Spectacular Red Velvet Cake (From a Mix) for the Holidays

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This red velvet cake is beautiful, delicious, and ridiculously easy to make (because it starts with a cake mix)! Best of all, you can make it, freeze it, and pull it out when you need it!

My “Cake Mix Magic” Red Velvet Cake:

This red velvet bundt cake is made with a cake mix plus a few simple ingredients I use to turn any cake mix into a fabulous homemade creation. Once you make a cake or two using the “cake mix magic” method, you will never turn back! For this spectacular red velvet cake, I start with a butter golden cake mix to which I add cocoa and red food coloring.

What Is A Red Velvet Cake?

Red Velvet cake is a Southern classic and is often served around the holidays It is a traditionally crimson-colored chocolate layer cake with cream cheese icing. Red velvet cake’s signature tang comes from vinegar and buttermilk. My recipe uses sour cream instead of buttermilk, and I also omit vinegar. Additionally,  recipes almost always call for natural cocoa to enhance its red color.

How To Make A Cream Cheese Glaze:

I make my cream cheese glaze for red velvet Bundt Cake thicker than my typical glaze. This glaze is a cross between an icing and a glaze. I chose a thicker version of glaze so that it will taste more like a traditional red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Also, a thicker glaze will “sit” on top of the cake and be prettier than a thin glaze that melts into the cake.

How To Garnish A Red Velvet Bundt Cake: 

While this Red Velvet Bundt Cake is beautiful with just a cream cheese glaze, adding a few garnishes makes it a true show-stopper! If I am serving this cake for a holiday or just want to make it extra-special, I will add some garnish to send it over the top. I love to garnish this cake with crushed peppermint and sugared cranberries, but elegant gold or silver candles also add a festive touch! 

Can You Make This Red Velvet Bundt Cake In Layers?

You can use cake pans instead of a bundt pan to make a red velvet layer cake. The most common size cake layer pans are 8″ or 9.” I actually have 6″ cake layer pans that I love, as they make a slim, tall cake that looks stunning on a cake plate. Below are links to my favorite cake pans.

How Do You Make A Box Cake Taste Like A Bakery Cake? 

A box cake mix can be “doctored” with certain ingredients that make it moist, delicious, and “from scratch” tasting every time. My method of doctoring is basically the same for every cake mix, with a few tweaks based on the flavor of the cake.

What Ingredients Do You Add To A Cake Mix To Make It Taste Homemade? 

  • 1 box cake mix 
  • 1 (3.9 oz) box of instant pudding mix
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 c. sour cream

Can I Use The “Cake Mix Magic” Method On Other Flavors?

With my “cake magic” method, the possibilities are many! One of the most amazing cake mix magic cakes that I make is the white cake with buttercream frosting (link to recipe below). It is my Easter cake every year; folks rave over it. My favorite bundt cakes are made with devil’s food, strawberry, and lemon cake mixes. The cake mix magic method works with any flavor you choose; feel free to experiment.

I’ll link to some of my favorites below, along with a few ways that I like to serve them.

red velvet cake

Red Velvet Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze


  • CAKE
  • 1 box yellow or butter golden cake mix
  • 1 (3.5) oz vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 bottle red food color
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 ounces regular cream cheese (softened to room temp)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons half and half (if needed to thin consistency)



  1. In small bowl, mix eggs, oil, water, and food color. Mix until eggs are lightly beaten.
  2. In medium bowl, add cake mix, pudding mix, and cocoa.
  3. Add wet mixture (eggs, oil, water and food coloring).
  4. Mix with a hand mixer until no more cake mix shows (about 2 minutes). Scrape down sides and on the bottom once before stopping).
  5. Add sour cream; fold in until completely blended.
  6. Pour into bundt pan.
  7. Bake at 350 F until top barely "jiggles" when pan is shaken (between 30-40 minutes).
  8. Allow to cool before turning out of bundt pan.


  1. Mix all ingredients (except milk/half and half) until smooth.
  2. If too thick, add milk/half and half.
  3. Pour over cooled cake several hours before serving.


Store cake in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 weeks.

Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 549Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 103mgSodium 475mgCarbohydrates 63gFiber 1gSugar 44gProtein 5g

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  1. Jamie, Have you ever made this Red Velvet Cake or any of your other cakes in the single serving, Mini Bundt pans? Mine happens to be silicone and are about the size of a large or jumbo muffin. I need a little guidance on time and temp. I am new to your blog and I am really enjoying it.

  2. Hi Bonnie, I used a standard size bottle which was probably one or two ounces. I think you will see red food coloring near the vanilla flavor, so just get a standard size bottle!!!

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