When it comes to elegant yet easy desserts, Bundt cakes usually take, well, the cake. That’s because they’re baked in decorative, fluted pans that produce stunning cakes without any extra decorating. Typically, a drizzle of frosting or a sprinkle of powdered sugar is all you need to finish it off.
Popularized in the 1960s, Bundt cakes have become an American classic. Today, there are a spectrum of pans that vary in size, material and decorative elements. How do you know which is the best Bundt pan? Here are our tips, along with recommendations from our Test Kitchen staff, so you’ll be ready to make one of our best Bundt cakes.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Bundt Pan
When browsing for Bundt pans, you’ll find everything from metal and glass to stoneware and silicone. While there are a variety of options, there’s only one true winner in this category: aluminum. Aluminum pans are plentiful for a reason—they’re simply the best at conducting heat and preventing the outside from overbrowning.
Though they’re pretty, glass and stoneware pans can throw off your baking times and ruin your cake. And while silicone pans can easily release the cake once baked, they are too unstable for a heavy Bundt cake batter, meaning they won’t hold the decorative shape well.
Choose an aluminum pan that’s light in color, which will help from overbrowning. Dark metal pans cook the outside of the cake much faster, leading to uneven baking. Here’s what you need to know about dark vs. light baking pans.
Size & Shape
The size of your pan depends upon your recipe. Most recipes call for a 10-12 cup pan, but some may go up to 15 cups! You can also find recipes for mini Bundt cakes, aka baby Bundts.
To see how large your Bundt pan is, here’s an easy trick: Take your measuring cup and fill the pan one cup at a time until it’s full. Keep in mind that the actual batter should only fill about ⅔ of your pan. Filling it more than that can lead to messy overflows, while underfilling will produce a short, squat cake.
Test Kitchen Recommendation: Cuisinart Bundt pans. They offer an array of sizes and heavy-duty options that are easy to clean.
With so many cracks and crevices, Bundt cakes are known to stick in the pan while turning them out. That’s why it’s best to find a pan that features a nonstick coating. The coating will help release the cake, but you’ll still need to grease and flour every nook and cranny to ensure your cake comes out cleanly. (Here’s how to properly grease a Bundt pan.)
Like other nonstick coatings, you can’t use any metal utensils on the surface. Choose a rubber spatula to help release the cake if needed.
Test Kitchen Recommendation: Calphalon. This affordable and reliable Bundt pan will help prevent your cakes from sticking—just remember to grease it well.
When it comes to choosing a design, there are nearly endless options! Whether you’re looking for something plain and unadorned or a pan that features swirls, flowers or even holiday-themed decorations, there’s a Bundt pan for you. Take a peek at some of our favorite decorative Bundt pans.
Keep in mind that the more nooks and crannies a pan has, the more spots a cake can stick. If your pan is elaborate, make sure you don’t skimp on greasing and flouring your pan. Using a pastry brush to get into the smaller cracks can help.
Test Kitchen Recommendation: Nordic Ware. The original producer of the Bundt pan, Nordic Ware has a line of Bundt cake designs for show-stopping cakes.
Whatever your budget, there’s an array of pans that will work for your cake. Most Bundt pans fall in the range of $5-$30. You can find a smaller, less sturdy pan for under $10, but some of the more popular, extravagantly designed options can top $30!
Test Kitchen Recommendation: Wilton. For a pan on a budget, this Wilton pan comes in at about $10 and has earned rave reviews.
While they’re not a necessary feature, handles can make a big difference in the use of the pan. Since the pan itself is a slightly awkward shape, convenient handles can make it easier to remove the cake from the oven and turn the cake out once cooled.