Ornate ring-shaped Bundt cakes are a familiar favorite across the U.S., but you won't find them in many of your vintage cookbooks. That's because the pans themselves date only from the 1950s, when the Nordic Ware company created them as a modern variation on vintage European "gugelhopf" pans. The detailed patterning on the pans can sometimes make it difficult to extract your cake in one piece, but a few basic tips will help.
When your cake comes out of the oven, it's still hot enough to steam inside your pan. That steam will help loosen the cake, if you let it. Instead of a cooling rack, set your cake first on a kitchen towel soaked in hot water. After a minute -- or up to 10 minutes, for recipes with a history of sticking -- the cake should release easily. Place a cooling rack over the pan, then invert the pan. Your cake should fall out easily, aided by gravity. If it doesn't, hold the pan at an angle and tap gently. It should move freely, except for the stuck spot. Use a thin silicone spatula or wooden scraper to help free the stuck-on spot.
The Ounce of Prevention
Most modern-day Bundt pans have an effective non-stick coating, but cakes can sometimes still stubbornly cling to the pan. For the surest release, coat your pan thinly but thoroughly with shortening and then flour. Use a brush to make sure you get into all the pan's nooks and crannies. This is a longtime professional's trick, one that's endorsed in the How-To videos posted on Nordic Ware's own site. Pay special attention to the spot where the central chimney joins the rest of the pan. That's often where cakes will stick, if given the opportunity.
Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.