An expert from Nordic Ware—the company that invented the Bundt pan—shares advice.
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Bundt cakes have been around since the 1950s when the pan was invented by the Minneapolis-based Nordic Ware company. The fluted baking dish creates stunning ring-shaped confections that are topped with everything from glossy chocolate ganache to a dusting of confectioner's sugar and fresh fruit. To help you nail this timeless treat, we talked to Jennifer Dalquist, executive vice president of Nordic Ware. Heed her advice and you're practically guaranteed to bake your very best Bundt cake yet. 

Orange-Cardamom Bundt Cake
Credit: Marcus Nilsson

Grease Your Pan

Unless it has a high-quality nonstick finish, you need to grease your Bundt pan prior to pouring in the batter. Dalquist says to use a pastry brush to cover the interior surfaces of the pan—including the cone—with a light, even coat of butter, shortening, or lard and dusting the grease with a dry ingredient like flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, or even nut flour. She recommends using baking spray as an alternative method for more intricate pans as it contains flour. "Baking spray is quite different in formulation from cooking spray, which is not meant to be used on bakeware and in fact will result in permanently sticky residue on your pan," Dalquist notes. If you choose to use baking spray, apply it evenly but lightly on all surfaces, which can best be accomplished with short bursts of spray versus one steady continuous stream. "If you see any of the spray formed up on the surface, use a pastry brush to distribute evenly across the pan, including the center cone and up to the edges," she says. No flour or cocoa is needed with this technique.

No matter which method you choose, you will need to thoroughly wash, dry, and re-grease the pan if you're baking multiple cakes in the Bundt pan on the same day.

Use the Right Batter

Bundt pans yield the best results when a dense batter with a tight crumb structure is used, such as pound cake batter. Dalquist says that layer cake recipes have too much leavening in them to stay together nicely. She also notes that boxed cake mixes won't work unless you amend the added ingredients to include things like butter or sour cream, which will help the batter keep its structural integrity when it's removed from the pan. In addition to pound cake batters, quick bread recipes for confections like banana or zucchini bread also work well in a Bundt pan. "For fudgy, moist results, use recipes written for a Bundt," Dalquist says.

Avoid Air Bubbles

Prevent air pockets from forming on your Bundt to ensure its exterior remains smooth. To do so, Daliquist says to set your Bundt pan on a dish towel or cutting board and firmly tap on the surface of the pan five to 10 times before placing it in the oven. "This drives air bubbles trapped in the pockets of the pan's design up to the surface, yielding a cake with crisp detail," she explains. Using recipes that are water based instead of milk or cream based will yield batter that has finer detail. Also avoid over-mixing the batter or too much air will form, and the cake may overflow the pan and become dry. Allowing ingredients to come to room temperature prior to mixing helps with this. 

Prevent a Domed Bottom

Sometimes Bundt pans can cause your cake to have a domed bottom, which means the cake won't lay flat. To avoid this, Dalquist says to turn the oven temperature down 25 degrees from what the recipe calls for. "This method needs a little more baking time, but not substantial, and creates an even cake," she explains. It also helps to bake the cake on a middle shelf in your oven instead of the top or bottom shelf, which can cause temperature variations due to their proximity to the heat source inside the oven. 

Let It Cool Before Flipping

Releasing your Bundt cake from the pan requires proper judgement and timing. For a full size—10 to 12 cup Bundt—Dalquist recommends letting the cake cool for seven to 10 minutes. For smaller pans, such as a six cup Bundt, five minutes is plenty of time. As the cake sits in the pan and begins to cool, the sugars begin to solidify which makes the cake stick inside the pan. However, if you remove the cake immediately, the hot sugars will be fragile and often result in a broken cake. "So, it's a delicate balance of being just hot enough," Dalquist says. "We recommend setting a timer for cooling, as it can be easy to forget and suddenly an hour has passed."

Don't Cover Bundts with Heavy Decoration

As Bundts have the design baked right into the cake, Dalquist says the one thing you don't want to do is cover it with frosting or heavy decoration. "The beauty is already there, so we recommend highlighting those designs with a simple pour of ganache, glaze, or caramel," she says. Additionally, you can also brush the outside of the cake with a sugar syrup which soaks into the cake and gives it a glistening appearance or keep it simple and top the Bundt with a dusting of cocoa powder or sugar. You can even create a sugared donut-style finish by brushing the cake with melted butter and sanding it with cinnamon sugar," Dalquist explains. "Really, it's up to the baker just so long as you take care not to over-decorate and cover up the design!"

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