Red velvet swirl bundt cake is a super moist chocolate bundt cake with a chocolate swirl inside. And the best part? It’s covered in the best cream cheese buttercream frosting!
Red Velvet Bundt Cake Recipe
There is just something special and spectacular about a bright and beautiful red velvet swirl bundt cake. Watching everyone’s face light up when they see this amazing dessert waiting to be devoured is a truly a sight to see.
Red velvet cake is traditionally a red, crimson or scarlet colored chocolate layer cake, layered with white cream cheese icing.
Common ingredients used include:
The red velvet swirl bundt cake is characterized by it’s gorgeous red coloring. Historically, the color was a result of a chemical reaction between buttermilk and cocoa powder, ingredients that were used at the time.
Nowadays, cocoa powder is generally processed differently and the chemical reaction cannot occur in the same way. This is is why you need food coloring to achieve the deep red color in the red velvet and chocolate cake.
Red Velvet Bundt Cake Origins
Interestingly, the origin of this wonderful dessert is unclear. The Adams Extract company considers themselves to be the first to market the “original” Red Velvet cake in the 1920s with their food coloring. You can still buy the mix from the company in its vintage packaging.
The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City also claims to be the birthplace of the Red Velvet cake, with it being included on their menu in the early 1950s.
In Canada, the cake was a popular dessert in the Eaton’s department store chain as early as the 1940s and was promoted as an exclusive Eaton’s recipe.
Velvet cake is also thought to originate in the Victorian era and was considered a fancy dessert.
The term “velvet” was used to let people know the dessert was a soft and velvety cake.
At about the same time the devil’s food cake was introduced. The difference between the two cakes is that devil’s food cake uses chocolate and red velvet cake uses cocoa, otherwise they are exactly the same.
For more information on the origins and history of this gorgeous cake you can have a look here at Wikipedia. They have an abundance of information there.
Red Velvet and Chocolate Cake
Red velvet chocolate cake and chocolate cake are the exact same thing with one exception: the color! Red velvet cake uses red food coloring and looks way more decadent and elegant, especially with cream cheese buttercream frosting!
With this recipe, or any other red velvet dessert, you are free to leave out the red food coloring and the only difference will be the color! The taste will still be incredible and unchanged!
This red velvet bundt cake is a pretty cake for the Christmas holiday season. It’s also the perfect color scheme for Valentine’s Day or Canada Day, too.
By adding some blue sprinkles, this is also a great cake for Independence Day. I saw a red velvet bundt cake decorated with blue sparkles, all over the frosting, and all I can say is WOW!
We happen to enjoy it all year long though, with or without the food coloring!
Using a small bowl, combine the oil, shortening and flour together. Using your hand mixer, or even a fork, blend until the mixture looks smooth and creamy. Using a spatula, scrape out the bowl and place in a jar or a container with a lid.
This cream is like GOLD and can be stored literally anywhere! On a shelf this stuff keeps for about 2 or 3 months but in a fridge so much longer!
Using paper towel or a pastry brush, generously coat the inside of any pan you are using for your baking, getting into every nook and cranny, and you will thank me and never use anything else again. I am serious and urge you to give it a try.
You will definitely thank me just like I thanked the person that showed me. Hopefully you can take a moment and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. I would love to hear!
Do you need to add red food coloring?
Well, yes. In order to make it look truly like a Red Velvet Bundt Cake that is bright red, you must add food coloring or gel.
You can also use something like beetroot or beet powder, feel free to try it but you won’t likely get the bright red you are looking for and it will likely affect the taste somewhat.
That being said, you can also skip the coloring all together and just enjoy an amazing chocolate bundt cake!
The only way to make your Red Velvet Cake bright red is with red food coloring, liquid or gel.
I used to believe that making anything red velvet meant adding in unnecessary chemicals and and food coloring. That it was not a healthy addition and ultimately unnecessary because the dessert always tasted great. It just wasn’t red.
Now, there are so many different options out there, especially all natural ones, and I regularly make desserts like this one without a single concern! My other favorites are our Red Velvet Fudge and these Red Velvet Cookie Bars which you might just want to have a look at!
The bottles of liquid food coloring that I used for this recipe will work but not as well as gel food coloring. Instead of a couple tablespoons of liquid food coloring you only need a drop or two of the gel but both will usually work.
At times, the cheaper varieties of liquid food coloring can make the cake look like more of a brownish red color than the bright red most of us are looking for in a baked red velvet good.
