Kitchn Love Letters

This Old-School Pan Makes Baking Cakes a Breeze (Even for a Novice Like Me!)

published Dec 2, 2022
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bundt cake on rack
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

I love to cook. And, by “cook,” I don’t mean the usual chicken-and-rice-with-broccoli diet (or slight variations) that I see all over Instagram. No, I love to get pretty nerdy with it — I’m talking about cooking projects that are absolutely not worth it, from baking my own loaves of white bread (they’re never as good as the supermarket versions) to making elaborate meals that leave me with a sinkful of dishes, even when I’m just cooking for one. However, I also love embarking on culinary adventures that are worth it, from homebrewing beer and making my own wine to pickling peppers and more, but the one thing I’ve always been too nervous to try? Baking. 

Baking has always escaped me, primarily because it seems like a particularly finicky form of cooking, and, more saliently, I don’t really like sweets. I’ve baked bread in the past with some success, but the fermentation part already made sense to me from my experience with beer and wine yeasts, and savory sourdough always seemed way more forgiving than a simple cake or pie. When I moved in with my girlfriend, though, I knew I was going to have to start whipping up baked goods ASAP, since I had to try to appease her insatiable sweet tooth. (And, you can only drink so much homemade booze.) I thought I was out of luck, until an old-school tool helped me achieve gorgeous and delicious cakes with little to no effort. Allow me to reintroduce you to the Bundt pan

A Bundt pan? Like, the thing from the ’50s? That’s somewhat along the lines of what I probably said when my girlfriend informed me she was snagging one from Amazon. However, I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge. Though it is, in fact, old school, it actually makes for a super easy and gorgeous end product: The ergonomic handles on this model from Wilton are designed for no-fuss handling, and a durable, premium nonstick coating allows your cakes to slide or pop out easily, making cleanup a breeze. 

Bundt pans are also great because there’s no shaping involved — all you do is bake the cake upside down, turn it out onto a drying rack, and voila. All that’s left to do is decorate. That means no stacking rounds, worrying about unbaked centers (there isn’t a center, in fact), and no stressing that your lumpy excuse for a layer cake will be the laughing stock of the dinner party. Plus, you can use the pan for lots of other things, too, including baking breads and, if you really want to go old-school, creating elaborate gelatin centerpieces. 

My girlfriend and I recently made an apple cake for a Friendsgiving party (OK, credit where credit is due, it was mostly all my girlfriend, but I was there for moral support!), and we couldn’t have been happier with the results. While it looked a lot prettier after it was covered in a cinnamon sugar glaze, you can see from the picture that it took the exact shape of the pan and slid out with ease, thanks to its (seriously) nonstick interior. If I’m being honest, I was shocked at how easy the whole process was — and the final product looked like you could have bought it at the bakery down the street. 

For just under 15 bucks, this purchase is a no-brainer, if you ask me. Ever since the pan arrived in the mail, it feels like a whole new world of cooking has opened up for me — in fact, I’m worried all of my meals are going to soon become Bundt-shaped …