Ulster fought their way to a third consecutive home bonus-point victory of the season tonight at the Kingspan Stadium, thereby equalling their record of 14 successive undefeated Guinness Pro12 matches at their South Belfast fortress.
Neil Doak's side put an admittedly slow start behind them to run four tries past Danny Wilson's visitors, with Andrew Trimble, Paul Marshall, Nick Williams and Stuart McCloskey all getting their names on the scoresheet before well-drilled defence kept the plucky Blues at bay in the final quarter.
Paddy Jackson and Darren Cave returned from World Cup duty to the bench for the clash, with the remainder of the province's international contingent rested, or, in the case of Jared Payne and Tommy Bowe, sidelined through substantial injuries sustained at the tournament.
The sole changes made by Head Coach Doak to the starting XV saw Ian Humphreys reinstated at out-half for his first competitive start of the season, while Lewis Stevenson came into the second row in place of Dan Tuohy, concussed against Edinburgh.
Elsewhere, it was a case of as-you-were, with Louis Ludik at full-back, Andrew Trimble and Craig Gilroy on the wings, Sam Arnold and Stuart McCloskey in the centre, and Paul Marshall at scrum-half. Callum Black, Rob Herring and Wiehahn Herbst continued in the front row, with Franco van der Merwe joining Stevenson at lock, and Roger Wilson, Sean Reidy and Nick Williams making up the back row.
Blues - already beaten on the road by the three other Irish provinces this season - started like they meant business, forcing penalties at the breakdown and a subsequent scrum to present out-half Rhys Patchell with an elementary three points in the fourth minute.
Once an advanced Ulster lineout then scrum had proven fruitless, the hosts began to find a little more joy through open play, but a handling error by Williams and a speculative up-and-under from Humphreys led to frustration until the out-half looped a defence-splitting pass to Ludik on 18 minutes, with Trimble collecting from his full-back on the right wing to land his first try of the campaign.
Humphreys' conversion fell short and with Patchell adding his second and third penalties either side of the half-hour mark, Ulster needed the full extent of the remainder of the half to re-establish a lead.
After Number Eight Josh Turnbull had been yellow-carded on 40 minutes for recklessly launching himself feet-first into the middle of a maul where his studs caught Marshall on the side of the head, the Ulster scrum-half dusted himself off to pick up from the resulting scrum and touch down his second try of the season, with Humphreys converting.
Half-Time Score Ulster 12 Cardiff Blues 9
Doak's side began to turn the screw early in the second half, their well-orchestrated rolling maul travelling a good 20 metres infield for Williams to finally ground by the posts on 44 minutes, providing Humphreys with a simple conversion.
The Kiwi Number Eight was instrumental in the bonus-point try six minutes later, dummying an infield pass on the Blues' '22' before swivelling to pick out Trimble for an electric move which eventually saw McCloskey shrug off Patchell's tackle to just stretch over the whitewash.
Humphreys' missed conversion was his last contribution of the evening as Jackson came on to a rousing reception, soon to be joined by Cave, Peter Browne and Andrew Warwick. With Herbst sinbinned just before the hour for failing to retreat as Blues tried to take a quick penalty, Navidi soon stretched over for the visitors' first try, which went unconverted.
Undeterred, Ulster resisted the ensuing waves of Cardiff attack, Patchell eventually clawing back three points on 72 minutes to bring his side to within a converted try of parity. However a flagrant tip-tackle from winger Aled Summerhill on Gilroy saw the visitors once again reduced to 14, essentially killing their hopes of a comeback as Ulster saw out the game with a strong line defending their '22'.
Full-Time Score Ulster 24 Cardiff Blues 17
Ulster (15 - 9) Louis Ludik; Andrew Trimble, Sam Arnold, Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy; Ian Humphreys, Paul Marshall
(1 - 8) Callum Black, Rob Herring (c), Wiehahn Herbst, Lewis Stevenson, Franco van der Merwe, Roger Wilson, Sean Reidy, Nick Williams
Replacements (16 - 23) John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Ricky Lutton, Peter Browne, Willie Faloon, David Shanahan, Paddy Jackson, Darren Cave
Cardiff Blues (15 - 9) Dan Fish; Aled Summerhill, Tom Isaacs, Adam Thomas, Richard Smith; Rhys Patchell, Tavis Knoyle
(1 - 8) Sam Hobbs, Matthew Rees, Craig Mitchell, Lou Reed, James Down, Cameron Dolan, Josh Navidi (c), Josh Turnbull
Replacements (16 - 23) Ethan Lewis, Thomas Davies, Taufa'ao Filise, Chris Dicomidis, Macauley Cook, Lewis Jones, Jarrod Evans, Garyn Smith