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Calico cream bundt cake

Ah, the bundt cake, an old-school classic we all know and love. Pull out your bundt pan this holiday season and make this deliciously rich calico cream bundt cake made with cream cheese, cocoa powder and your choice of freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries to add a little colour. 



Calico Cream Bundt Cake

  • 3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups (383 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons medium grain kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (21 g) Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 57 g (2 oz) Valrhona Framboise or Fraise Inspiration (fruit couvertures), or ruby chocolate (Callebaut and others make them)
  • 12 g | 0.42 oz freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries, whizzed to powder in a food processor


  • 3 tablespoons hot milk, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup (57 g) confectionary sugar
  • A pinch of salt


For the Cake

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F, with a rack in the lower third. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, tip in the sugar, butter, and cream cheese. With the paddle attached, beat on medium-high (working up slowly), until billowing and fluffy. It should take about five minutes, stopping and scraping down the paddle and bowl periodically. 
  3. Scrape down once again. Set the machine to medium, then add the eggs one at a time, waiting for the first to incorporate before adding the next.
  4. Pour in the almond extract and vanilla. Let the machine run for a minute more. 
  5. Stop the machine. Scatter the flour and salt around the bowl. Run the machine on stir to combine. Give the batter a few final turns with a silicone spatula. 
  6. Mix the hot water into the cocoa powder into a paste.
  7. Carefully melt the fruit couverture following your microwave’s instructions for chocolate.
  8. Fold one-third of the batter into the bowl with the cocoa mixture.
  9. Scoop almost half of what remains in the mixer to the couverture bowl (it should still be liquid) then scatter the freeze-dried powder on top. Mix well. 
  10. Coat a 10-cup Bundt pan with nonstick spray. (Spritzing right before filling prevents the spray from pooling.)
  11. Using spring-loaded scoops or spoons, dollop the batter around the pan in layers. If you want the colour to run like Charlie Brown’s sweater’s bands instead of polka dots, offset the colours slightly as you layer, making sure each scoop touches the same colour below. For a more marbled effect, swirl with a skewer or butter knife. 
  12. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden, puffed and crackling, and a cake tester comes out clean, 75 to 80 minutes.
  13. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before de-panning the cake.

For the Glaze and to Serve

  1. Make the glaze by beating the hot milk with the confectionary sugar and salt until smooth. It should be easily pourable. Add more milk if it’s not.
  2. Gently brush over the cake while both are still warm. Leave to cool completely, at least four hours. TIP: The cake improves as it sits.
  3. Slice, serve and enjoy!

TIP: Freeze-dried berries and fruit couverture won’t be in every pantry cupboard. I get it. The former is available at Trader Joe’s, many health food stores, or online. The latter is mostly online and specialty stores. Ruby chocolate is increasingly common. Alternatively, use strawberry or raspberry extract and tint with food colouring, or strained jam. Instant coffee or matcha powder can be used to create different shades and flavour combinations. 

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