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Bundt Pans - Your best tips and recipes!

I had a modest gift card for Williams Sonoma burning a hole in my pocket and came home with an "exclusive WS" platinum Bundt pan in an incredibly cool design!

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

Once home it dawned on me that I am not a baker - a pretty good cook - but not a baker. I would like to have my crush last and not crash into frustration and disdain, so I am calling out for Bundt baking help and suggestions!

Immediate questions on my mind are adjusting for volume (my pan is 10 cups), which prep method is best for greasing the pan, do I need the fancy thermometer?

Which recipes do you suggest for a novice? I have no dietary restrictions, lean more towards lemon than chocolate, don't mind saving calories but not at the expense of great flavor.

What can I say, just another random purchase due to cuteness!

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  1. Guess you didn't do a search before posting - here's your pan and a link to a popular recipe:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6905...

    And here, a few dozen more: http://www.chow.com/search?query=%22b...

    11 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      I had seen the first link! I see by your second one that adding "recipe" to the search produced more than my initial attempts.

      I had noted the suggestions for making cupcakes with the possible extra batter. Does the change in volume create a change in time or temperature?

      1. re: meatn3

        Time only, not temperature. Temp always stays the same. A digital thermometer, or really an oven thermometer over a digital, would be very useful. Both are ideal.

        There are many options for greasing these intricate pans; read some of the reviews at your WS page link for more info/techniques. A oil/flour combo baker's release spray is probably your best bet with all the curves.

        That's a lovely design on your bundt, btw; one of the really attractive ones in the Nordicware lineup, imo.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          I do have an oven thermometer which stays in there always and a simple instant read for meats and such.
          I saw a special, very long thermometer for Bundt cakes on some website - was curious if the baking was so different that an internal temp. check was needed above and beyond the usual visual cues and the knife test.

          I'm excited to try it out! Hope the end result isn't too pretty to cut into!
          ; - D

          1. re: meatn3

            I've never taken a cake's temperature - for bundts, like layer and loaf cakes, the toothpick test, and the cake's pulling away from the sides of the pan, are good enough signs of doneness. In general, thicker-mass cakes like bundt and loaf will take longer to bake and may do better at 325 than 350. For example, I have a recipe for an unusual fruitcake which is baked in a bundt or angel food pan at 325 for TWO HOURS. That sounds really long but the time and lower temp are needed to get the interior done without overbaking the outside.

            1. re: meatn3

              I wouldn't consider buying a special thermometer just for bundts, but because they are thicker in mass and are more dense is why I think the digital test would be good idea until you do the recipe in your oven with your new pan at least once. As greygarious posted, your cake will provide some obvious signs of doneness.

              A oven thermometer is very important, in general, and I use a digital for back up, for further accuracy. I've been temping loaves of bread lately, after years of tapping on the bottom and listening for the hollow sound. The internal temp of your cake should read around 200°-208° A slightly lower oven temp will also allow for the bundt cake to bake through; I've been baking my cakes at 340° when the recipe temp calls for 350° (I have a digital control oven and try to match the set temp with my oven thermometer) and testing them; I usually need to add a few minutes to the baking time, but this prevents overbrowning and a tougher crust, and the cake bakes though with no area of undercooked batter.

              Maybe it's just that I like to play with these kitchen thermometer toys more now.

              I do like the time tested toothpick approach, though, or the broomstick straw. I've been using the toothpick method for layer and loaf cakes long before there were instant reads on the market.

              One tip I meant to add earlier is to remove your cakes from the pan after cooling for no more than 5-6 minutes. This will prevent sticking and cake breakage from your deeply crenelated pan. Here's another unmolding explanation from one of my favorite sites:

              http://www.baking911.com/cakes/bundt.htm

              The Spiced Cranberry Bundt linked at the foodlibrarian's blog is from Dorie Greenspan and is especially good for the holidays. Here's the epicurious link:

              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                A cake is supposed to be around 190 deg F, I think? A bamboo skewer is what I've been using lately for Bundt and loaf cakes. I've only temped my fruitcake, too much riding on it $$$-wise to mess that up.

                1. re: buttertart

                  That depends on batter density and mass. Most layers are done at 195-200°, brownies at 175-180°, cheesecakes at 150°, and so on. It can be just a matter of slight trial and error per recipe. Maybe the ole toothpick test really had something going for it.

