegar, and the 1 1/4 tbsp red food coloring. Mix until combined then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all the food coloring is mixed in.
- In a medium sized bowl or on a large piece of parchment paper, combine the 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt.
- In a measuring cup, measure out 3/4 cup buttermilk and set aside.
- Turn the mixer on low and slowly add in 1/3 of the dry mixture. Mix for 30 seconds, then add in 1/2 the buttermilk. When combined add the next 1/3rd dry ingredients followed by the last half of the buttermilk. End with the last 1/3rd of the flour.
- Heavily spray a bundt pan with baking spray, fill with the batter and bake for 55-60 mins. The cake is done when the sides start to pull from the edges of the pan or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool for ten minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting
- You will need to wash out your hand or stand mixer for this. Combine the 1 cup cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter in the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed till thick and creamy. Stop the mixer and add the 3 1/2 confectioners sugar. Beat on the lowest speed until the mixture is combined. Add in the 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp milk and mix on medium high speed until super fluffy.
- Fill a zip top sandwich bad with frosting and drizzle it over the cooled cake.
Please let me know if you make this recipe! You can leave a star rating and a comment below, they help me so much! Thank you!!