What Is a Bundt Cake? Here’s How It’s Different Than Other Cakes

Find yourself wondering what is a Bundt cake, anyways? We've got the answer and much more about these highly decorative (but super simple) cakes.

Craving cake? You’ve got lots of options ranging from a simple sheet cake to dainty cupcakes to towering layer cakes. And if you want fancy without a lot of fuss, you can never go wrong with a Bundt cake. But what is a Bundt cake exactly?

What Is a Bundt Cake?

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Bundt cakes are cakes baked in a particular type of cake pan. These pans are ring-shaped and highly decorative. Bundt cakes may take the form of coffee cakes or pound cakes. In general, these cakes are denser than light and airy sponge cakes. This structure helps the cakes bake well in the specially designed pans.

And what about the name? Bundt cake comes from the German word bundkuchen, which roughly translates into “a cake for gatherings.” Since these cakes are large enough to feed a whole crowd and look perfectly pretty for parties, we’d say it’s an apt name!

Types of Bundt Cakes

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The term Bundt refers to the pan this cake is baked in rather than the specific flavor of the cake itself. Bundt pans are typically made of aluminum, but you’ll find silicone fluted cake pans out there as well. These pans come in many sizes, too. You can have a standard pan that’ll feed a crowd, mini cake pans that serve two or even teeny tiny Bundts for one.

Which Bundt pan you choose depends largely on the size of cake you want and the design. Let it be known that pans with softer curves are better for beginners; it can be challenging to remove cakes from the more intricate pans.

The joy of these decorative cake pans is that you can bake all sorts of recipes! Try everything from a red velvet pound cake to a blueberry coffee cake to a lemon poppy seed Bundt cake.

How to Make a Bundt Cake

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Learning how to make a Bundt cake from scratch is easy. These cakes typically follow the same methods you’d use to make a standard pound cake or birthday cake. The recipe you choose will specify the exact steps, but in general, most Bundt cake recipes follow this outline:

  1. Cream butter and sugar: A hand mixer or stand mixer is the best tool for the job. And don’t forget to cream butter and sugar for at least five minutes to give your cake the best texture.
  2. Add eggs: After creaming, add in the eggs (room temperature for best results!).
  3. Alternate dry and wet ingredients: Next, you’ll add in the dry ingredients and any wet ingredients alternately until just combined. Overmixing will cause your cake to be rubbery. And be sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl!
  4. Fold in extras: If your cake calls for any mix-ins like nuts, fruit or chocolate, give those extras a quick toss in flour; this will help evenly distribute them in the batter and prevent them all from sinking. Then fold in until combined.
  5. Bake: Bundt pans are large and hold a lot of cake batter. Most Bundt cakes take 45 minutes or more to bake. You can test if your cake is done with a toothpick or long skewer.

Again, the specific steps may vary slightly from recipe to recipe, but know that making Bundt cakes from scratch is super easy. And if you want something even simpler, many Bundt recipes start with a box of cake mix like these: pistachio cake, easy lemon tube cake, chocolate Bundt cake and even this margarita pound cake.

And if you have any questions while you stir up your recipes, check out our Test Kitchen’s best Bundt cake tips. Our pros know these cakes inside and out.

The Best Bundt Cake Recipes

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When it comes to these pans, there are so many delicious Bundt cake recipes out there to fill them. You’ll find that many pound cakes and coffee cakes can be made in your favorite decorative fluted pan.

If none of these recipes quite fit the bill, you can bake many regular cake recipes in a Bundt pan. Our Test Kitchen’s best advice is to steer clear of angel food cakes and chiffon cakes, otherwise, you should be good to go with the proper adjustments.

How to Get a Cake Out of a Bundt Pan

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The trickiest part of making a Bundt cake is getting the cake out of the pan in one piece. The best way to ensure your dessert comes out looking as pretty as your pan’s design is to learn how to grease a Bundt pan.

To grease the pan well, coat the inside with a layer of shortening. You can wipe it on with a clean dishcloth or paper towel. If you like, you can also melt the shortening and brush it on the inside of the pan with a pastry brush. Once you have all the nooks and crannies greased, dust the interior with flour, then tap out any excess. Your pan is then ready to fill.

When the cake is fully baked, remove it from the oven and place on a wire rack. Don’t flip it yet! Let the cake cool for 10 minutes. Then you can invert it.

Peek under the pan and see if the cake has loosened. If it hasn’t, don’t worry. You’ll just have to learn how to get a cake out of a Bundt pan with a few tricks from our Test Kitchen. Start by laying a clean kitchen towel on the counter and tapping the pan on top. A few firm taps on each side can help dislodge any bits of batter that might be keeping the cake from budging.

If this doesn’t work, be patient! Leave the pan inverted and revisit in another 10 minutes. As the cake cools, it will contract and likely come free from the pan on its own.

Bundt Cake Decorations

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What makes Bundt pans so special is that the cakes they create don’t need a lot of extras. Bundt pans come in so many lovely designs that you really don’t need to fuss with much more than a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar on top.

However, if you want to go above and beyond, you can frost a Bundt cake. You can finish any cake baked in a decorative pan with a simple glaze. You can also frost the top with your favorite buttercream or even pipe a simple design a la Nothing Bundt Cakes.

If frosting isn’t your style but you still want a little something extra, try finishing your cake with slices of fresh fruit, edible flowers or even sugared cranberries. These all add some stunning seasonal flair.

Get Baking with These Bundt Cake Recipes

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.