A second FA Cup with Budweiser goal of the season from substitute Fraizer Campbell sent the Bluebirds into the fifth round with a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.
After a first-half where chances were few and far between, the half-time introduction of pair Craig Noone and Campbell combined just five minutes later as the City front man fired home is fifth goal of the season to fully capitalise on an error from Trotters stopper Andy Lonergan and earn Cardiff a first win in Bolton for 34 years.
Wanderers fought hard for an equaliser soon after, a deflected Alex Baptiste cross by Ben Turner denied only by the fingertips of City stopper David Marshall. There was also a City debut for 18-year-old midfielder Mats Møller Dæhli who impressed as an 80th minute substitute.
City boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær made five changes to the side that looked impressively competitive against Manchester City last time out as Magnus Wolff Eikrem made his first start for the Bluebirds and Joe Mason made a welcome return to the starting-11.
The game started as a very even and tight affair, with both sides looking to maintain their share of the ball on a slick surface at the Reebok Stadium.
City had the first real effort on goal, working the ball well into the box before a series of Joe Mason, Andreas Cornelius and Peter Whittingham looked to get their shot on goal, the ball eventually being deflected over by the Bolton defence.
Half an hour in the Bluebirds threatened once again through a Peter Whittingham set piece, skipper Mark Hudson heading the ball right across goal from the midfielder's deep delivery before the Trotters cleared their lines.
Chances were few and far between for both sides, but the best chance of the half came deep into first half stoppage time as South Korean International Chung-Yong Lee sent his effort inches wide of the far post from a late Wanderers corner.
HALF TIME: Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Cardiff City
The City manager made a double change at half time as Campbell and winger Noone were introduced and they soon made an instant impact on this fourth round tie.
Just five minutes into the second period, Noone cut inside to deliver a telling cross into the far post, Bolton 'keeper Lonergan looked to have it covered before spilling the ball and allowing Campbell the perfect opportunity to fire the Bluebirds in front from the tight angle.
It was Campbell's second goal in the FA Cup this season and he was soon close to adding a second of the match as he met the ball in front of goal, only to head over when fully stretched at the far post.
As the hour mark passed, the home side started to show signs of pushing for an equaliser, but it was Ben Turner who provided the biggest scare for Marshall in goal as he deflected a Alex Baptiste cross towards goal; the Scot responding with an excellent fingertip save to keep the Bluebirds ahead.
Solskjær chose to give 18-year-old Dæhli his Cardiff City debut in a final change for the Bluebirds, with the young Norwegian International impressing in a ten minute spell at the end of the game, prompting embracing chants from the 1,453 traveling City fans.
Despite pushing for the equaliser it was City who almost doubled their lead late on as Lonergan first denied Kim Bo Kyung before Campbell fired the rebound wide, Dæhli curling a left footed effort just wide soon after.
FULL TIME: Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Cardiff City
Cardiff City: Marshall; McNaughton, Hudson (C), Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Whittingham, Eikrem (Noone 45), Gunnarsson, Kim; Mason (Dæhli 80), Cornelius (Campbell 45). Subs not used: Lewis; Caulker, Medel, John.
Goal: Campbell (50)
Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Ream, Mills, Knight, Baptiste, Spearing, Medo (Odelusi 72), Danns, Eagles (Moritz 72), Lee, C Davies. Subs not used: Bogdan, Pratley, Moritz, Odelusi, Vela, White, Hall.
Attendance: 12,275 (The Reebok Stadium)