Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Making a Bundt Cake

Including how to make sure it releases in one beautiful piece.

December 23, 2022

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Classic Poundcake

Get the Recipe: Classic Pound Cake

Photo by: Virginia Willis ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Right Reserved

Virginia Willis, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Right Reserved

Get the Recipe: Classic Pound Cake

A Bundt is one of the simplest, and yet most impressive cakes with which to celebrate, share or snack. It truly is a wonderfully versatile sweet, as it is equally at home as part of a special holiday dessert spread or on the table after a fabulous dinner party, as it is on the counter, available for nibbling whenever you pass through the kitchen. They are typically quite easy to assemble (think pound cake) and are so stand-alone pretty and festive without even a drop of glaze, or a swoosh of frosting. Of course you can decorate a Bundt to the hilt, if you so desire, but we just want you to know that there is no requirement that you do so.

But despite all the praise we enjoy heaping on the Bundt, questions do arise when making them. How do I properly grease the pan? What kinds of cakes can I Bundt-ify? And everyone’s favorite: how do I release a Bundt cake from its pan in one piece? We’ve got all the answers and more.

What is the shape and size of the ideal Bundt pan?

The ideal Bundt pan is made of sturdy, cast aluminum. It feels substantial when you handle it, but is not too heavy. Nonstick is my preference, though I always grease and flour (or sugar) the pan for insurance (more on that below). A 10- to 12-cup pan is the standard size called for in most recipes. Finally, we love an intricate, beautifully shaped bundt pan as much as the next person. However, if you are a beginner, and anxious about your cake releasing in one piece, or if your cake is filled with fruity bits (which get sticky when baked and can adhere to the sides of the pan), consider using a classically shaped pan with a simpler design.

What is the best way to prepare a Bundt pan so it releases easily?

Although you can grease a Bundt pan with butter or shortening, I prefer nonstick cooking spray. An actual baking spray is nice, too, since it includes flour. But because it is not the most pantry-friendly of ingredients, I recommend generously greasing your pan with regular nonstick spray, followed by a generous sprinkling of all-purpose flour, granulated sugar or cocoa powder (for everyone’s fave: the chocolate Bundt). Once sprinkled, tap the pan upside down over the sink to remove any excess coating. Be sure, however, that all the nooks and crannies of your pan are covered and don’t be afraid to spray and sprinkle a stubborn spot or two that still look a bit naked.

Slice of yogurt bundt cake served with a cup of coffee with milk

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Slice of yogurt bundt cake served with a cup of coffee with milk

Photo by: ASIFE/Getty

ASIFE/Getty

What kinds of cake recipes are the most Bundt-friendly?

Although we wish we could tell you that you can convert any cake you’d like into one of the Bundt variety, the truth is a more complicated. In fact, the ideal cake for a Bundt pan is relatively dense (in a good way – again, like a pound cake) with a tight crumb. Fluffy cakes (think cake-mix cakes) don’t have enough structure to be Bundt’ed and although I can’t say it will never work, I don’t recommend it. Honestly, the best rule of thumb is to make Bundt cakes from Bundt cake recipes and layer, sheet, loaf, and snacking cakes from recipes developed for each of those particular pans.

What’s the best way to fill a Bundt pan with batter?

If your recipe calls for about 3 cups of flour (give or take) and you are using a 10 to 12-cup pan, your batter should reach about 3/4 of the way up your pan. After filling it, use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to even and smooth out the batter. You can also drag the spatula or spoon through the center of the batter, creating a divot, as this may help ensure a flat bottom. Once filled, dropping the pan from a height of a few inches onto the counter will help release any air bubbles in the batter.

How long should my Bundt cake bake?

After you place the pan in the oven, access your inner-patient person (if you have one), as Bundts can take a long time to bake (typically 55 to 65 minutes, but this can vary). Once baked, test the cake for doneness with a long wooden skewer. We prefer these to toothpicks, which are just too short for the tall, dramatic Bundt. And we also prefer them to metal cake testers, which are too smooth to catch the one or two moist crumbs that the wooden skewer easily grabs, indicating your patience has paid off, and that your cake is ready to be pulled from the oven.

What is the best way to release my Bundt from its pan?

First things first, once removed from the oven, let your freshly baked cake rest for about 5 to 10 minutes on a cooling rack. Once rested, I like to gently (so as not to tear the cake or scrape the pan’s nonstick coating), run a butter knife or small offset spatula around the edges and inner tube of the pan. I then advise placing a cooling rack over the cake and, using pot-holder’ed hands, flipping the cake over on to the rack. If the cake does not easily release from the pan once flipped, you can try tapping the pan, gently shaking it, or even returning it to the still warm oven for a minute or two. But if you have prepped your pan properly (as we know you have!) you shouldn’t have any problems. And if you do, and a little bit of the cake sticks to the pan, you can try pressing the piece back into the cake and the warmth of each will work to adhere them back together. Or, if you glaze that cutie or top her in whipped cream, we guarantee that no one will be the wiser.

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