Who Doesn’t Love a Good Bundt Cake?
Let’s talk bundt pans, shall we? Most everyone loves a good bundt cake. They’re pretty, but homey and comforting. They’re usually easy to make and many times they don’t even require an icing or glaze. Yet, they are some of the most delicious cakes out there.
There’s no need to go into the pans’ history. That information is widely available and it’s not what I’m here to discuss. That being said, I will only be referring to Nordic Ware bundt pans, simply because they’re the only ones I’ve ever purchased. Having always been very pleased with their quality and design, I haven’t been tempted to try another brand.
But there are some confusing aspects about the individual bundt pans I’d like to address. I’ll start with the different sizes and how it can be difficult to know which one to use. The bundt pan of which we’re all most familiar is the size and shape that’s been around since they were first produced. Mine had seen better days, so I replaced it with a new one this year which is called The Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt 12 Cup, Gold *.
This pan is commonly referred to as holding 12 cups of batter. In fact, it has a 15 cup capacity. All of my other bundt pans hold 10 cups of batter. This is an enormous difference. But I’ve seen it described in recipes as being a 10 inch bundt pan. They are referring to the diameter of the outside of the top of the pan. Herein lies a problem. This pan is actually 10 1/2 inches in diameter and holds a lot more batter.
Many pound cake recipes need to be baked in this large pan. You can be assured that if a recipe is calling for more than 3 cups of flour, nine times out of ten, you’re going to need to use this large pan if you don’t want a big spillover in your oven. And sometimes you’re pushing it with even 3 cups of flour. It just depends on the particular recipe and I wish the recipe authors would simply identify the cup measurement of the pan in their recipes, rather than the size of the diameter.
If you’ve got plenty of experience, you’ll probably know what size pan to use, but not always. And for beginners or intermediately experienced bakers, it can be a challenge. If you keep in mind what I said about the amount of flour called for in the recipe, you should be good.
But why have different sizes of bundt pans? Because many cake recipes don’t require the large size pan. You can go ahead and bake it in the big one, but you’ll end up with a shallow cake, which isn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing. The 10 cup models are smaller in diameter and you’ll end up with a nicely tall and beautifully risen cake.
But size is not the only consideration when choosing the right bundt pan for the recipe. The color of the pan also plays a roll in the final outcome of your cake. For instance, I have this pan, the Bavaria 10 Cup, Graphite *
The outside of this pan is not like any of my others, which are gold or toffee colored. This one is almost black. Due to the dark color, all the cakes I bake in it develop a darker crust when compared to any of my other bundt pans. So, if I’m making a cake that has a relatively short baking time – 40 minutes or so, I’ll choose this pan because I know it will develop the desired crust. But on the other hand, I won’t bake a cake that’s going to take an hour because I risk the chance of it getting too dark and having a dried out crust.
Then there are the different shapes to take into account and I give thought as to what shape to use for the particular cake I will be baking. If I’m making a cake that I know will have a dripping glaze, some shapes are much more conducive to a prettier outcome than others. The original large model works well for those kinds of recipes, as does this pan – Brilliance Bundt Pan Gold .
There are some styles that look best when the finished cake is only dusted with powdered sugar, such as the Blossom Bundt Pan, Toffee *. Adding an icing to the cake which is baked in this style of pan distracts from the flower petal design and makes no sense. I only use it for a cake which needs a minimal topping. Of course, it goes without saying that a cake baked in this shape looks beautiful when the center is filled with fresh berries, in order the emphasize the flower design.
Then there is this one, the Heritage Bundt Pan, Gold *. It is one of my favorites because of the big peaks and valleys, which create nice crispy edges. I don’t have to be concerned about the sturdiness of the cake when I use this pan. It performs well with all kinds of cakes and it also looks pretty whether it’s simply dusted with powdered sugar or dripping with a glaze.
And while I said all my bundt pans are either the large size or the 10 cup models, I do have this one, the Jubilee Loaf Pan , which isn’t really a bundt pan at all. It holds 6 cups and is actually a loaf pan. I only very recently purchased it and am getting ready to use it for the first time. I’ll let you know how it works out, but I have no reason to think it won’t bake beautifully because of how well all my other Nordic Ware pans bake.
I can’t end this without addressing the dreaded anxiety producing moment associated with bundt cakes – the release or non-release of the cake from the pan. I experienced the sticking problem with my old original pan. I’ve yet to have it happen with the newer pans, which are coated in a different material. But that isn’t the entire reason.
I have not had a single cake stick ever since I started coating my pans with Baker’s Joy * baking spray with flour. For insurance, I then coat the inside of the pan with a thin layer of almond flour, except when I’m making a chocolate cake and then I coat it with cocoa. I’ve also coated the pan with poppy seeds after spraying it and this also works well. Without exception, any of these coatings work perfectly every single time. As an aside, I have tried other brands of baking spray and have never been satisfied. Baker’s Joy * is the only one I can fully recommend. I keep a couple on hand at all times, in case I run out of one.
The only time we had a mishap was when my son baked a cake in one of the newer pans and followed the directions of the recipe which instructed you to simply coat it with softened butter. Nope to that. Shame on the author of that recipe. The cake stuck. And while I’m fully aware of making your own concoction of flour and shortening/oil/butter with which to coat the pan, I’m not a fan. I like the layer of almond flour on my cakes. It has a wonderful flavor and adds a slight crunchiness to the crust, whereas using only a flour and oil combo leaves a residue on the cake that I don’t like.
How About Baking These Bundt Cakes
If by any chance, all this talk about bundt pans has put you in the mood to bake a bundt cake, I’ve got several recipes I highly recommend. First up is what I call The Cake, a cake I’ve been baking for decades. It’s simply referred to as The Cake in my home because it has been made so many times and is so beloved. It has 7 Up in the batter, along with oil and butter, so the texture is beautifully moist and fluffy, while the flavor is impacted by the lemon, almond, and vanilla extracts. I brush it with a lemon and sugar glaze that leaves a crackly sweet/tart finish. It’s hard to beat this cake.
But there is also my new Lemon and Poppy Seed Olive Oil Cake with Crème Fraîche, which I’d never turn down. If you’re craving something with plenty of bright fresh lemon flavor, then this is the one you’ll want. The poppy seeds provide a nice crispy crust and the crème fraîche guarantees a soft, almost creamy crumb. It’s a great cake for any time of the year.
Then there is my Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Crackle Glaze if you find you’re in the mood for a cake with some spice and orange flavors. There are plenty of ground up nuts in the batter to satisfy any pistachio cravings you may be experiencing. I add plenty of orange zest, orange oil, and orange blossom water in order to emphasize the orange flavor, along with orange juice in the crackle glaze so that the orange flavor is detectable. Again, the olive oil guarantees a beautifully moist cake.
This Blackberry, Raspberry, and St. Germain Bundt Cake is really lovely when berries are at their peak. Besides filling the center with fresh berries when you serve it, the batter is chock full of berries, too. I add a tablespoon of St. Germain elderflower liqueur, which gives it a lovely aroma and flavor, but you can simply eliminate it and still have a delicious cake.