                  Here's what Rose Levy Beranbaum has to say: "Most layer cakes are baked fully when they reach between 195 and 205 degrees F. Since thermometers vary in accuracy and may be slow to respond, also judge by pressing lightly on the top to see if it springs back and inserting a cake tester. If using a wooden skewer it's fine if a few crumbs still adhere but a metal cake tester when removed should be crumb free."

                  "Most layer cakes should not shrink from the sides of the pan until removed from the oven. There are sometimes exceptions which in my books I am careful to mention."

        2. re: greygarious

          meatn3 -- Don't worry about not doing a search first. Sometimes the search function isn't that easy to use. Plus, some of us like to have a contemporaneous discussion about things.

          One idea for you: monkey bread. You make a sweet bread recipe, cut it into little spheres and then dip them in butter and cinnamon sugar and then put in the pan and bake. You get a neat pull-apart bread and the bundt pan makes it even more interesting. I just saw a recipe for a gingerbread monkey bread. Let me know if you want the link to it.

          1. re: karykat

            I would like the gingerbread monkey bread recipe please. I love ginger in any form!

              1. re: meatn3

                That is indeed the monkey bread recipe. They did a video for it too, which is here:

                http://www.food52.com/blog/1476_monke...

                Let us know if you make it.

          2. Best gingerbread cake EVER...and it gets better a couple of days after baking.

            Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread
            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

            6 Replies
            1. re: MsMaryMc

              I agree. This is one of my favorite cakes. I made one just last week.

              It has been my experience that the hardest thing about this recipe is getting the cake out of the pan after it's baked. Initially, I followed the recipe and just buttered and floured the pan as written. Usually, only half the cake came out. The rest of the cake stuck to the pan. Now, I always spray the pan well with Pam spray for baking (different from the regular Pam spray) and it comes out perfectly every time.

              1. re: MsMaryMc

                Love that gingerbread! It's the first cake I made with my WS bundt pan. It was all I could do to get people to wait til it cooled a bit before they inhaled it.

                1. re: maplesugar

                  It really is good--but if you can fight them off next time, trust me--it's even better after a couple of days!

                  1. re: MsMaryMc

                    Heh next time I'll have to make it when we don't have a crowd in the house :)

                2. re: MsMaryMc

                  MsMaryMc - thank you again! I have made this many times since your post and adore it!

                  1. re: meatn3

                    Happy to help--I found it on this board, too!

                3. Bundt cakes are gret for non-bakers because they are among the easiest cakes to make. And inverting them hides any cracks. :-)
                  A simple oven thermometer is never a bad thing to test the accuracy of your oven.
                  For an easy release, either thoroughly grease and flour or use Baker's Secret spray.

                  Some favourite bundt recipes:

                  Miss Grace Cake Company's Lemon Grove Bundt Cake -This one has been discussed on CH.
                  http://www.food.com/414677

                  Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake (Cook's Illustrated) http://www.food.com/434968

                  Elvis Presley's Favorite Pound Cake http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  The Best Banana Bundt Cake (Dorie Greenspan) http://www.food.com/434380

                  Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake (Dorie Greenspan) http://www.food.com/443748

                  Mary, "The Food Librarian", has a great blog with a special love for bundts. .
                  http://foodlibrarian.blogspot.com/p/i...

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: toveggiegirl

                    Thank you! The foodlibrarian has a new fan! This is really helpful.

                    1. re: meatn3

                      I can vouch for the SK pear bundt on the food librarian blog post. The SK recipe is foolproof and absolutely delicious. I've never added a glaze or frosting (as the photo depicts). That's a beautiful bundt pan!

                      Here's what one blogger made with that pan:
                      http://www.adventuresofanamateurfoodi...

                      1. re: HillJ

                        The pear cake was one that caught my eye. I don't care for fresh pears, but I love the flavor so I tend to cook with them a bit!

                        1. re: meatn3

                          I enjoy pears in all forms but my husband doesn't care for stewed or heated fruit and he loves this bundt cake. I've also made muffins from the same SK recipe and thrown in some chopped crystalized ginger buttons. It's a nice moist, spicy cake.

                          1. re: meatn3

                            Do you have a link to the pear cake recipe?
                            I couldn't fin it here and did a search:
                            http://www.adventuresofanamateurfoodi...

