How to Choose the Best Bundt Pan

Choose the best pan for your favorite dessert.

Rum-Glazed Sweet Potato Cakes
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck

Unlike a tall layer cake, a beautifully shaped Bundt cake needs no fancy embellishment; the distinctive shape of the pan gives the cake an interesting design that can be highlighted with a light glaze, a drizzle of powdered sugar, or simply left unadorned. Making a homemade cake takes time, money, and effort, so you want to make sure you start with a great cake recipe, the best ingredients, and the best cake pan. Here are a few tips on choosing the best Bundt pan.

1. Material Matters: Choose a pan that's nonstick, metal, and not too dark. These features are important in baking a cake that releases cleanly from the pan. Aluminum pans are the best, since they conduct heat well; conversely, avoid glass Bundt pans, as they do not conduct heat as well. You will also find a larger selection in terms of size and design if you choose an aluminum pan. Pick a lighter colored metal pan to prevent the over-browning that often occurs with the darker pans. Furthermore, choose a pan with a nonstick finish. Even though you will still need to grease and flour (or use a baking spray) your pan before baking, a nonstick finish will give you added protection against a cake sticking to the sides of the pan.

2. Size Matters: A 10 to 12 cup Bundt pan is the standard for most recipes. Some pans can be purchased in the 15-cup capacity, and baby Bundts are sold with six to 12 molds in one pan. These make beautiful single cakes that are great for a party, gift bags, or for freezing individually. Do you already have a Bundt pan but aren't sure of it's capacity? Here is an easy trick: Using a liquid measuring cup, fill your pan with water, all the way to the rim. The number of cups of water you use will give you the capacity of your pan. Note: this does NOT mean you can put that much cake batter in the pan without the batter overflowing as it rises.

3. Design Preferences: Bundt pans can be plain and unadorned, or an intricately designed piece of architecture. The more detailed the design, however, the more areas you have for the cake to stick. Take the time to grease and flour the Bundt pan carefully; a small pastry brush is helpful with treating every little crack and crevice of the pan.

Now that you have your ideal Bundt pan, choose one of these delicious Bundt cake recipes and start baking.

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