Chocolate Kahlua Bundt Cake is an easy chocolate bundt cake with a hint of Kahlua coffee liqueur and studded with chocolate chips, and it's made entirely from scratch - no box mix here! It's as perfect to bring to a potluck as it is to serve after a fancy evening or holiday dinner. Moist and rich, this is the ultimate chocolate bundt cake to make!
[October, 2022: I've reworked the recipe and updated this post with all new pictures. Enjoy!]
Why this recipe works
- The cake batter comes together in a flash with common pantry ingredients - no boxed mixes needed!
- Rich chocolate flavor supported by mocha sweetness and studded with chocolate chips for an exceptionally moist cake
- No glazes needed - just finish with a dusting of powdered sugar
Chocolate Kahlua Cake has always been a family favorite and crowd-pleasing recipe. It’s a rich chocolate bundt cake flavored with Kahlua, a coffee-flavored rum from Mexico, and studded with chocolate chips.
While some bundt cakes might have a glaze, this one is so moist and rich, it doesn’t need it. Instead, I just dust it with powdered sugar for a pretty presentation.
Adapt a cake recipe to "from scratch"
I try not to use commercially made products when I cook if I can make said product myself. My well-loved Kahlua bundt cake recipe calls for a box of Devil’s Food cake mix and a box of vanilla pudding, in addition to eggs, sour cream, oil, and chocolate chips (oh, and a healthy amount of Kahlua, to be sure).
After some trial and error (and critiques from my husband and daughters), I've hit upon a replacement recipe that gets very close to the original recipe.
What you need
No fancy ingredients are needed for this simple bundt cake: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt. Sour cream adds to the cake's overall moisture, and chocolate chips...well, chocolate! You do need Kahlua coffee liqueur, which can be found in most stores that sell mixers and liqueurs.
And because my recipe for Kahlua Cake contains canola oil instead of butter, you can mix the batter with a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or just by hand.
This cake is so moist and rich, no glaze is really needed - just a dusting of powdered sugar, and you're ready!
How to make a Chocolate Kahlua Bundt Cake
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients together
Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until the mixture is well combined (photo 1). Sifting the flour or cocoa powder first is helpful so you don't have to go chasing lumps.
Step 2: Whisk the wet ingredients together
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl (if using a hand mixer), beat together the eggs and sour cream until combined. Add the Kahlua, canola oil, and vanilla and blend well (photo 2).
Step 3: Combine the wet and dry ingredients
Add flour mixture and stir on low speed until it’s just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips by hand (photo 3).
Step 4: Bake the cake
Pour the batter into a 10- to 12-cup bundt pan that's been sprayed with baking spray, making sure to get in all the pan's nooks and crannies. Bake the cake at 350°F for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean (photo 4).
Do you see how the sides of the cake pulled away from the pan after baking? That's a good sign that the cake won't stick to the pan. Bundt cakes can be tricky to get out of the pan whole, which is why spraying the pan well helps.
Let the cake cool for 15 to 20 minutes in the pan, then invert it onto a wire cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely.
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions you might have...
Like with my Port Wine Chocolate Cake, the alcohol bakes out so you're just left with a lovely undertone of coffee and rum. If you don't want to use Kahlua, you can use the same amount of strong coffee or espresso. Just know the flavor won't be quite the same.
Like with most bundt-style cakes, you can bake it in different types of pans, like a round cake pan or a standard loaf pan. See below for some other pan substitution ideas.
You can also make a smaller bundt cake with this recipe. Just divide all the ingredients in half and bake in a small 6-cup bundt pan for 30 to 40 minutes. The cake in these pictures is made in a small bundt pan - it's got all the flavor in half the size!
It's really important to let the baked cake rest in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning it out of the bundt pan. This allows the cake to firm up and (hopefully) pull away from the sides of the pan, especially if you've sprayed the pan well with a good baking spray.
Pro Tip: How to save an overbaked chocolate cake
It happens - I'm checking my chocolate bundt cake for doneness and keep thinking it needs "just another 5 minutes." When the cake is released from the pan after the required 15 minutes of waiting, I notice it feels a little too firm. Uh oh...I overbaked the cake. [ insert sad-face emoji here ]
Not to worry, I've got a fix! If this happens to you, you can re-moisten the cake by simply brushing the cake with simple syrup (a boiled combination of equal parts water and sugar).
But even better, since this is a chocolate cake, you can use my easy homemade Chocolate Syrup recipe to infuse the cake with moisture and flavor! Just make a quick batch (all you need is 5 ingredients and 5 minutes), poke a few holes all over the cake, and brush on a generous amount of the still-warm syrup with a pastry brush. The chocolate syrup will soak in, soften the cake, and save the day! Hooray!
The ultimate chocolate bundt cake
My Kahlua Cake recipe has all the hallmarks of the old written recipe, just without additives, preservatives, or ingredients I can't pronounce. It has rich chocolate flavor in the cake with bursts of chocolate chips adding to the intensity. The texture is firm enough to hold its shape as a bundt, but not as dense as a brownie or flourless chocolate cake.
Kahlua can be a powerful flavor (like in Kahlua Chocolate Fudge), but here it adds supporting notes of mocha sweetness underneath. And you don't have to worry about serving this cake with coffee liqueur - unlike with the fudge, the alcohol bakes out so it's safe for pregnant women and kids.
I highly encourage you to make this Kahlua Cake recipe from scratch. It's as perfect to bring to a potluck as it is to serve after a fancy evening or holiday dinner. Scaled down, Kahlua Cake is great to serve for Valentine's Day or Date Night.
Moist and rich, this is the ultimate chocolate bundt cake to make!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Most quick bread & muffin recipes can be made as loaves or bundt cakes.
Other presentation options for a one-loaf quick bread are 4 mini breads in mini loaf pans, 12 muffins in a standard muffin pan, or 24 muffin bites in a mini muffin pan. Great for breakfast or gift giving.
Remember, you aren't limited to one type of presentation for a recipe!
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Ultimate Chocolate Kahlua Bundt Cake from Scratch
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder, Dutch-process, sifted
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 cup Kahlua, see Recipe Notes
- ¾ cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 12 ounces chocolate chips, (2 cups)
- powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Spray a 10- to 12-cup bundt pan with baking spray, making sure you get all the pan's nooks and crannies.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until the mixture is well combined.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl (if using a hand mixer), beat together the eggs and sour cream until combined. Add the Kahlua, canola oil, and vanilla and blend well.
- Add flour mixture and stir on low speed until it’s just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips by hand.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool for 15 to 20 minutes in the pan in the pan, then invert it onto a wire cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely.
- Dust with powdered sugar, then serve and enjoy.