The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake

The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake

You know how there are some recipes you go back to again and again, simply because you haven’t found a better one? Well, this chocolate cake recipe is one of those for me. It was one of the first recipes that I shared on Foolproof Living a year and a half ago.

Since then, I have made it so many times and received so many compliments each time I shared it with people, that I decided to update it with new photographs, notes, and more of a “Christmas look”.

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

First thing you need to know – and you can take my word for it – this cake is actually very easy to make. So long as you have a bundt pan, you are good to go. You do not need to have a fancy mixer or any other baking equipment to make it. Basically, you mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients, pour it into a bundt pan, and bake it. It is that easy. I am telling you this because last week as I was photographing it, I posted a picture of it on Instagram with a note saying, “This is a simple chocolate cake dressed up for Christmas.” Then, a couple of good friends joked about it, as they were skeptical of my definition of “simple”. But seriously, it may look fancy but it is really easy to make.

The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake

Secondly, I know some people who are nervous about getting cakes out of a bundt pan in one piece. Even though I have been there myself, I learned in time that as long as you generously butter and flour the pan, and wait for the cake to cool down to room temperature (or to a level where you can comfortably hold the pan with your hands without burning yourself), you are good to go. Oh, and also – you need to have a good recipe. But no worries, this recipe is 100% foolproof.

The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake

The reason why I choose to call this cake “The Ultimate” is because I have never ate or baked any other chocolate bundt cake that is as moist and as chocolate-y as this, without being overly sweet. It literally is the best chocolate to sugar ratio for a bundt cake.

The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake

In terms of the ingredients, they are just as simple as baking it. The only ingredient that you may not have on hand might be the Dutch processed cocoa. However, nowadays most supermarkets carry it. I have to say, for this recipe it is important that you do not substitute it with regular (unsweetened) cocoa. I have tried doing so and ended up with a cake that is less desirable. The amount of baking soda (a whopping 1½ teaspoons) being used in this recipe becomes noticeable with regular cocoa, resulting in a very tart and acidic taste.

The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake

I have no intentions of going into the details of the difference between regular cocoa powder and Dutch processed cocoa powder here. However, to understand why you need to use the latter version, all you need to know is that compared to regular cocoa powder, Dutch processed cocoa powder is stripped off all of its acids, and the somewhat extreme amount of baking soda used in this recipe compensates for the lack of acids.

Now I know what you are thinking, “Why don’t we use regular cocoa powder and omit the baking powder?”. Believe me, I tried it and it didn’t work. So, do yourself a favor, and stick to the Dutch processed cocoa for this cake.

The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake

The chocolate glaze in this recipe is one that I use every time I need to glaze anything with chocolate. I think what makes it so delicious is because of the addition of honey added to the chocolate. I don’t know why, but I love sweetening chocolate with honey instead of sugar. I think it deepens its flavor. This sauce is somewhat thick, but if you want a thinner (more pourable) chocolate sauce, simply increase the amount of heavy cream you use in the recipe.

The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake

Last but not least, since it is the holidays, for the updated recipe I wanted to dress it up for the season. I found a recipe for sugared cranberries in the December issue of Food Network magazine. Sugared cranberries gave it the red color, and a couple of tablespoons of pistachios I chopped roughly gave it the green color. They made it look perfectly dressed for the season.

The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake

One last note: Even though this is quite embarrassing to admit, when I look back at the first version of this cake that I posted in May of 2013 here, I can’t help but notice how far my photography has come since then. I almost wish I could take it down so that there wasn’t proof of my lack of skill, but alas, it is all a part of the journey.

