Here in the Test Kitchen, we wanted to recognize National Bundt® Day by offering some tips on baking Bundt® cakes so we invited Jennifer Dalquist, Director of Sales and Marketing at Nordic Ware, to be a guest blogger this month. Read on for the story of the Bundt® pan.
Amidst a sea of ‘food holidays’ that have sprung up in recent years, it becomes a tedious chore to choose which you are going to honor. As you wistfully peruse your friends’ Facebook and Instagram feeds, -admiring the adorable things they managed to craft in their kitchen earlier in the day, you may think to yourself, “Am I the only person on earth who didn’t make homemade pumpkin-shaped cake pops today for my kids’ lunch boxes in honor of National Cake Pop Day?”
In November alone, you’ve got National Doughnut Day, National Cake Day and let’s not forget National Baklava Day! But there’s one that’s an easy choice as a favorite: National Bundt® Day, on November 15th. Ahh, the elegant-yet-simple Bundt®: so easy to bake (we bakers love reliable results, right?), so many different and delicious recipe options and flavors to choose from, and—the best part—no fussy decoration is needed, because the design is baked right into the cake!
Presently, the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington DC has an exhibit on display about the evolution of our eating habits. It’s called Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000. Not surprisingly, there are several Bundt® pans included in the collection. One might call the Bundt® a quintessentially American cake. At the very least, it’s a household word that’s synonymous with something homemade and delicious.
The modern day Bundt® pan is based on a traditional European mold called a gugelhupf pan. These pans were originally made of glazed ceramic, copper or heavy cast iron and had a small tube in the middle. Loving the simplicity of this baking form, an American inventor in Minnesota decided to redesign the fluted edges of the pan, make the center cone larger, and make the pan out of cast aluminum, which possesses superior heating characteristics over ceramic, iron or steel. The pan was given a name, which was trademarked: Bundt®. Nordic Ware, the company that introduced the Bundt® pan to American kitchens, has sold nearly 70 million Bundt® pans over the past six decades, and is still manufacturing their pans in the USA.
Although Bundt® cakes are pleasantly easy to bake, there are a few helpful tips that will ensure perfect results every time you use one.
- The traditional Butter & Flour method of greasing is still the best: Using real butter, spreading it by hand or with a pastry brush over every surface of the pan’s interior, and then dusting with flour or cocoa, will ensure proper release and yield the best flavor. Be sure to tap the pan gently upside down over the sink to remove excess flour, which can leave white spots on your cake. If you use a nonstick spray, be sure to use one that is formulated for baking and contains flour. Regular cooking sprays will leave a Bundt® pan permanently sticky.
- Cool it but don’t forget about it: One of the most common mistakes with a Bundt® is letting it cool too long in the pan (or not long enough). Ten minutes is the magic number to shoot for before inverting it onto a cooling rack. If you try to remove it after 10 minutes and have trouble, it’s because the sugars have solidified in the pan. Also problematic is trying to remove a cake that is still hot. A cake fresh from the oven will often rip or tear, leaving unsightly holes in your Bundt®.
- Achieve perfectly smooth sides: Using a dense batter such as a pound cake or other thick recipe will result in a smoother exterior on your Bundt®. Lighter traditional cake recipes (especially boxed cake mixes) contain a lot of leavening and will have a less defined Bundt® shape. Once you pour batter into a prepared pan, you can remove any trapped air bubbles in the batter by tapping the pan firmly on a cutting board or other hard surface.
I hope you’ll plan on making a Bundt® cake in honor of National Bundt® Day. Here are some recipes to get you started:
Glazed Lemon Pound Cake
Fudgy Peppermint Cake
Pumpkin Chocolate Marble Cake
Buttery Pound Cake
Blueberry Almond Cheesecake Tunnel
Written by Jennifer Dalquist, guest blogger from Nordic Ware