Everyone loves a beautiful Bundt cake. They look absolutely stunning and they’re much less work than a layer cake. As easy as Bundt cakes are to stir up and bake, there’s always some stress that comes along with taking one out of the pan. All the grooves and designs in those pretty Bundt pans can make getting your cake out of there in one piece a challenge. But our Test Kitchen’s Bundt expert Catherine Ward has lots of tips on how you can get your cake out in one piece and looking perfect.
First Things First: Grease Your Bundt Pan Properly
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The best way to ensure your cake comes out of the pan cleanly is to grease it well from the start. Catherine and our Test Kitchen staff always use shortening to grease Bundt pans—yes, even ones with nonstick coating.
To grease a Bundt pan, take a dollop of shortening on a paper towel and wipe the interior of the pan. You want to get into every nook and cranny. Then dust with flour and tap away the excess. “You don’t want any clumps,” Catherine says. If you see any misses, just regrease and flour again.
If you’re making a chocolate Bundt cake, swap out the flour for cocoa powder. It’ll help your cake retain its rich chocolate color (flour can make it look a bit pale).
Test Kitchen tip: Don’t use butter to grease your pan. The milk solids in butter can cling to the pan and cause your cake to stick.
Cool Before Flipping
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When you remove your cake from the oven, don’t flip it out of the pan right away! Instead, let the cake cool for ten minutes in the pan. Then, placing the wire rack over the base of the cake, invert the pan.
Peek under the wire rack and see if the cake has dropped out. If it has, wonderful news! Remove the pan and let the cake cool completely.
Cake Not Coming Out? Give it a Bang
If the cake doesn’t immediately come out of the pan after turning it over, there’s no need to stress. “Just give it a bang,” Catherine says.
That’s right: Lay a dishtowel on your countertop and (gently) bang the edges of your pan. This can help loosen up the cake from the sides of the pan. This technique is particularly helpful if you baked a fruit-filled Bundt cake recipe. Sometimes fruits can stick to the pan. They just need a little encouragement to release.
No Luck? Let Gravity Do its Job
When turning and tapping don’t work, all that’s left to do is let gravity do the work. “Just flip it and let it sit,” according to Catherine. “Check on it after five to ten minutes.”
During that time, the cake has a chance to cool, contract and release from the pan.
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Despite our best efforts, sometimes Bundt cakes just don’t come out all in one piece. It’s OK! It happens to the best of us.
If you find that just a small chunk (or a few chunks) of the cake is stuck, just patch it together while the cake is still warm. The heat and stickiness of the cake can bind it together. Disguise any imperfections with a simple glaze or icing.
But what if your cake totally stuck or is a big flop? “If your Bundt cake is a total fail, turn it into a delicious trifle,” according to Catherine. All you have to do is cube up the cooled cake and layer with cream, custard and fruit. No one will be the wiser and you’ll still have a tasty dessert.
Whether your cake comes out perfectly or is destined to become a trifle, Catherine has one big piece of advice: “Always serve it with pride.”