The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake
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  • For the cake:
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) butter
  • 1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cacao
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup (12.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs – at room temperature
  • 4 ounces bitter sweet chocolate (60% cocoa)- finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pistachios, chopped coarsely
  • For the sugared cranberries (optional):
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 + 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, washed


  1. Position a rack in the center of your oven and pre-heat it to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  2. Combine butter, cacao powder, salt, and water in a saucepan, and heat it over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the butter is completely melted. Remove it from the heat, and let it cool for 15-20 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl whisk sour cream and vanilla until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking soda.
  5. Pour in the cacao powder and butter mixture into the dry ingredients in two batches, and whisk until they are all blended.
  6. Whisk in the eggs one by one making sure that they are fully incorporated into the mixture. Add in the sour cream and vanilla extract mixture. Whisk until smooth.
  7. Pour the batter into Bundt pan, and bake it for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool in the Bundt pan for half an hour before flipping it onto a cake platter.
  9. To make the glaze: Place the chocolate and honey in a bowl. Put the heavy cream and sugar in a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat until sugar is fully dissolved. Pour the warm cream and sugar mixture onto the chocolate and honey mixture and stir it until smooth and silky.
  10. Generously spoon the chocolate glaze over the cake.
  11. To make the sugared cranberries: Place 1/2 cup sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Pour the mixture over the cranberries. Allow it to cool for an hour and drain. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar on to a baking sheet. Roll the cranberries in sugar and let them dry for 4 hours.
  12. To decorate the cake for this Christmas Edition: Decorate the top of the cake with sugared cranberries and sprinkle it with pistachios.


Prep time: 20-30 min
Bake time: 45 min
Note: You can use the rest of the sugared cranberries to decorate cupcakes or add them in drinks as decoration.

Recipe for the chocolate bundt cake is adapted from Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food cookbook.
Recipe for the sugared cranberries is adapted from here.

The Ultimate Chocolate Bundt Cake

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  • Thalia @ butter and brioche - This bundt cake looks INCREDIBLE.. and so beautifully captured too. Pinned!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - This cake is absolutely gorgeous! Amazing job with the styling and the lighting.ReplyCancel

  • Claudia @ Homemade-with love - What a beautiful cake!! It looks so incredible and also the pictures are absolutely stunning! Can’t stop looking at it.ReplyCancel

  • Morgan @ Host the Toast - Saw this on Pinterest and had to come to comment. This looks absolutely decadent and so beautiful. Your photography and food styling is breathtaking.ReplyCancel

  • Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table - So clearly, I don’t think I need to say this is an absolutely mouth-watering cake. HOWEVER, what I must say is a huge THANK YOU for posting a link to your old version of this cake. It’s incredibly humbling and comforting for someone like me, who finds herself frustrated with her picture taking every day, to see how far someone as skilled as you has come in only a year and a half. It’s really re-assuring, so don’t be embarrassed to have it up! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Thank you so much Ksenia. I am literally blushing here reading this.
      I really appreciate your lovely comments.

  • Courtney - This cake is simply gorgeous! I love that you live in the Virgin Isles and are still able to blog and create recipes 🙂 I’m originally from Hawaii and was always worried if I moved back that it might be too difficult to blog because of the lack of goods that get shipped here. Thank you for being an inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Jane - This is on my list for Christmas this yr! May I ask, is the Dutch cocoa hard to find? And, what are the little green leaves you used to decorate with? Can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Hi Jane,
      I am so glad you liked this cake.
      I am not sure where you are living, but Dutch cocoa is not hard to find. If you can’t find it in a supermarket, I’d suggest you order it online. At least, that is what I do. Amazon sells it from several different vendors.
      The leaves are baby basil leaves (a kind that grows on the island we live on). I put them there to create contrast for the picture to look good. If you want to do the same, you can also use small mint leaves.
      Let me know if you have any other questions.
      Happy holidays to you and to your family.
      All the best..ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Hi, Ice! I just wanted to say that I made this bundt cake for Christmas dinner last night and it blew away my whole family! I loved making this cake and the presentation is just gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe–this is definitely a dessert I want to keep.ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Hi Kate, I am so happy to hear that your family loved it. It is my husband’s favorite too.
      Thank you for letting me know. Happy holidays from the sunny Caribbean..ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - Wow! What a delicious AND spectacular looking cake. It’s very moist with a rich, dark chocolate flavor. Oddly enough, it’s not too sweet as many cakes can be. My daughter Kate made it for our Christmas dessert, and it was a hit. Thank you for sharing this recipe.ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Hi Colleen, I am so glad you liked it. I, too, love the fact that it is not overly sweet and moist.
      🙂 Happy holidays to you and to your family. Thank you so much for letting me know.ReplyCancel

