Bundt Cakes

Copyright © 2000 Sarah Phillips Sarah Phillips, Inc. All rights reserved.
Cream Cheese Pound Cake RecipeA Bundt cake is simply the name used for a dessert cake baked in a Bundt pan or a round baking pan with a tube in the middle with fluted, decorated sides. They are typically made from butter/shortening or dense, rich cake recipes, such as the Butter or Pound cake. Bundt cakes are versatile and keep well. They need little embellishment and can be simply served with fruit or drizzled with a glaze or dusted with powdered sugar.  Very few are frosted or filled.

The Bundt Pan: The aluminum Bundt pan was invented in 1950, by H. David Dalquist, founder of  Nordic Ware Bundt Pans, at the request of members of the Minneapolis Center of the Hadassah Society. They were interested in a pan that could be used to make kugel, a Jewish dessert. They had old ceramic cake pans of somewhat similar designs but wanted an aluminum one.

Buttermilk Bundt Cake RecipeDalquist created a new shape and added regular folds to make it easier to cut the cake. The women from the society called the pans "bund pans" because "bund" is German for a gathering of people. Dalquist added a "t" to the end of "bund" and trademarked the name.

For years, the company sold few of the pans. Then in 1996, a Texas woman won second place in the Pillsbury Bake-Off for her Tunnel of Fudge Cake made in a Bundt pan. The win prompted a nationwide scramble for the pan. Pillsbury licensed the name in 1970 for a line of cake mixes.

When H. David Dalquist died on January 6, 2005, the company had sold more than 50 million Bundt pans. It is the top-selling cake pan in the world.

SARAH SAYS: Now if you really want to dress up a Bundt cake, put it on a pedestal cake plate and make it showier with a glaze. I enjoy a thick glaze that I drizzle over the cake back & forth with a spoon so you can see the design. To make, I never put in as much liquid as called for in the recipe. 

Nordic Ware Bundt Pans are heavy, dark pans. Because they are dark, the cake will bake faster. When baking, make sure you reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F (13 degrees C).

Allspice Spice Cake RecipeQUESTION: Lately, I've had trouble removing my bundt cake from the pan after baking. I grease the pan thoroughly and let the cake cool for 2 hrs. Do you have any ideas? It's stuck and won't come out!
SARAH SAYS: A big issue with bakers seems to be the often occurring problem of getting such cakes, nice as they are, to come out of their Bundt pans in one piece. 
Part of the trick is to prepare the pans in a certain way: with equal parts of shortening, oil and flour, and use a pastry brush to apply it; get every nook and cranny but not so much that when the cake comes out it has white flour on it in spots.

The other part of the trick is to do certain things when unmolding:

1. Just before the Bundt cake is through baking, place a folded bath towel in the sink and saturate it with steaming hot water. Keep the towel in the sink;
2. When the cake comes out of the oven, Immediately set it on top of the towel, pan side down, and leave it for ten seconds; and,
3. Immediately invert the cake onto a cooling rack. The cake will come out clean and whole without sticking. Be careful because cakes are very delicate when hot and can break apart easily. If the cake starts to break apart, leave it in its pan to cool for 20 minutes and try to unmold, again.

Follow-up comment: "Up until now, every cake I've baked in my Nordic Ware bundt pan has always stuck and torn in parts. With your advice on oiling the pan with the special three part mixture followed at the end of baking with the steam-removal method, the cake came out perfectly. Thank you so much for the tips!" Anne Pfeiffer 1-11-04, Ask Sarah
 
Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake RecipeQUESTION: What if a recipe uses a 'Bundt' pan but doesn't specify a measurement. Is there a standard size for a bundt pan?
SARAH SAYS: The pan size depends on the amount of batter the recipe makes. It is usually stamped on the pan. The number of cups of flour in the recipe are always a good indicator, too. A tube pan can be used, instead. (Bundt is a fluted form, tube is plain.) Look in my Pan Size Substitutes Chart for the right size; the pans are interchangeable if they hold the same amount of batter.

Bundt Pan Sizes
Flour amountBundt pan size Tube pan size
1 1/4 cups6 cups7 -1/2 x 3 inches
2 1/4 to 3 cups12 cups - standard size10 x 3 -1/2 inches