A great selection of gel based food coloring or just one set of four colors are the best way to go. If you just want one red one have a look here. If I wasn’t out I would have used the gel to film this cake. I find the gel works better overall for the best red color and you use less.
Tips For Making the Best Red Velvet Cake
- add your food coloring or gel to your wet ingredients, and then blend with your dry ingredients which will guarantee that the color is evenly distributed throughout the batter
- if you are out of buttermilk just combine a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar with 1 cup of 2% or whole or 3% milk and allow to sit for 5-7 minutes
- try not to over mix your ingredients and just use a wooden spoon to add the final amount of flour to the batter to avoid a dense cake
- only fill your bundt pan until it is between 2/3 and 3/4 full or your cake will likely overflow
- when baking, try and only use ingredients that are at room temperature. I remove eggs and buttermilk, once I decide I am making this wonderful cake first, and then get everything else measured etc. Your batter will be properly blended and your cake will not be dense
- allow the cake to totally cool down in the pan and then turn on to a rack or a lightly sugared serving plate
- there are so many cool and different kinds of bundt pans on the market today. You need to consider how to decorate your cake so you are not covering the shape totally up with icing or frosting. Instead consider drizzling the icing or sprinkling some icing or powdered sugar all over the cake. My friend actually makes icing or frosting and places it into a resealable bag and serves some icing on each plate for people to dip the cake into. Sounds strange but does it ever work well. I couldn’t believe it either.
Red Velvet Bundt Cake
I have used a 13×9 inch cake pan to make this recipe and loved every bite. I mean it is a fabulous chocolate cake after all! That being said, once I made this cake in a bundt pan I was convinced that using a bundt pan was the only way to go!
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 center and they come in many different designs.
The fact that there is a funnel in the center 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. It makes the cake firmer but the mixture needs to be perfect so the cake doesn’t get dense or dry out.
The cake just looks so much better in a bundt pan, even though my husband reminds me that it tastes exactly the same. He is correct, I will give him that, but the cake looks incredible if made in a bundt pan and that just makes it taste better…in my opinion.
That might sound ridiculous to so many of you but I believe it is kind of true, in a way. The fancier the cake looks the better it tastes. My grandmother used to say it and I believed her while growing up. Guess what? I still do!
What’s the BEST kind of Bundt Cake pan to buy?
You are always smart to buy a nonstick cake pan of any shape or size, there are so many now out there for you to choose from! You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a pan but I wouldn’t buy the cheapest out there either!
I like this Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Nonstick Bakeware Fluted Cake Pan and this Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Heritage Bundt Pan I bought recently because I loved the shape. Different and definitely spectacular looking!
There are so many to choose from that are perfect for everything, all holidays and every occasion you can think of. Some are so amazing you hate to start to decorate them!
If you have a minute, have a look at this Nordic Ware Blossom Bundt Pan and this Nordic Ware Brilliance Bundt Pan. Both would create such an amazing looking bundt cake that you might not want to even slice it.
There are so many more different shapes to choose from, it’s just amazing. I won’t bore you with showing you any more of them. I am sure you can search for them yourself if you are interested in checking them out.
Ingredients in a Marble Bundt Cake
- vegetable oil
- red food coloring
- baking soda
- cocoa powder
Cream Cheese Frosting
- cream cheese
- powdered sugar
Cream Cheese Swirl (optional)
- cream cheese
- sparkles or sprinkles
- chocolate chips or chunks throughout the cake
How to make Red Velvet Swirl Bundt Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your bundt pan with shortening and flour. You can use baking spray but I feel the shortening with flour does the trick.
In a medium sized bowl, beat together sugar, oil, buttermilk, and eggs until smooth. Next, add flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder and beat again until smooth. At this point you want to scoop out around 2 cups and put aside (This must be done BEFORE adding in the red food coloring). Beat again.
Start pouring both portions of your batter in the prepared pan, a little at a time, making a messy, layered look. Consider adding some chocolate chips or chunks at this time for an even more delicious chocolate flavor. Imagine how nice white chocolate would look inside, just amazing! For the cream cheese swirl, see below.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Once cooked, cool for 10 minutes in your pan before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.
Bundt Cake Cream Cheese Frosting
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth.
Pour out over your cake, and shake gently from side to side to ensure the glaze drips down.
Let’s talk about the frosting for this Red Velvet Bundt Cake for a minute. We call it “glaze” because It’s very difficult to ice a bundt cake and have an even amount of frosting in each slice, so we call it “glaze” and it drizzles over the sides in thick layers.
