How to Use a Bundt or Shaped Cake Pan

Male adult holding out of the oven homemade bundt cake
Zdenka_Simekova / Getty Images

When it comes to food, the presentation is everything. A Bundt® or shaped cake delights the eye, alerts taste buds and set the stage for the delectable serving to follow. How can anyone resist a slice of a Bundt cake? As they say, first impressions are truly important.
The Bundt® baking pan was introduced in 1950 by Nordic Ware, and these baking pans have become very popular bakeware in the home kitchen. Available in various sizes and shapes, Bundt pans can be used for cakes, muffins, cupcakes, shortcake baskets, gelled desserts or salads, and even meatloaf.

While there are various other brands of shaped baking pans on the market, Nordic Ware does rule in terms of variety, original and traditional designs, as well as outstanding pan construction and baking performance. For those who love to bake with silicone pans, you can also find these in various shapes.

A Bundt pan is a perfect vehicle for coffee cakes because it lends well to experimenting with recipe ingredients, adding nuts, creating a topping, inserting a fudge tunnel, even a marble cake looks wonderful in a Bundt shape. You can also frost the cake or not, it's up to you. They look terrific with a thin glaze dripped over the cake or just a powdered sugar sprinkle.

These cakes also travel very well with virtually no fear of a layer sliding off, plus they are easy to slice and serve. That makes these cakes fantastic for potlucks or dessert/coffee functions. Considered a specialty baking pan, the cakes from these tend to look like you spent much more time making this dessert than you actually did. Recipients are really impressed with the look of these cakes.

The Bundt® pan shown is a Nordic Ware 12-cup Classic Bundt® Pan with Teflon nonstick coating. It has been used for over 20 years and still produces great results. Although it has sustained a few scratches over the years, cakes are still easily removed. Note that this kind of pan bakes the cake upside down, therefore, it needs to be inverted after it has cooled. Here are a few helpful tips on how to use a Bundt pan:

Convenience Features

  • A 10 to 12 cup Bundt® will accommodate a standard cake mix or recipe.
  • For a 6 to 9 cup size: adjust batter or use a single-layer cake mix or recipe.
  • Cake mixes specially designed for the Bundt pans can be purchased through Nordic Ware or other retailers.
  • Recipes are readily available from the Nordic Ware website or their cookbooks.
  • Bundt cakes are very easy to slice, even thin slices hold together well.
  • The cake is easily removed from the pan and clean-up is no problem.
  • Quick coffee cakes - easily turn a white or yellow cake mix into a coffee cake by adding/varying ingredients.
  • A Bundt cake looks like a professionally baked gourmet cake.
  • Bundt pans can also be used for gelled salads and desserts, as well as a shaped meatloaf.
  • Bundt pans are available in an interesting array of styles and shapes, for holidays, special events or every day.

How to Use the Pans

  • Even nonstick coated pans should be well greased or sprayed with baking oil. A dusting of flour sometimes helps especially with chocolate cakes but is not usually necessary.
  • Cool cake completely before trying to remove it.
  • Do not use any metal object to release the cake. It will scratch and damage your pan.
  • A rubber or silicone spatula can be slid down the large fluted edges and this is usually sufficient to help release the cake.
  • To remove the cake, place a large plate over the Bundt pan and while holding the plate in place, invert the pan, the cake should drop unto the plate.
  • After inverting, if cake feels a little warm allow a few minutes before frosting.
  • Fill the pan with hot soapy water and let soak for a few minutes, handwash and dry thoroughly. Although these pans come clean in a dishwasher, depending on your pan's coating, handwashing may be recommended. Confirm care instructions from your pan's product information.
  • For meatloaf, use leaner meat and you will need to carefully drain off any grease after cooking before you invert it onto the serving plate. Use hot pads or mitts while handling.

Baking & Icing Tips

  • Since Bundt pans make an inverted cake, anything you want baked into the top of the cake must be placed in the pan first. This includes toppings such as brown sugar and nut mixture, pecans or cherries.
  • For fillings or tunnels, pour in half of the batter, add the filling and fill with the remaining batter.
  • Position your Bundt cake in the center of the oven.
  • There are no temperature adjustments required; follow your recipe guidelines.
  • Heavy cast aluminum pans provide even baking and browning.
  • For a quick coffee cake, start with a cake mix or your favorite recipe, reduce liquid accordingly and add a baby food strained dessert, or applesauce, mashed bananas, preserves or blended fruit. A tablespoon of sour cream adds a yummy taste as does a swirl of cinnamon.
  • Frosting can be as simple as thin icing drizzled over the cake or a dusting of icing sugar.
  • You can ice it completely with your favorite icing recipe or use whipped cream.
  • To top, add nuts, shaved chocolate or drizzle chocolate syrup over a thin white glaze for a gourmet look.

Bundt® pans are just as easy to use as regular cake pans and the desserts they produce can be easily and quickly garnished. We find ourselves making more Bundt cakes than regular ones, because of the convenience of the pans and the presentation of the finished dessert.