The first cake I ever learned was a Easy Classic Vanilla Bundt cake, served with the sacred afternoon tea in Pakistan. It was also the first ever recipe I shared on Bake With Zoha when I started in 2022. I was worried it was too simple, but learned quickly that people want simple. That recipe was recreated and praised by hundreds, and it only made sense to bring it back - with some improvements.
This is my improved but still Easy Classic Vanilla Bundt cake recipe. I like to call it foolproof and extremely beginner friendly - the batter takes all of 10 minutes to make, with no complicated steps or fancy ingredients, and you can enjoy a delicious, soft cake within an hour. It is truly the perfect accompaniment to your morning, afternoon, or night time tea / coffee ritual; and incredible for hosting!
This recipe is designed to be ultra simple, and all ingredients are ones you should already have in your pantry / fridge:
- All purpose flour (or plain flour)
- Cornstarch (or corn flour, depending on where you live). Cornstarch has lower protein content than all purpose flour, and combined with all purpose flour creates something similar to cake flour, which results in a softer, more tender cake
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Neutral tasting oil; in my experience, Canola has been the best. Since oil is a liquid at room temperature, cakes made with oil tend to be more moist and softer, especially when refrigerated, as opposed to those made with butter
- Melted butter. I like to add both oil and butter as, while oil is great for moisture, butter has better flavor
- Eggs and egg white. My original recipe had 3 eggs, but I find that omitting 1 egg yolk helps reduce the "eggy" flavor while still giving the cake structure. If you don't want to add eggs, you can replace them with flax seed eggs in this recipe!
- Buttermilk. Don't fret if you don't have it, you can make it easily by mixing lemon juice or vinegar with milk. Buttermilk helps add moisture to the batter while also helping make it thinner
- Vanilla. I strongly recommend using a high quality vanilla bean paste or fresh vanilla beans, as they have much better and stronger flavor. Using lower quality or insufficient vanilla will result in a cake which tastes more like egg and sugar, and we don't want that!
HOW TO MAKE THIS CLASSIC VANILLA BUNDT CAKE
Just like the ingredients, the method is super easy, too! It takes less than 10 minutes and mostly comes together in one bowl. Let's watch a video walkthrough:
Here's what you will need to do:
1. Sift and mix dry ingredients
Before getting started, pre-heat your oven to 350F (conventional; no fan).
Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl, and whisk to combine. Do not skip this step - if you don't sift the dry ingredients, they will be lumpy and will cause a lumpy, dense batter.
I like to use this sifter with a built in mechanism which makes it much quicker to sift dry ingredients!
2. Whisk wet ingredients
In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar with the melted butter and oil for 1-2 minutes until the mixture changes color and becomes a bit lighter. You can do this with a hand whisk, or even use a blender!
Add the eggs and vanilla, and whisk again for 1-2 minutes until the mixture starts to become aerated / fluffy in texture.
3. Fold the dry ingredients and buttermilk into wet ingredients
Now, add a third of the buttermilk into the wet ingredients and gently whisk in. Follow this with a third of the dry ingredients, and gently fold with a rubber spatula until almost mixed in.
Repeat this process, with a third of the buttermilk followed by a third of the flour, until all ingredients have been mixed.
- Do not add both buttermilk and dry ingredients to the batter at the same time and then try to mix. The flour will immediately form lumps with the buttermilk
- Be gently when mixing in the dry ingredients, and do not be tempted to overmix, as that will cause gluten formation which will create a rubbery texture in the cake. I recommend using a rubber spatula for this step, like this one
- If you are in a rush, you can first whisk in all the buttermilk and then fold in the dry ingredients. Breaking this into 3 steps simply allows u1s to mix the ingredients without too much mixing
4. Prepare the Bundt pan
Now, Bundt pans can be quite tricky to properly line! We need to avoid the disaster where we are ready to serve cake but it refuses to come out of the pan in one piece.
How to properly line a Bundt pan
Ideally, your bundt pan is new and nonstick and you don't have to worry too much. But regardless, here's are some options which work best in my experience: generously brush butter or oil into your bundt pan with a pastry brush, taking care to get it into every crevice and corner so nothing sticks. Then, dust a generous coating of granulated sugar, and tap your pan in different directions to spread it evenly. Shake off any excess sugar.
Yes, the sugar does form a crust on the cake, but I actually quite like that! A lot of people suggest using flour instead, but I have had mixed results with flour.
Another option is to use baking spray (which is different from oil spray), like this one.
Now, just pour the cake batter into the bundt pan, and into the oven we go! This cake will take around ~30 minutes to bake up (or until a toothpick comes out clean). The exact time will vary depending on the size, shape and material of your bundt pan, so just keep an eye out and avoid getting the cake overbaked.
6. Serve and enjoy!
Let the cake cool inside the pan for 10 minutes, and then carefully turn it out onto your serving stand of choice. I like to dust the cake with powdered sugar before serving, as I find it creates a really beautiful look with basically no effort.
MY FAVORITE BUNDT PANS
Let's face it - Bundt pans are so fun! It's hard to pick one, with all the shapes and sizes. But here are some trusted ones I love:
- The exact pan I am using from Nordic Ware - this is a good option as it is under $20; however, it is NOT nonstick so you do need to take care with prepping the pan
- Nordic Ware brilliance pan - this is from their heavy duty gold line. These pans are beautifully shaped, heavy, sturdy, and really nonstick! So even though a bit more pricey ($35 right now), they're worth it. This shape also creates deep ridges which are great if you want to pour any kind of ganache or icing onto your cake
- Nordic Ware elegant pan - this is similar to the second option in quality, but has round ridges which also create a very fun look
- Braided rope bundt pan - this one is probably my favorite! It has an incredibly unique shape which makes your cake look beautiful without any effort on your part
This recipe can be altered in so many fun ways! 2 of my favorite are:
- Marble cake. At the end, divide the batter between 2 bowls, and sift in 2 tablespoon of cocoa powder in one half. Alternately spoon the batter into the bundt pan to create a marbled effect
- Orange cake. Instead of buttermilk, add fresh orange juice! This makes a delicious fresh orange cake
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you don't have buttermilk, you can make it yourself in no time! For every cup of buttermilk, simply mix 1 cup of whole milk with 2 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. The result should be a bit clumpy and thick, like the milk has separated.
If you don't consume eggs, you can substitute them in this recipe with flax seed eggs. 1 egg is replaced with 1 tablespoon or ground flax seed and 3 tablespoon of water. So for this recipe, you will need 2.5 tablespoon of ground flax seeds mixed with 7.5 tablespoon of water. Mix and refrigerate for 10 minutes until the mixture becomes gloopy. Follow the recipe as is.
The cake will taste eggy if you don't add enough vanilla, or good quality vanilla. For best results I suggest using vanilla bean paste! You can also brown your butter for a delicious aroma and flavor.
Yes! If you don't want to use a Bundt pan, you can bake this cake in a 9" round pan, or a 9x9" brownie pan. The baking time will be less, probably around 20-25 minutes.
If you enjoy this recipe, also check out:
- Simple moist chocolate cake
- Pecan upside down marble cake
- The best layered lemon cake with cream cheese frosting
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