Add some sparkles or sprinkles on top of the frosting to make it look even more incredible.
Slice and enjoy!
Cream Cheese Swirl Cake Technique
Red Velvet Cream Cheese Filling Recipe
In a medium bowl or stand mixer, combine cream cheese, egg, vanilla and sugar until smooth.
Add roughly half of your cake batter in the prepared pan.
Follow that with spoonfuls of your cream cheese mixture, all around the bundt pan, in the center of the chocolate batter as much as you possibly can. Be careful not to get it on the sides of the pan.
Finally, add the remaining cake batter on top of the cream cheese mixture and spread out as evenly as possible.
I usually use a spatula to scoop portions of the remaining batter all over the cream cheese mixture and then try and flatten the chocolate batter out as best you can. Don’t stress about it just do your best.
How do you serve and store a Red Velvet Swirl Bundt Cake
Once you put icing or frosting on your cake you will need to store it in your refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. To serve your cake simply remove it from your fridge about 30 minutes before you want to serve it to remove the chill from the cake, if desired.
Can you freeze a Red Velvet Cake?
Yes it can but ideally, without the frosting already on it, regardless, however, the cake will freeze well. To freeze, just wrap the cake in parchment or plastic wrap and then tinfoil or into an airtight container for up to three months.
For the record I find parchment paper does not stick to and protects the cake better, with and without frosting.
Can you make this Red Velvet Bundt Cake ahead?
You sure can make this cake up to 2 days ahead of time and store it in your fridge. I usually will make a cake or two and store them in my freezer until needed.
Then, I remove the cake from the freezer the morning of the day that I need it. I allow it to defrost, prepare my frosting, decorate it and it’s ready to be served.
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Red Velvet Swirl Bundt Cake Video
Red Velvet Swirl Bundt Cake
- bundt pan
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring or a few drops of gel
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
Buttercream Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz cream cheese - softened or 1/2 brick
- 1/4 cup butter or 1/2 stick
- 2 cups powdered or icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon milk
Cream Cheese Swirl (optional)
- 1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened or 1 brick
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup
- sparkles or sprinkles
- chocolate chips or chunks throughout the cake, think white chocolate, it looks terrific too!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a bundt pan ideally with shortening and flour. You can use cooking spray but the flour/shortening route is much more preferable. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, sugar and oil. Beat until smooth
- Add baking soda, salt and cocoa powder and beat again
- Scoop out 2 cups and put aside, Add the red food color and continue beating.
Dark Chocolate and Red Swirl
- Using a little at a time, pour the batter from the separated portions into the prepared bundt pan. If you're including chocolate chips or chunks (just imagine white chocolate) add them at this point. If you want a cream cheese swirl, see down below for the instructions.
- Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean when you poke the cake.
- Cool for 10 minutes and then turn onto a sugared plate. Let cool completely.
Buttercream Cream Cheese Frosting
- Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, milk and powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
- Pour frosting over the cake and gently shake from side to side to make the icing drizzle down the sides.
- Slice and enjoy!
Cream Cheese Swirl (optional)
- In a medium bowl, or stand mixer, combine cream cheese, egg, vanilla and sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add roughly half of the cake batter into your prepared bundt pan.
- Next, being careful not to touch the sides of the pan, scoop spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture in the center of the chocolate batter.
- To finish the swirled cake off. Add the remaining batter over the cream cheese layer and smooth out as much as possible. A spatula is great for doing this.
How do you prevent your cake from sticking to the bundt pan?Bundt cakes have been known for sticking to the inside of the pan they're baked in. Non stick pans do work but over time they become much less reliable. The use of shortening and then flour, (NOT butter) will reduce the possibility of damage to your cake while removing it from the pan. Butter can be known to make the cake stick to the bundt pan. One of my favorite products is Wilton’s Cake Release. If you want to buy 2 at a time like I do, have a look here. This product is incredible and so helpful to have around your kitchen. You can also easily make your own non-stick product by adding equal parts all purpose flour, vegetable shortening and vegetable oil. You don't even need to make a big batch. For example, in this recipe, a few tablespoons of each ingredient, blended together and you will likely have only a little leftover, if any. To make your own, in a small bowl, combine all ingredients together and blend with your hand mixer, until it looks smooth and creamy . Regardless, by thoroughly greasing and then flouring your pan you will eliminate any possibility of the cake sticking. Once blended and using a spatula, scrape out the content into a jar or container with a lid.