Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake: simple pleasure

"Year

 

Welcome to King Arthur Flour’s Year of the Bundt! We’re celebrating this classic American dessert with a variety of recipes throughout the year. This month, we’re kicking off summer with a cake that’s tasty enough to stand on its own, but is also the perfect complement for fresh berries of all kinds: Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake.

Anyone can love chocolate. But to have a die-for, fall-down-in-a-swoon relationship with vanilla, you have to possess serious taste-bud cred.

I mean, chocolate is in your face right from the start. Picture a dark chocolate cake, its rich crumb tinged with the slightest hint of deep crimson — ah, devil’s food… The lavish layer of satiny chocolate frosting on top and sides completes a very compelling picture.

Now picture a vanilla cake.

Um…

That’s right. For many, vanilla is simply the absence of chocolate — or any other flavor. Far too few people appreciate the subtle flavor and aroma of vanilla: absolutely ubiquitous in every baker’s kitchen, yet seldom celebrated.

We aim to change all of that with this, the newest selection in our ongoing Year of the Bundt celebration. Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake is your grandma’s Sunday pound cake, your traditional birthday cake, and perhaps even an element of your favorite boxed cake mix — all rolled into one tasty Bundt.

Quintessentially vanilla, it’s a nostalgic favorite. Just as the sight of a vintage Cadillac roadster purring down the street makes you smile, so will this elegant (yet SO approachable) cake.

Join the celebration: Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake marks another milestone in the #yearofthebundt. Click To Tweet

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake, step by step

Are you ready to make this cake? Let’s take it step by step.

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

First things first. Having your eggs and butter at room temperature will make it easier to create a smooth, lump-free batter. It’s best to take both out of the fridge several hours before you start baking.

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

If you’ve forgotten to do that, though, you can easily warm cold eggs by placing them in a bowl of hot tap water for about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Gather these ingredients:

24 tablespoons (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
3/4 cup milk

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflourBeat (“cream”) the butter and sugar

Place the butter in a bowl, and beat until it’s softened and coats the sides of the bowl. Scrape the butter back to the center of the bowl.

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Beat in the sugar gradually. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl once all the sugar is added; beat again briefly, to incorporate any sticky residue. This technique is called “creaming;” for more information on the best way to do it, check out our creaming butter and sugar blog post.

Add the baking powder and salt, mixing just to combine.

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflourAdd the eggs

With the mixer running at medium speed, add the first three eggs to the butter/sugar mixture one at a time. Wait until each egg is absorbed into the mixture before adding the next.

Weigh out the flour, or measure it by gently spooning it into a measuring cup, sweeping off any excess with the back of a table knife.

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Add 2 tablespoons of the measured flour to the bowl after the third egg, and mix until combined. Add the fourth egg, mix until absorbed, then mix in another 2 tablespoons of flour. Continue in this fashion with the fifth and sixth eggs, alternating the addition of the egg with 2 tablespoons of the flour from the recipe.

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Stir the vanilla (or vanilla bean paste) and almond extract into the milk.

Add the flour alternately with the milk

Add one-third of the remaining flour to the batter, beating gently to combine. Gently beat in half the milk; then another third of the flour; then the remaining milk. Beat in the final third of flour. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat again, to incorporate any residue.

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

The batter should be thick and smooth, with perhaps a few small lumps.

Prepare a Bundt pan

Thoroughly grease a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan, using non-stick vegetable oil spray or shortening (not butter; butter tends to increase sticking). Since baking a perfectly intact Bundt cake can be tricky, we highly recommend you read our blog post, How to prevent Bundt cakes from sticking, before preparing your pan.

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflourFill the pan

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan … 

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour  … and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake the cake

Bake the cake for 45 to 60 minutes, until it’s starting to brown, appears set on top, and a toothpick or long skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. If the cake appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with foil for the final 15 minutes of baking.

Remove the cake from the oven, and gently loosen its edges using a heatproof spatula. Turn the pan over onto a cooling rack. After 10 minutes, lift the pan off the cake, and allow it to cool completely.

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Garnish and serve

Just before serving, sift a shower of confectioners’ sugar over the top, if desired. Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

The cake is delicious all on its own, though a garnish of fresh berries wouldn’t be amiss.

Baking gluten-free?

Want to make this cake gluten-free? Our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour makes it easy to make many of your favorite traditional recipes (like this one) gluten-free. Simply substitute Measure for Measure flour 1:1 for the flour in this recipe; no additional ingredients or other changes are necessary.

