Sam Vokes marked his 100th Premier League appearance in fitting style as the Clarets’ match-winner.
The Wales international upset his countrymen as his first league goal of the season made it back-to-back wins for Burnley and a first victory over the Bluebirds in 14 attempts.
Cardiff looked as though they might again prevent the Clarets from laying the 11-year-old bogey when Josh Murphy cancelled out Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s headed opener with an hour gone.
But the Clarets are beginning to build some momentum and when Vokes nodded home 19 minutes from the end he brought up his ton in the best way possible as a first away success of the campaign lifted Sean Dyche’s men up to 12th-place in the table.
All the excitement had come in a second half which brought three goals in a dramatic 20-minute spell as momentum swung both ways before Vokes had the decisive say.
A disappointing first half had seen the Clarets offer little, other than a commitment to try and keep Cardiff out, as they struggled to keep possession.
An injury to James Tarkowksi forced a defensive re-shuffle less than half an hour in, with Kevin Long coming on for a first taste of Premier League action.
The Clarets at least managed to stay level as they prevented Cardiff - whose major threat came from set-pieces and the long throws of captain Sean Morrison - from adding to the joint lowest goalscoring tally in the division.
But it took one fine save from Joe Hart, who got down smartly to keep out Kenneth Zohore’s bottom corner-bound toe poke, and a headed goalline clearance from Ashley Westwood to do so, as the Clarets' midfielder nodded a Callum Paterson effort away from under the crossbar four minutes before the break.
Things could only improve from an attacking perspective and a more positive start to the second half was rewarded within six minutes by the opening goal.
Vokes had already got in behind the City defence without being able to capitalise before Burnley grabbed the lead.
Cardiff were caught napping by Westwood’s forward run to meet a throw-in from Charlie Taylor and when Westwood looped a cross beyond the far post, Gudmundsson leaped highest to head down and past goalkeeper Neil Etheridge at the foot of the post.
That could have been a major blow for a side without a win all season, but Cardiff hit back just nine minutes later to make it 1-1 with a classy first-time finish from Murphy as he drilled Bruno Ecuele Manga’s low cross past Hart to claim his first Cardiff goal.
Murphy was one of four players brought back into the starting line-up by Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock following a run of three successive defeats and the summer signing from Norwich almost made it 2-1 seven minutes later with a curling effort which was superbly tipped over by Hart.
And the importance of that save was underlined almost immediately as Vokes nipped Cardiff's comeback in the bud by grabbing the winner.
Westwood’s excellent ball forward released Gudmundsson and this time the Icelander was the provider with a cross which Vokes met with a stooping header he guided perfectly into the corner of the net to claim his landmark moment as Burnley then threw up the barricades to keep the other Welshmen at bay.
Cardiff City: Etheridge, Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Cunningham, Camarasa, Ralls (Madine 78), Arter, Murphy, Paterson, Zohore (Ward 72). Substitutes: Murphy, Bennett, Richards, Decordova-Reid, Harris.
Burnley: Hart, Lowton, Tarkowski (Long 27), Mee, Taylor, Gudmundsson, Westwood, Cork, Lennon, Vydra (Wood 72), Vokes. Substitutes: Heaton, Barnes, Hendrick, Defour, Bardsley.
Booked: Lowton, Westwood, Lennon.
Referee: Graham Atkinson