Bundt pans are the 1950 Nordic Ware creation designed to pay homage to traditional ceramic molded baking pans of Germany, Austria, and Hungary. The traditional style is a fluted ring shape and works well for pound cakes and coffee cakes. In 1966 a Bundt pan was used in a Pillsbury baking contest, and the cake (the famous “Tunnel of Fudge” cake) won 2nd place. After this, the pan became the most popular baking pan in America, and in the 1970’s Pillsbury put out a line of baking mixes exclusively for Bundts. Other manufacturers began to create their own fluted tube pans, and Nordic Ware (still the best) began issuing new and even more elaborate molds.
Bundts have become such an iconic cake in American culinary and cultural history, that some of the original pans are now in the Smithsonian, and you can celebrate National Bundt Pan day on November 15th. Probably with a Bundt cake.
I officially have an obsession with Bundt pans.
I can trace the evolution of how this came to be, if I really think about it.
A few years ago I made a jokey New Year’s resolution to make 500 cupcakes before the year was over. I didn’t quite make it…nor did I make it the following year, when I tried it again “for real this time”…but somehow during that foolishness I started to become known for cupcakes, and began to enjoy the art of flour and eggs and mixing and frosting and (mostly) feeding other people. That led to an interest in cake decorating (uhm, those roses are hard)…which led to signing up for a 4 week baking series class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts…which led to new worlds of breads and pies and tarts and pate a choux. Wonderful worlds.
The ironic thing is, I don’t really like cake, and I am utterly unmoved by chocolate. Women that love chocolate embarrass me a little. What I do love is bread. Quiche. Savory Gruyère and scallion pate a choux. Cheddar jalapeno cornbread. And, it turns out, cakes in flavors of lemon and vanilla and coconut with fruits and nuts. Thin glaze encouraged. And if I can have these cakes, and ALSO have them look lovely in fluted shapes…or cathedrals, chrysanthemums, evergreens, or kugelhopfs with no overly-sweet frosting…well that’s a cake I can be friends with.
Also, the colorful vintage Bundt pans I have been stockpiling from thrift stores, yard sales, and a certain internet auction site are going to look great on my new kitchen wall when I finally take the time to hang them up….and I will…when I am done buying them.
I had some overripe bananas recently and decided to make Banana Bundt Cake from Dorie Greenspan’s marvelous “Baking: From My Home to Yours”. Traditional Nordic Ware 12 cup fluted Bundt pan. No nuts. No fuss.
My plants supported this cake.