How to Make the Very Best Foolproof Bundt Cake
We all need a foolproof bundt recipe that we love and trust. One that’s easy to whip up, bakes beautifully, and slides right out of the pan every single time. It should work as both a no-stress easy weeknight dessert and a party-worthy showstopper, and it should taste just as great at the end of the week as it does fresh from the oven. Of course, it also needs to deliver on flavor and texture with a moist, delicate crumb.
That’s where this recipe comes in. This bundt cake is simple enough for absolutely anyone to make, classic enough to satisfy everyone’s tastebuds, but special enough that you’ll turn to it time and time again. Oh, and it’s pretty much impossible to mess it up. Here’s how to make it.
What Makes This Bundt Cake Recipe Foolproof
This recipe sets you up for success with a few key ingredient choices. Cake flour, which has a lower protein content than all-purpose, makes the crumb delicate and tender. Sour cream is an insurance policy to keep the cake moist.
Lastly, if you happen to have a vanilla bean pod on hand, rubbing the seeds directly into the granulated sugar is a low-effort way to intensify flavor and speckle the cake with gorgeous flecks of vanilla. (Vanilla extract, however, is totally fine to substitute.)
The other thing that makes this recipe foolproof is that we are very detailed and clear in the step-by-step recipe below. Don’t be alarmed by the number of steps; this is no longer or more complicated than another bundt recipe. We just provide detail to help you nail the technique for perfect results every time.
Which Bundt Pan Is Best?
You’ll want to use a sturdy, anodized aluminum bundt pan. These pans are excellent conductors and provide consistent heat, helping your cake bake evenly. A nonstick coating makes it easier to invert the cake without tearing it.
I’m a firm believer in investing in pans that will last longer than you. I like Nordic Ware, as they have a large selection of decorative bundt pans. The company was started in Minneapolis by a chemical engineer and metallurgist and his wife after the Second World War. Initially, they produced a small range of specialty pans that were inspired by Scandinavian bakeware — hence the ornate designs.
But, after bundts rose in popularity in America in the 1950’s when a cake baked in a Nordic Ware bundt pan won a national baking prize, they’ve since expanded their offerings.
How to Make Sure Your Cake Slides Out Perfectly
When it comes to smart techniques, perhaps the best one in this recipe is the one used for coating the pan. Instead of greasing the pan with butter and flour (as is common in these recipes), rub the pan with butter and then sprinkle it all over with coarse sugar. This creates a yummy, unexpected sugary-crunch around the exterior of the cake and contrasts with the scrumptiously soft interior crumb. (It also means the sweet glaze is entirely optional.)
This butter and sugar coating also gives the cake something to grip onto for stability and provides a protective barrier around it. Once the cake is baked, let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan. As it cools, the cake will begin to release itself from the sides of the pan.
Topping Your Bundt Cake
Thanks to the aforementioned sugary crunch, this bundt cake can stand alone without a topping. But if you’re so inclined, a very simple glaze — either lemon or vanilla — would be lovely, and gives the bundt its signature appeal (we’ve included a recipe below).
You could even do a chocolate glaze to complement the cake’s orange flavor. Vanilla whipped cream would be just as welcome, or recycle the vanilla pod and make creme anglaise for a warm dessert.
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
For the cake:
- 14 tablespoons
(1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for coating the pan
large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons
coarse sugar such as turbinado, demerara, or raw
- 2 1/2 cups
- 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1 1/2 cups
vanilla bean (optional)
- 2 to 5 teaspoons
- 3/4 cup
full-fat sour cream
- 1 tablespoon
finely grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon
For the glaze (optional):
- 1 tablespoon
unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup
- 2 tablespoons
Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
10 to 15-cup bundt cake pan
Fine-mesh strainer or sifter
Measuring spoons and cups
Soften the butter and let the eggs warm up. Place 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and let sit at room temperature until softened. (Alternatively, use a large bowl and electric hand mixer.) Place 3 large eggs on the counter while the butter softens.
Preheat the oven and prepare the pan. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 10 to 15-cup bundt pan generously with butter, getting into all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons raw sugar into the pan, coating all the sides evenly.
Sift the dry ingredients. Place a large fine-mesh strainer or sifter over a large bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups cake flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the sifter. Sift into the bowl.
Optional: Add the vanilla seeds to the sugar. If using a vanilla bean, place 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar in a small bowl. Split the vanilla bean, then scrape the seeds into the sugar. Use your fingers to work the seeds into the sugar.
Beat the butter and sugar. Beat the softened butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. With the mixer still running, gradually beat in the sugar. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the vanilla extract. Add the vanilla extract: 2 teaspoons if also using vanilla seeds, or 5 teaspoons if you are not using vanilla seeds.
Beat until very light and fluffy. Beat on high speed until light and creamy, 5 to 6 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the eggs. With the mixer on medium to high speed, gradually add the 3 eggs one at a time, waiting until each one is incorporated before beating in the next. If the batter looks curdled, just add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture to bind it back together.
Add the flour mixture. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture.
Add the sour cream, orange zest, and orange juice. Add 3/4 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest, and 1 tablespoon orange juice, and beat until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the batter to the bundt pan. Transfer the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth the top.
Bake about 45 minutes. Bake until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs, the cake bounces back when lightly pressed, and the top is golden-brown, about 45 minutes.
Cool the cake 10 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10 minutes.
Flip the cake out of the pan while still warm. Use a table knife to gently push the cake away from the sides of the pan. Place the rack over the pan, then flip both over in one motion. Remove the pan from the cake. Let the cake cool completely. Meanwhile, let 1 tablespoon unsalted butter sit at room temperature to soften if making the glaze.
Make the glaze (optional). Sift 1 cup powdered sugar into a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the sugar and add the 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter. Pour 2 tablespoons boiling water onto the butter to melt it. Stir together until smooth.
Glaze the cake. Pour the glaze over the cake, then let sit until set before slicing the cake and serving.
Glaze options: For a thicker glaze, use more powdered sugar. If you’d like to crisscross over the cracks and crevices of the cake, keep it runnier.
Orange juice could replace the boiling water or a splash of vanilla extract can be combined with the boiling water. Just make sure the butter is very soft if not using the boiling water. This makes about 1/2 cup of glaze. The recipe can easily be doubled if you want to go to town on the topping.
Storage: Once the bundt has completely cooled, place under a cake dome, in an airtight container, or cover tightly with plastic wrap up to 4 days.
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