Pro Tips: Perfect Bundts

I love making bundt cakes, because they're rocking a beautiful look straight out of the pan - even without any finishing touches! Recently, I've received a lot of questions about how to get your bundt cakes to unmold cleanly - here's what I do:

1. Use a well made bundt pan. I'm a huge fan of Nordicware bundt pans (they have no involvement in this post, and all of the pans I own I have purchased myself!) - their pans are well made with excellent inner coatings which bake evenly and release cleanly. Starting with a good bundt pan is an easy first step! Remember once you have your pan to avoid scrubbing the interior finish too much, which can mar the protective coating and cause subsequent cakes to release less cleanly! I usually let my bundt pans soak with warm, soapy water for awhile, then clean with a soft sponge. My favorite bundt shape is Nordicware's "party bundt".

2. Use a cake batter with a tight crumb structure. To get the best, most detailed results from a bundt pan, you need to use a cake batter that will produce the best results. The ideal cake is anything with a tight crumb structure, like pound cake. Look at your mixing method for clues: cakes that use the creaming or blending methods will usually produce relatively tight crumb structures. Cakes that use the foaming method (sponge cake), will produce light, airy batters full of air pockets - these air pockets can show all over the exterior of your bundt after baking. This is not to say that you can't bake these kinds of cakes in bundts, but they will not have the smooth appearance of a cake with a tighter structure.

3. Grease, but don't flour your pan. I've found the best results come from just greasing the pan, without the addition of flour. I use nonstick spray to generously coat the pan all over. Be sure to move the pan to slightly different angles to ensure it's evenly coated. Generally speaking, I do not use butter or oil to grease bundt pans - I've found butter actually promotes uneven/excessive browning on the surface, and oil doesn't evenly coat the surface as well as nonstick spray. Don't forget to crease the center part of the pan well, too - that's where a lot of sticking tends to take place!

4. Heavily tap the pan. Once you've added your cake batter to your greased pan, lift the pan off of your work surface, then heavily tap the pan back down. I'm not talking a light little tap here - really bang the pan down. This motion evens out the cake batter and helps remove air pockets. Tap the pan several times, say 6-8, before putting it in the oven.

5. Release while warm. Once your cake is fully baked, let it cool for about 15 minutes inside the pan. Unmolding the cake while it's too hot can cause it to break apart, even if it removes cleanly from the pan. Allowing it to cool for a few minutes lets the cake's structure set. However, it's important to remove the cake from the pan while still warm, as this produces the cleanest release. Don't hesitate, just turn your pan over in one smooth motion onto a wire rack. The faster your movement, the more clean the release!