The Clarets’ Development Squad conceded three late goals to suffer a third successive defeat in the Professional Development League.
Michael Duff’s side trailed 1-0 at the break before going on to take control for a spell after half-time.
But they could not force an equaliser and were over-run late on as a strong Cardiff side netted three times in the closing 12 minutes to deliver a harsh lesson.
Cardiff included first-team squad men Greg Halford, Omar Bogle and Anthony Pilkington – as well as former Nothern Ireland goalkeeper Lee Camp – as their quota of permitted ‘over-age’ players.
And Bogle and Pilkington struck the crucial second and third goals to give the Bluebirds – watched by first-team coach and ex-Clarets’ striker Ronnie Jepson – their third win of the campaign.
Bogle, who joined Cardiff from Wigan Athletic in August, missed an early chance before his header from a Jamie Veale corner was superbly saved by Aidan Stone.
But from the resulting corner, Oliver Younger was only able to power an attempted clearing header into the top corner of his own net to give Cardiff a 1-0 lead.
Clarets' captain Arlen Birch went off injured in the first half
A Tinashe Chakwana effort saved by Camp was the nearest Burnley came to scoring before half-time.
But Duff’s young side responded well after the break following the introduction of Dwight McNeil and the pace of Khius Metz.
The Clarets were the better side for a spell but Metz - who stretched the visitors' defence - finished weakly as his effort was saved by Camp, impressive Welshman Jamie Thomas curled an effort just wide and McNeil saw an effort deflected past the post.
And Cardiff then made their experience count as they killed the game off.
Bogle headed in a cross from Cameron Coxe before the winger also supplied the chance for Blackburn-born former Norwich and Huddersfield winger Pilkington to fire home the third.
And then with virtually the last kick of the game, Pilkington fed Mark Harris to slot home and give the visitors a somewhat flattering 4-0 win.
"I think 4-0 was harsh," said Clarets' assistant-coach Andy Farrell (above).
"We spoke to the lads at half-time about being a little bit more assertive and they imposed themselves on the opposition really well in the second half and worked the ball a lot better.
"The second-half produced a lot of opportunities. Khius came on and made a difference. Jamie Thomas linked the play well but in the final third we were probably just a little bit hestitant in terms of our finishing.
"In the end it showed what we are aiming for - that level of football.
"But there are three or four of them who have been in the first team and a couple came off at the end who probably were't expecting us to get at them and run end-to-end and recover like we did,.
"That was definitely a lot better."
Burnley: Stone, Birch (Clarke 33), Koiki, Nabi, Flowers, Younger, Bayode (McNeil ht), N'Guessan, Limb (Metz ht), Thomas, Chakwana. Subs: Bruce, Howarth.
Cardiff: Camp, Paterson, Abbruzzese, Veale, Duffus, Young, Coxe, Halford, Bogle (Gaydu 84), Pilkington, Harris. Subs: Jonbes, Byrne.