Bundt cake is kind of an odd pastry item because it’s one of the only recipes I can think of that is named for the pan it’s baked in rather than the other way around (if any of you out there can think of others, let me know!). Despite what anyone might tell you, Bundt cake can be any kind of cake at all, as long as it’s made in the fluted, donut mold we’ve all seen a million times called a Bundt pan.
a little history of the Bundt
A Bundt pan is a fluted, ring-shaped baking mold who’s modern interpretation is often used when making cakes with low gluten content like chiffon or Angel food. Since the cake bakes in a ring form, it has the benefit of using the pan walls in the center to help give it some rise.
There’s no exact recipe connected to the creation of the Bundt cake. Like I said, it’s really about the shape of the baking vessel rather than what you put in it. Still, there’s no denying an aesthetic connection Bundt pans have to Kugelhopf molds. Kugelhopf (or Gugelhupf) is a traditional sweet bread similar to brioche that was born in and around Austria, Switzerland, the Alsace region of France and the Bavarian region of Germany. Somewhere around all that. The History of Kugelhopf is a topic for another day, so let’s get back to Bundts.
While the absolute origin of the fluted ring mold of a Bundt pan is unclear and very old, the actual Bundt pans we’re all so familiar with were without a doubt created in the 1950s by a dude named H. David Dalquist. He was the owner of the Nordic Ware Co. (some of their products I even suggest for purchase throughout my blog!) and wanted to capitalize on a revitalized U.S. economy and the real birth of the modern cultural identity of America as realized through housewives from coast to coast. The 1950s and 60s were an era of new empowerment and experimentation in the kitchen, and eventually the Bundt pan became as indispensable as Tupperware, if not as useful. Real talk, I barely ever use mine and I’m a f*cking pastry chef!
OK so most of us have one even if we don’t use it much, but what the hell kind of name is Bundt, anyway? It’s a trademarked word, for starters. Nordic Ware owns the name and the most obvious root for it is the German “bund.” Just like everything else about these pans, the original interpretation for bund is up for debate. It has Germanic meanings referring to band, or bound and that could reference the dough placed in the pan or the look of the baked product created from the walls of the pan. Whatever the reason for bund people suspect good ‘ol Dalquist slapped a “t” on the end of the word so he could trademark it in the first place. Braniac!
One last note to the story, the Bundt pan of Nordic Ware design got its big break when a Pillsbury bake-off silver medal winner used the pan for their recipe entry. All of a sudden all the kids on the block needed a Bundt. And today, we’re going to be cool kids and make a Bundt of our very own.
Our Bundt cake will be a pound cake recipe that comes from a very good friend of mine and an amazing chef, Donald Wressell. Donald is the most talented pastry chef you’ve never heard of, because he’s so damn humble. But in the pastry world of those in the know, he’s a BFD. He was nice enough to let me share his recipe with you (with little tweaks by yours truly) so if you seem him on the street, tell him thanks!
I chop my chocolate to add to this recipe because I pretty much always do. I like all the little pieces and the way the chocolate dust melds into the batter. If you’d like to add chips, go right ahead! I’ve also chosen a dark chocolate combination because I think the bitterness pairs nicely with the richness of the pound cake and sweetness of the glaze, but again any percentage you’d like to use is fair game.
The ganache we’re making today will be formulated specifically to glaze the tops of the bundt cakes with. If you’d rather use milk or dark chocolate you can, but you’ll have to adjust the amount of liquid as well to maintain the same overall viscosity.
The baking time I specify for the pound cake is based off of the relatively small cavity size of my baking molds. A full size bundt pan will likely take quite a bit longer to bake, and may need tin foil placed over the top after the half way point of baking to prevent the exposed cake from burning while it bakes.
chocolate peppermint bundt cake
175g all purpose flour
186g whole eggs
2g baking powder
5g vanilla extract
40g coffee brewed
35g chocolate 72%
35g chocolate 85%
6g peppermint oil
Bring the butter, whole eggs and buttermilk to room temperature before getting started. You’ll also want to brew your coffee to be used later on in the recipe.
Combine the butter, salt and sugar and sand them in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. I say sand and not cream because there’s so much sugar the butter will never really cream.
Switch to a whip attachment and add the whole eggs to the butter mixture, whisking until emulsified.
Combine and sift the all-purpose flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and add half of it to the batter.
Mix until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, then add the buttermilk, vanilla extract, coffee and peppermint oil. At this point the batter will appear separated or “broken” because it is. There’s just too much liquid in it at the moment but as soon as you add more dry ingredients it will thicken
Add the rest of the dry ingredients aaaand…don’t call it a comeback! The batter is all better now.
Add the chopped chocolate and fold it in by hand.
Cast your batter into your bundt pan. Or in my case, a bundt-shaped silicone baking mold. I do what I want. You’ll want to fill the mold about ¾ – 4/5 full. I think a disposable piping bag is the best way to do it.
Bake at 188C/370F for 15minutes then rotate the pan and bake 15minutes more*
*If you’re using a full-sized Bundt pan you will most likely bake the cake much longer than 30min (but maybe not so always remember to check the cake with a cake tester or paring knife). If you find the cake taking a long time to bake, place tin foil over the top of it to keep the exposed cake from burning while it finishes baking.
white chocolate glazing ganache
60g whole milk
20g sweetened condensed milk
20g butter unsalted
230g white chocolate
Combine the whole milk and sweetened condensed milk and bring to a boil. Because it’s such a small amount of liquid, I usually just do this in the microwave.
Pour the hot milk over the white chocolate, and give a little shake to the bowl to allow the chocolate to settle. Place the butter on top and let everything sit for 2-3minutes.
Whisk or hand blend the mixture until it is nice and glossy, a sign of good emulsification.
Crush some candy canes and keep them handy for the final touch. I found my cocktail muddler worked pretty damn good. A mortar and pestle or a heavy cooking pan would work too…
Freeze the bundt cakes and then unmold them. I gave the bases a little trim so they would sit flat. Place the cakes onto a sheet pan that’s been lined with plastic wrap and then a glazing rack.
Transfer the chocolate ganache to a piping bag if you want to be clean and efficient! Otherwise you can keep the ganache in the bowl and simply pour it over the bundt cakes. I decided to pipe because I’m fancy like that.
Pipe or pour or whatever the ganache onto the tops of the bundt cakes. I pipe a little more onto the inside ring of the cake than the outside. I like the visual effect of the glaze not quite coating the outside of the cake, but by all means, give the suckers as much ganache as you want.
Let the ganache set for 2-3min and sprinkle the bundt cakes with crushed candy cane. I like the finer texture of the candy cake. Again, all about personal choice.
There you go! If this doesn’t say “holidays” then I give up.