How to Make a Bundt Cake
Learn how to make a Bundt cake perfectly every time with tips from our Test Kitchen. Just remember to save us a slice.
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The Bundt pan is easily the prettiest pan in the kitchen, with its deep fluted edges that create a beautiful mold. But baking in a Bundt pan can seem daunting, whether you’re making a simple chocolate cake or stunning spice cake. Our Test Kitchen breaks down how to make a Bundt cake with step-by-step instructions and plenty of helpful tips that will work no matter what cake you’re baking. Follow along with our fan-favorite buttermilk pound cake recipe that serves as a perfect example for most Bundt cake recipes.
What Is a Bundt Cake?
But if the recipe you want to make wasn’t specifically written with a Bundt pan in mind, don’t fret—know that you can bake a regular cake in a Bundt pan too, depending on the recipe. Pound cakes, coffee cakes, and sheet and layer cakes with denser batters all work in Bundt pans. However, sponge cakes, chiffon cakes, angel food cakes and other whipped, egg white-based batters won’t hold up.
How to Bake a Bundt Cake
Tools You’ll Need
In addition to your favorite Bundt pan, there are a few tools that will make baking the prettiest Bundt, well, a piece of cake.
- Bundt pan: Pick a Bundt pan that’s aluminum, not glass, silicone or stoneware. Here’s more about how to choose the perfect Bundt pan.
- Cooling rack: When you’re removing the cake from the Bundt pan, flip it onto a cooling rack. Once it cools, you’re ready to frost or glaze.
- Cake turntable: Spin the cake on a turntable as you frost (or glaze) so the frosting goes on evenly.
Step 1: Prepare the pan
The trickiest part of baking any Bundt cake comes not in the baking itself, but in the prep work, since Bundt cakes rely on a perfect release to show off their pattern. If you don’t prep your pan well, you risk having half the cake stick.
Grease your pan with shortening and flour before adding batter. Check out our step-by-step guide to how to grease a Bundt pan for more tips.
Did You Know? The space in the center of a Bundt pan isn’t just for decoration. The hole allows more surface area of the cake to be in contact with the oven’s heat. This means that very sugary or buttery cakes—like fruitcake or pound cake—can fully cook in the center without getting too brown on the outside.
Step 2: Cream sugar and softened butter
Using our buttermilk pound cake recipe, the next step after greasing the Bundt pan is to cream softened butter and sugar. Creaming simply means mixing (or rather, beating) these two ingredients together really well. To get started, grab your beaters and a large bowl. The end result should be evenly light and fluffy throughout, which normally takes about 5 to 7 minutes of beating. Here are more tips on how to cream butter and sugar.
Test Kitchen Tip: If you’ve forgotten to soften your butter, scrape a cold stick from the fridge through a box grater. This will shred the butter into tiny pieces that soften much faster.
Step 3: Add the eggs
If your recipe calls for eggs, crack them into a bowl. Pour them one at a time into your buttery creamed mixture. Beat the batter after each addition.
Step 4: Add remaining ingredients, alternating between wet and dry
After combining the butter, sugar and eggs, you’ll likely still have ingredients like flour, baking soda, extracts, buttermilk, sour cream or oil to add to the Bundt cake batter. Alternate between adding the wet and dry ingredients, beating between each.
The usual way to alternate leftover wet and dry ingredients is to add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the bowl, then 1/2 of the wet, 1/3 of the dry, the other half of the wet, and finally the last of the dry. This ensures that liquid and dry ingredients are incorporated smoothly. Mix until the dough is blended and smooth, but don’t overmix as it can make your Bundt cake tough.
Test Kitchen Tip: Want to add berries or nuts? Now’s the time. Give them a quick dusting of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your pan. Then gently fold them into the batter. Don’t beat them in (again, overmixing can make the cake tough).
Step 5: Bake the Bundt cake
Pour the batter in the pan evenly and put it in the oven. Most Bundt cakes bake for anywhere from 45 minutes all the way up to 1-1/2 hours. Bundts are often high in sugar, so they’d over-brown if baked at a typical oven temperature of 350°F. Some Bundts bake as low as 300°.
No matter the recipe, you’ll know your Bundt is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Finishing the Cake
How to tell if a Bundt cake is done
To test the doneness of the cake, do the toothpick test by sticking in a toothpick. If it’s got any batter or stickiness on it, it needs more time in the oven. Start with an additional 5 minutes and test again. When the toothpick comes out clean, it’s done.
How to remove a cake from a Bundt pan
Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool in its pan for 15 minutes. Then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. To get the cake out of the pan, we like to put a wire rack over the opening. Hold one hand flat on the bottom of cake pan, and put the other hand over the cooling rack. Moving quickly and smoothly, flip your hands so the cake pan is on top. The cake should slide out on its own. If it doesn’t, let it sit for another few minutes and then try again.
Test Kitchen Tip: Follow your recipe’s cooling instructions, and be patient! The recommended cooling time allows air to circulate around the cake so moisture doesn’t build up and make the cake soggy. Here are more common cake mistakes to avoid.
How to frost a Bundt cake
Frosting a Bundt cake is particularly easy because you can let the cake’s shape speak for itself. Drizzle on icing or ganache, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, or pipe cream cheese frosting along the ridges. A combination of berries and cream is a good choice, too.
Tips for Making a Bundt Cake
How should you store Bundt cakes?
Like most cakes, you can store Bundt cakes at room temperature in an airtight container. Catherine recommends this cake container—it has a handle that makes it easy to transport.
Can you make Bundt cakes ahead of time?
Thanks to the greater ratio of rich ingredients like eggs, butter and sour cream, heavier cakes such as a pound cake or coffee cake can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. Lighter cakes baked in a Bundt pan, like a cake from a box mix, shouldn’t be made more than a a day ahead of time so it will still be moist when you serve it.
If you want to plan even further ahead, you can make, bake and freeze an unfrosted Bundt cake for up to a month. Place a completely cooled Bundt cake on a baking tray lined with waxed paper or parchment and freeze for 8 hours. Wrap it with plastic wrap and then foil, and freeze for up to a month. When you’re ready to serve the Bundt cake, pull it out of the freezer and unwrap it at least 4 hours ahead of time, letting it thaw at room temperature. Frost it and you’re ready to go!