                            1. re: Smachnoho

                              Smachnoho, the pear cake recipe is on both the Smitten Kitchen blog and the Food Librarian blog linked above.

                    2. Even if the pan is non-stick, using Wilton Quick Release will assure that even the stickiest cake batters release completely.

                      http://www.amazon.com/Wilton-702-6016...

                      I have found it for half that price at Chef Central, but it's not in their online shop...

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: roxlet

                        I was thinking of this product and you when I posted upthread. Do you get pretty good mileage out of a bottle? I put it on my wish list.

                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                          Pretty good milage. You have to shake it very well because it separates and it's hard to amalgamate. buttertart stirs hers with a chopstick. It is half the price at Chef Central, so you might try calling them and asking them how much it would cost to ship. It's 3.49 a bottle vs 7 at Amazon. Or maybe a baking/cooking store near you might have it. Also, I just read in one of the threads recently that there is a discussion about this product on the Wilton web site that gives a recipe for something that apparently works as well as the Wilton product. It is some sort of mixture of flour and vegetable shortening. The Wilton product has lecithin though, but I don't know how much difference it would make since I'm not inclined to do the mixture.

                          OK, here is the post by nomadchowoman:

                          Someone may have posted about this before, but I wanted to share. Last month, while I was on the Wilton's site and thinking about ordering some of their Cake Release, I happened upon a comments section where someone had posted a copycat recipe for the CR, and a few other posters had chimed in saying they'd tried it and it was great. Seemed odd that it was on their site, but I said WTH and mixed up a batch, and have used it for all my baking that requires greasing and flouring pans--and yes it works great. Easy, readily available, stays spreadable even stored in the fridge.
                          The "recipe": equal parts (1) solid shortening, such as Crisco, (2) vegetable oil, and (3) flour. Whisk until smooth

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I'll try this! Appreciate you tracking down the tip!

                            1. re: meatn3

                              The Wilton product is very good (even works on my 35-yr-old nonstick no longer small Bundt pan), haven't tried the copycat but I will, since it would be nice to be able to get a brush down into the container.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                How about storing the container upside down?

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  At least in my coolish kitchen, the solid part is stuck to the walls of the bottle. Maybe if I warmed it up just a tad and sqeezed it back into a layer at the bottom, mixing it up, then inverting the bottle, that would work.
                                  Chowhound: the overthinker's refuge...

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    I dunno -- microwave for 10 seconds?

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      I was thinking hottish tap water.

                            2. re: roxlet

                              That mix of shortening and flour (I never used oil in it, that's an interesting addition, bet it would make for a smoother application) is referred to as baker's grease. That's what I normally keep around but I have no problem using something different if I get the same good results. Baker's grease is messier than a release spray but it really works well and it pretty cheap to mix up. I keep it in the frig and let it warm up to room temp and apply it with a pastry brush or paper towel.

                              buttertart, I think warming it in hot water or in the MW for a few would be just fine. You can get a nice thin coat.

                        2. I can give you a simple recipe that seems to be popular any time I make it, but I am in no way to be held responsible for the nutritional repercussions.

                          In the actual bundt pan, I make a yellow cake, replacing about a cup of the liquid with rum. I've used a variety of recipes, and a variety of rums. I've even used a box cake mix and had it turn out ok. I'll probably be chastised severely for this but since you say you're not really a baker, I'm putting the option out there.

                          While the cake is baking, I disolve half a cup of butter, brown sugar (1/2-1 cup, depending upon the consistency I'm going for that day) and stir until it's a syrup. Then, I add in a cup of crushed pineapple. Remove from the heat and stir in another 1/2 cup of rum. You can then return to the heat to cook off the alcohol or not, depending upon your taste and needs.

                          Once the cake is out of the oven, prick it all over with a fork and pour over the glaze. I usually end up with enough to fill the center of the cake. That's fine, it will absorb.

                          It's easy to add or adjust this with things like orange extract, coconut, almonds, etc. depending upon taste. You can add to the cake or the glaze.

                          Either way, it's simple and a recipe you can find all over the internet in various forms, but that doesn't prevent it from tasting really, really good. The good thing I do find about this is that it's rich enough that even though it's not healthy, I'm more likely to enjoy and savor a small piece than I am to eat way too much.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: alitria

                            Pineapple and rum, mmm - whats not to love?! Fruit is part of a nutritious diet, so we've got the healthy part down
                            :-D