Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ode to a Bundt Pan

There was a time when I was the King of the Bundt Cakes.   My venerable Bundt pan was the very first cake pan I purchased when I was outfitting my post-college apartment.   I remember baking a luscious, slightly tipsy sherry cake for a Christmas Tea.   That impossibly tall and beautifully sculpted creation made for one festive holiday cake.  

The Bundt pan is a post-modern work of art and engineering.  The concentric design of wide and slender scallops creates a buxom mountain range of sheer confectionary delight.   Let’s be blunt about the Bundt – it requires very little talent to achieve success.   Be it a scratch cake, a boozy delight, the renowned “Tunnel of Fudge” or an otherwise pedestrian cake mix, the Bundt pan delivers perfect results every time.  

Some traditionalists scoff at the non-stick surface, but I reveled in the results.   Imagine the sheer delight hearing that inverted cake effortlessly “thump” onto the cooling rack. 
In thirty years, my Bundt pan got a lot of mileage – family dinners, church events, holiday celebrations, birthdays, and potluck suppers.   It was the perfect contribution cake - easily portable, and serving hundreds, or so it seemed.   For anyone with even a slightly unsteady hand, those lovely ridges delineated both a slim line and super-sized portion. 

Then one day, the magic died.   There was no effortless “thump” onto the cooling rack.   The cake split in two, and I had to scrape the remains from the pan.   It happened again, severely challenging my “Bundt cake for Dummies” theory.   Here’s the distressing truth – a non-stick surface does not last forever.  

It took me some time to come to grips with the fact that my beloved Bundt was just past its prime.   Finally, I came to the grim realization that the Bundt pan would have to be retired.   I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, headed for Target, and shelled out 15 bucks for a spanking new non-stick Bundt pan.   
And, for an added level of insurance, I picked up a can of Pam for Baking on the way home.   
Now, we’re in the midst of a Bundt Cake renaissance.  A blueberry buttermilk Bundt Cake was dense and delicious.
A Pumpkin Spice Cake towered at the Restoration Farm Pot Luck Dinner.  
A Blood Orange Yogurt Pound Cake released from the pan in so stealth a manner that I didn’t even hear it drop.  
I’m already debating the Christmas Cake.  What will it be?  An Eggnog Bundt Cake?   A Pumpkin Pecan Cake?  Or a Noel Fruit Cake?   Whatever the recipe, I know the curvaceous lines will never fail to impress my guests.

Thanks to my new purchase, I’ve regained my title as the King of the Bundt Cakes again.   But, I can’t seem to part with my original pan.   I’ve considered donating it to the Smithsonian, but I’m not sure their curator is on the edge of his seat awaiting my call.

But, I think my original Bundt has earned a place of honor on my family room wall.   There were an awful lot of sweet celebrations that rose from that old Bundt of mine.

©2012 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Anonymous said...

Hahahahahhahahha,...Well done for your older retired Bundt-pan! Yeah for new one's & new successes too! :)

All of your showned Bundt cakes look fantastic & ooh so appetizing too! I thought you would have bought a silicon Bundt pan. You don't have to grease them & they are so easy to use too! :) I only have mini silicon bundt pans & love it so much!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I had no idea they died. They always seemed to me the miracle pan that always performed. Thank goodness for Target.

An eggnog bundt cake? Count me in!

Gloria Baker said...

Omy I love bundt pans and now I have only one and was thinking in buy other my is of silicone and sometimes die:(
I use mine to desserts and cakes and like you to every time! Love this post!!

Kat said...

I am surprised my self that I do not, nor have ever owned one of those coveted bundt cake pans. I have a very old aluminum cake pan for angel food cake that I make my bundt style cakes in, mostly the cream cheese pound cake that everyone loves. Your cakes look lovely! Glad they still sell them things, so you may carry on your tradition!

Kat said...

I can use the old pan to make a centerpiece for your table by putting some artificial flowers in, or hand it on the wall! (just kidding)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Oh, yes, you must keep the old pan. It brought a lot of good juju to your kitchen, and it still can, even if it just doesn't want to bake any more.

Kathy said...

LOL--I am also strangely attached to my own Bundt pan of that era as well TW. So far mine is still working, but maybe I haven't made as many cakes as you have. Picked up a couple of replacements at tag sales for the day when it does die. I have a similar attachment to my matching Rival Crock-Pot.

Zany said...

I've never considered using a Bundt pan until this post. That blueberry Bundt looks so amazing that I just might have to add a pan to my shopping list today and make it myself (the crazy things pregnant women do!).

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

I'm glad to know it's not just me who "ruined" a Bundt pan. It was my favorite way to make a rum cake. Now I, too, have to buy a new one! :(

Christine (Cook the Story) said...

I've never had success with my bundt pan. I assumed the problem was me or the recipes I was making. It never occurred to me until now that perhaps I just need to get a new one (and a can of Pam!). Thanks for sharing!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Everyone of your cakes, made in that new pan, look delicious. The time has come, however, to allow the old pan to go to tinker's heaven. It provided you and yours with years of great desserts, and your readers with a quiet chuckle with which to begin this morning. Have a fabulous week T.W. Blessings...Mary

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I love my bundt pan. I think the ridges give a lovely look to a cake and make for easy slicing.

~~louise~~ said...

I once had one of those pans that I "wore" to pieces, T.W. When I moved to PA, I ditched it and let me tell you, I wish I hadn't. Although I wouldn't use it, I relish the memories of all the wonderful "concoctions" I stirred up in that pan.

I now have a new one and also a cast iron one which literally weighs a ton! And, I have the mini pans, I know you when it comes to minis:) Funny thing is, I don't nearly make as many Bundt Cakes as I once did. You have inspired me to dig out any one of them and start baking!!!

Thanks for sharing...

P.S. Bundt Cake Pan Day is November 15th!!!

Velva said...

The bundt pan was my first baking pan too. I think you and I own the same original baking pan. Bundt cakes were popular, really easy, and you could make a cake with a mix, and make it look pretty. I love them. Still do.

I am feeling inspired to break it out of the cabinet and take it for a spin again.


Unknown said...

TW: The bundt cake is one of my go-to cakes for gift-giving as it travels so well. Of course, I dream of moist, chocolate, chocolate chip cake with ganache topping... Now I know what I'm going to do tomorrow! Cousin Meg

Anonymous said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you TW.

Didn't know these wonderful pans could die. My surface still looks fairly new. Have been baking in this pan for almost 20 years. (It was used when I bought it)
Working on a baking competition, the darn cake was doing exactly as you described. Time for a new pan.

Thanks bunches TW. God bless. :)