This recipe yields a beautiful golden vanilla Bundt Cake Recipe. Sweet, dense, soft, and golden brown with a simple buttery vanilla glaze, you’re going to love this classic recipe. Includes a how-to video!
A sweet, simple, and unfussy recipe for the perfect vanilla bundt cake. A good bundt cake recipe has been missing from my library for far too long, so after lots and lots (and I mean lots) of testing, I finally have a solid version that I’m proud to share with you.
What IS a Bundt Cake?
A bundt cake is simply a cake that’s baked in a bundt pan. That’s literally all there is to it. A vanilla cake can be a bundt cake, and so can a pound cake or carrot cake, so long as you bake it in the right tin. However, while that might be the technical definition, in my house we take bundt cake seriously (which is why it took over two dozen attempts to get this recipe perfect).
If you ask me, a good bundt cake should be:
- Soft, but sturdy.
- More dense than your average cake recipe, but not as dense as a pound cake.
- Sweet and buttery, but not too sweet and certainly not greasy.
- Beautiful golden brown on the outside.
I actually developed this recipe a while ago but have been holding on to it (it always takes me a while to get the photos to a point where I’m happy with them). If it seems familiar, it’s because I reduced this exact recipe to make the sturdy, soft, and stackable bases for my petit fours.
What’s the Difference in a Pound Cake and a Bundt Cake?
As I mentioned above, any cake can be a bundt cake, so long as it is baked in a bundt pan. Pound cakes are a little bit different. Pound cakes are traditionally dense and were originally made with a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Recipes these days have varied a bit from the original, but are still heavy and very butter-heavy. If you’re looking for a great, buttery, dense and soft recipe, make sure to check out my pound cake recipe! It’s gotten rave reviews and even won a few bake-offs!
That being said, if you bake your pound cake in a bundt cake pan, it’s technically a bundt cake, too, so the lines do get a bit blurry.
A few basic kitchen staples are all you need to make this perfect vanilla bundt cake:
- Butter. As usual, I recommend using unsalted butter and adding salt, but check the link for substituting if you only have salted on hand!
- Cream cheese. My secret weapon for the BEST bundt cake! This ingredient makes the cake extra soft and adds a beautiful depth of flavor (it’s also the secret ingredient in my coffee cake!). Use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese, not the spreadable kind sold in tubs.
- Sugar. I use all granulated sugar in this cake.
- Eggs. 6 eggs may seem like a lot, but it’s half the number that I use in my classic pound cake. The eggs are critical to the structure, moisture, and flavor of the cake, so unfortunately I do not have any advice on making this recipe egg-free.
- Flour. It is important that you use all-purpose flour and not self-rising for this recipe, or your cake will overflow in your oven. Another critical note to make sure your cake isn’t dry: measure your flour properly.
- Salt & Vanilla extract. For flavor, of course.
- Baking powder. This ingredient gives the cake a bit of lift and keeps it from being as dense as my pound cake. So does our next ingredient…
- Milk tenderizes the cake and also keeps it from being too heavy.
You’ll also need powdered sugar and a bit more butter, vanilla, and milk to make the glaze for the top. I talk more about the glaze I chose a bit further on below.
These ingredients combined with your mixer make for a beautiful, smooth, and velvety batter.
How to Grease a Bundt Pan
Arguably the most important step of making a bundt cake is greasing the pan properly, as failing to do so means you’re doomed before your cake’s even in the oven. It’s critical that you get this right, and the more intricate your pan is the tricker this will be. You have a few options to ensure a clean, easy release:
- Grease and flour. This is my preferred method and I demonstrate exactly how I prep my pans in the video in the recipe card. Thoroughly coat the entire inside of the pan with a thin but even layer of shortening. Add several spoonfuls of flour into the pan then tilt and turn until all of the shortening is covered with flour. Tap the pan against your sink to knock out any excess flour so there’s just a fine coating over the grease.
- Baking spray! This is not the same as cooking spray and is made with flour. The flour in the spray is critical and must be listed on the can or in the ingredients for a bundt cake that doesn’t stick. Spray the entire interior of the pan evenly, then I like to use a plastic baggie over my hand (I prefer this to a paper towel as the towel absorbs some of the spray) to make sure the spray is evenly distributed.
- Some people also make their own cake release, or “goop”, I’ve never done this, but after hearing so many rave reviews I really think I need to try it myself.
No matter how you prep your pan, once the cake is finished I recommend using a butter knife to gently (you don’t want to scrape the sides of your pan) loosen the edges and the center, just for extra security. My sister and I made about 25 bundt cakes trying to get this recipe perfected, and we only had one stick (and, in true older-sister form, I blame my sister for that 😉).
No bundt cake is complete without a pretty, delicate dripping of glaze. I used a simple vanilla glaze that can be colored if you choose (another easy decorating tip: scatter sprinkles over the glaze while it’s still wet!). My glaze is similar to classics you’re probably used to, made by whisking together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk, only I also like to add a bit of melted butter to make it a bit richer and reminiscent of buttercream.
It’s foolproof: accidentally make it too thick and you can thin it with milk. Too thin and you can thicken with powdered sugar.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container (or wrap it with plastic wrap) for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend refrigerating, as the fridge will dry it out. You may also freeze, just wrap well (I usually double wrap, first with plastic wrap and then with foil) for up to two months.
More Recipes To Try:
Let’s bake together! Don’t forget to watch the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (226g)
- 6 oz cream cheese use the kind sold in bricks, not the spreadable kind sold in tubs softened (170g)
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar 500g
- 6 large eggs room temperature preferred
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (375g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup whole milk (78ml)
- 2 cups powdered sugar AKA Icing sugar, (250g)
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter salted or unsalted will work
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-3 Tablespoons milk plus more as needed
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and very thoroughly grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan (be sure to tap/shake out excess flour).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, combine butter, cream cheese, and sugar and beat on medium-speed until well-combined and batter is lightened in color.
- Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition (about 10 seconds on medium-speed after each addition). Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and stir in vanilla extract. Mixture should be very smooth, light, and creamy when finished.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- With mixer on low-speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and milk mixture to the butter batter, starting and ending with the flour mixture (I usually add the flour in 3 parts and the milk in 2). Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake on 350F (175C) for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean or (preferably) with a few moist crumbs. If you have a lighter-colored bundt pan, it may take longer in the oven.
- Allow to cool for 15-30 minutes then carefully invert onto cooling rack to cool completely before covering with glaze.
- Prepare glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until consistency is thin enough that it falls in ribbons off of whisk but holds its shape for several seconds before melting back into the bowl.
- Drizzle over cooled pound cake, allow glaze to set for 30-60 minutes (this may be faster or longer, depending on the precise thickness of your glaze) and then dig in!