High-altitude adjustments

If you’re up in the mountains, you may want to adjust this recipe for optimal results. See our high-altitude baking tips.

Reduce the sugar

Looking to bake a reduced-sugar cake? Try lowering the sugar in this recipe by 1/4 cup (to a total of 1 1/4 cups). The taste will be less sweet, of course; but the reduced presence of sugar also allows the flavor of the butter to shine through. We recommend making this cake lower-sugar if you plan on frosting or glazing it.

Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake via @kingarthurflour

Speaking of glaze —

Add another layer of flavor with a clear vanilla glaze. About 10 minutes before the cake is done, stir together 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 5 teaspoons water, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Heat briefly, just to dissolve the sugar; a microwave works fine. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Once you’ve turned the cake out of the pan onto a rack to cool, gently brush it all over with the glaze.

Looking for additional Bundt cake tips, techniques, and recipes? See our Complete Guide: Bundt Cakes. And find links to additional specially selected Bundt recipes and blog posts on our Year of the Bundt page.

Thanks to fellow employee-owner Julia Reed for taking most of the photos for this post.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Margo Haynes

    I have been diagnosed with Diabetes 2, since it is under a 2 cup listing, is it possible to substitute Splenda in this recipe for the Sugar?
    Thank you
    Margo

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We haven’t tested it Margo, but you’re welcome to experiment! Just be sure to use the conversion recommendations on the Splenda bag or website. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      6 was the amount we found most successful for this recipe, Emily. You’re of course welcome to experiment with using less though you may find your finished cake to be denser than desired. Annabelle@KAF

  2. Pat Schwanhausser

    What is the internal temperature of this cake when done? Also, what is the temperature of the butter when it is optimum for creaming?

    Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Pat, internal temperature isn’t a great way to judge the doneness of cakes. Rather we encourage you to go more by appearance and touch. The cake should pull away from the sides of the pan slightly and should be slightly springy to the touch. When a toothpick or long skewer is inserted into the cake, it should come out clean. The temperature is typically around 210°F, but we recommend looking for these other cues as well. As for the butter, in this cake it should be slightly more firm that you might be used to with some other cakes, but still room temperature: between 65°F and 70°F is about right. We hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  3. Margaret Njang

    I thought when you say gluten free is without butter and suger free. As a diabetic how do I go about making a cake and bread to eat without sugar and butter? Thanks

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’d be happy to provide some clarification here, Margaret. “A gluten-free diet does not include the grains wheat, barley, rye, or hybrids of these grains. This includes all varieties and forms of these grains, such as spelt (a type of wheat) and malt (made from barley),” which is a succinct definition from this source.

      If you’re interested in reducing the sugar in cakes and breads, you might want to take a look at our blog posts about reducing the sugar in baking. As for butter alternatives, you can use a non-dairy butter replacement like Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, or in some cases you can use other fats like coconut oil. Feel free to give our Baker’s Hotline a call (855-371-2253) if you’d like to talk about specific recipes and adjustments. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  4. Denise in Claremont

    I used this recipe as the basis for an apricot bundt cake this past weekend. I had a bunch of dried apricots i was afraid were getting oxodized and I hate to throw away perfectly good food. I cut up into bits about 100 grams (1/2 c .) of dried apricots and folded them in at the end. I also followed the advice of other bakers and used only 3eggs, plus cream and milk to make up for the missing fat. Rather than almond extract, I used the equivalent amount of fiori di Sicilia extract. The results were a lovely, tender, moist cake with a beautiful apricot/citrus flavor. And it smelled divine when it was in the oven! Thanks to KAF and all my fellow bakers who added comments on this recipe.

    Reply
  5. sandy

    I found the information on adding glaze here very helpful and timely. I baked layers of butter cake for a party last weekend. I needed one layer for the bottom of a strawberry charlotte I was taking to a party but the day before we had one of the layers for dessert. The layer seemed a little dry. I used the idea of the glaze (reduced the vanilla) for the cake to go in the charlotte. It worked out very well…. not dry. I wasn’t sure how much to brush on so I used less than the full amount listed in the above recipe.

    Reply
  6. Shauna E.

    When it comes to beating in the flour, is a hand mixer gentle enough, or should it be by hand?

    Thanks!
    Shauna

    Reply

Leave a Reply to sandy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *