This Red Velvet Bundt Cake with its rich cream cheese filling is the Christmas cake recipe of your dreams. Delight your guests with this fun, easy to make and totally delicious cake.
Last Christmas (I think, because time flies by way too fast doesn’t it?) I received a gorgeous bundt pan that I’ve been wanting to use ever since. I did make a lovely orange cake in it but that one still needs some work but when I decided to create this Red Velvet Bundt Cake, I knew this was the tin I had to use. The shape is just so striking and this cake is striking too so they’re a match made in heaven.
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A bundt cake is not so much a type of cake but instead the name of the tin it is baked in – it’s a round cake tin, with a funnel in the centre and they come in many different designs. The tin I used for this recipe is a Heritage Nordicware Bundt tin but you can use any shape. For my previous Chocolate Bundt Cake I used this fluted bundt tin which is also lovely. There are so many different shapes out there and I need to be careful in case I develop some kind of bundt tin collecting obsession.
The fact that there is a funnel in the centre of the cake tin means that more of the cake is touching the sides of the tin where it is hottest. This means you get a firm crust all over the cake, rather than just around the outside edge. This makes the cake firmer so the mixture needs to be perfect so the cake doesn’t get dense or dry out.
What is red velvet cake made of?
Red velvet cake is made using a combination of unsweetened cocoa, vanilla and normally buttermilk. When they were first created, the acid in the buttermilk combined with the cocoa to create a lovely red colour. These days, the red colour is intensified by using red food colouring making it indeed a very red cake. I love using gel food colouring normally as you don’t need quite so much as a liquid food colouring but both will work fine.
For a long time, I steered clear of red velvet cake because something about adding so much food colouring seemed too unnatural. Nowadays there are many food colouring options available from the good old standard grocery store type to beet powder. The gel I use is Americolor brand and all natural so I don’t feel so bad about using it to turn this cake bright red.
Lets get baking
The cream cheese filling itself is incredibly simple. Just 5 ingredients beaten together until well mixed.
The batter is fairly simple – just the standard ingredients like flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda, sugar, eggs, butter. You know, all the usual suspects. This cake uses buttermilk for it’s liquid component. I use buttermilk regularly in cakes. It adds the slightest tang and helps to keep the cake fluffy and light. In this cake, the buttermilk really compliments the cream cheese filling too.
Two thirds of the cake batter is spread into the base of the bundt tin first, then topped with the cheesecake filling and the remaining cake batter. When you put the cream cheese filling in, just make sure to leave a clear line of cake batter all around the edge, this will ensure your surprise centre stays a surprise and stays in the centre 🙂
The cake is baked for around 45 minutes and then left to cool in the tin. Cooling it in the tin will allow it pop out of the bundt tin easily and stay in one piece. If you try to demould while it’s still hot, you could have a literal hot mess on your hands.
My Red Velvet Bundt Cake is finished with a light vanilla glaze poured over the top. You can choose the consistency you prefer as long as you can pour it as you won’t be able to spread a glaze over this cake due to it’s shape. If the icing is too thick add just a touch of water at a time, if it is too thin add a little more sugar to thicken it. You can also pour this on in stages, by waiting for one layer to set a little before pouring another layer over the top.
With the rich cream cheese filing this red velvet cake doesn’t need a thick layer of icing.
Yes, you could make this cake 1-2 days ahead and store it in the fridge in an airtight container until you’re ready.
Once baked, store the cake in the fridge for up to 4-5 days in an airtight container (if it lasts that long).
For me this is the perfect Christmas cake recipe. It’s bright and fun and filled with rich flavour. It’s also really striking and just stunning sitting in the middle of your Christmas desserts table. It’s also one of the most quickly devoured cakes I’ve ever made.
Red Velvet Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling
For the cream cheese filling
- 250 g (9oz) cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup (50g / 1.8oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup light sour cream
For the red velvet bundt cake
- 2 1/4 cups (295g / 10.4oz) plain (all purp )flour
- 1/4 cup (27g / 2oz) unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking (bicarb) soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (200g / 7oz) white granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 113 g (1 stick / 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon red gel food colouring (notes)
For the icing
- 1 cup (130g / 1oz) icing (powdered / confectioners) sugar
- 2 teaspoons cream
- 1/2 teaspoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced.
- For the cream cheese filling
- Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. 2-3 minutes should do it. Add the egg and beat well. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix through until incorporated. Set aside.
For the red velvet bundt cake
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the sugar and mix it well.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter until well mixed. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Add the vanilla and food colouring and mix through.
- Spray a bundt tin well with spray oil, then tip 2/3 of the cake batter in. Spread evenly around the base. Now spoon in the cheesecake mixture just around the middle of the cake batter but pile it up a bit so it doesn't spread to the edges (leave about 1-2cm of cake batter visible around the outside and middle edges). Top with the remaining cake batter, making sure to cover all of the cheesecake filling. This is best done a spoonful at a time, draping each spoon of batter over the cheesecake centre.
- Bake for around 45 minutes, turning the tin half way through, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the tin then transfer to a cake plate
For the icing
- Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and drizzle over the cooled cake.
- For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
- I use gel food colourings which are much more concentrated than liquid types and generally purchased either online or directly from specialty cake decorating shops. If you prefer to use liquid food colouring, which are more readily available (from grocery stores) you may need to use more than stated in the recipe but just get the batter nice and red.
- If you have a good quality non-stick bundt tin, then a simple spray of oil (make sure it's a brand that won't damage the non-stick surface) all around the inside right before you pour in the batter is all you need. If your tin is a little older then the best method is to grease it really well and then flour then inside as well.
Tools used in this recipe
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