  • Megan - Wow!! This looks amazing! Hope you had a wonderful holiday, miss you guys!



    • Aysegul Sanford - Awww thank you Megan. I miss you too. We are having a very warm holiday season.. 🙂
      Love and Hugs from VG. Happy new year!ReplyCancel

  • Mirta Porley - Beautiful cake , a true work of art greetings from UruguayReplyCancel

  • Natalia - OMG, this looks wonderful! One of the most beautiful cake I have ever seen!ReplyCancel

  • Eva - I’ve read the instructions two or three times and I don’t see where you used the pistachios. In the cake or in the frosting?ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - No worries Eva.. I hope it turned out well..
      If you have any other questions, I am here to help. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Eva - Oops, never mind. It was right at the end. I knew I’d find it if I wrote a comment :(.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - Absolutely perfect, we wanted something really special for my mother’s 92nd birthday on December 7th…. She loves chocolate! We are going to Decorated the cake just as you have suggested.. What a great present! So excited!!!!!ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Hi Barbara,
      Oh what a great idea. Happy birthday to your mom. Many more and healthy years to come.
      I hope she will love this cake as much as we do.
      Cheers to 92!ReplyCancel

  • Anne Marie - What a beautiful cake! I’ve got the ingredients assembled and I’m planning to wow the family at Christmas with this gem. Thanks for the tip to add mint..I was wondering which edible pop of green to choose.ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Oh great to hear that you liked it Anne. You can also use basil for this. 🙂
      Happy holidays.XOXOReplyCancel

      • Anne Marie - I was thinking basil, but I prefer the flavor profile of mint, especially with the tart cranberries. I’ll let you know if it’s a hit…ReplyCancel

        • Anne Marie - It was a HUGE hit!!! And so beautiful. I added a touch of espresso powder to the glaze, but otherwise followed your recipe and styling exactly. Not too sweet, but chock full of flavor. My family keeps talking about it and I’m sure I’ll be revisiting this recipe soon. Thanks!ReplyCancel

          • Aysegul Sanford - I am so glad to hear that Anne Marie. It is a favorite in our house, too. Thank you SO much for letting me know. You made my day.

  • Cayla - Made this cake last night and I can’t wait to taste it! Thanks for sharing! Pics on Instagram @cayla_nReplyCancel

  • Tina - Thank you for this brilliant recipe. I made this for Christmas and it came up a treat ?ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - I am so glad to hear that it worked for you Tina. Thank you so much for letting me know.
      Happy new year!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - I found this cake via Pinterest and made it for our holiday meal. It was an absolute HIT. So lovely, and so delicious. And for those of you reading and feeling intimidated, she’s absolutely right, this cake is easy to make. You just need a bundt cake pan and the ingredients. Just take your time and you’ll end up with a wonderful cake! My new go-to holiday cake. Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Oh this is such a music to my ears. I am so glad to hear that it was a hit Elizabeth. Thank you so much for letting me know.
      Happy new year!ReplyCancel

  • Clara - Hi. I made The cake Today  but our invitation is tomorrow noon. Should I glaze tonite or tomorrow morning ? ReplyCancel

Hi There!

I am so glad you stopped by and I hope you are enjoying my adventures in cooking, photography, and life. 
I am Aysegul: the photographer, writer, designer, recipe creator, and dishwasher behind this blog. This website is a journal of my favorite seasonal, and healthy recipes. Click around and let me know if I can help in any way. 
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