This vanilla bundt cake is deliciously moist, yet firm enough to hold in your hand. It’s an old-school German-style bundt cake with buttermilk and cream cheese frosting to make it really stand out.
You can add spices, fruits, or nuts if you like, or use this recipe as is. It’s really up to you!
Vanilla Bundt Cake
Like all great bundt cakes, this one rises proudly from the pan with a delicious golden crust. This bundt cake is absolutely packed with flavor. It’s perfect for the holidays, for a dinner party, or just as a treat for the family.
Where Is Bundt Cake From?
The bundt cake traces its origins to Germany, where Gugelhupf cakes are widely made and eaten. Central Europeans really know a thing or two about sugary treats, and the Germans love their cakes and breads! The Gugelhupf is generally taller and narrower than the bundt cake, but it is made in a similar pan. Generally speaking, the bundt cake’s ancestor was made from yeasted dough infused with fruits and nuts, then baked in in a tubular pan.
What does Bundt Mean?
“Bund” is the German word for tying or binding, and one theory suggests that this cake is so named because it’s served among family or close friends - in other words, people to whom you are tied.
During the big wave of German emigration to the United States, they left their Gugelhupf pans at home. Traditional Gugelhupf pans were made from heavy iron or ceramic, and therefore far too heavy to travel with. If you think travel allowance is low when you’re flying, imagine a few hundred years ago when everyone was packed into a boat!
Upon their arrival in, and colonization of, America, the German families set about making their traditional cakes as best they could. The bundt pan as we know it came about as a result of this, with shorter, lighter cakes better suited to the American climate.
Back in the 1940s, the company Nordic Ware began marketing an aluminum take on the Gugelhupf pan. He threw the letter “t” at the end of the word “bund” to make it easier to trademark, and the rest is bundt cake history!
What Makes a Bundt Cake a Bundt Cake?
The pan! A bundt pan is the only strict requirement for a bundt cake.
Accordingly, there’s no one bundt cake recipe, but our vanilla bundt cake is a great starting place, even if we do say so ourselves. One of the great things about the bundt cake is the increased cooking surface-to-cake ratio, which gives the bundt cake its distinctive taste and texture. Like many German things, the bundt cake is really a more efficient method of cooking a cake when compared to a regular round pan, because the cake batter is never further than an inch or so from a heating surface.
This also means you can adjust bundt cake recipes, or other cake recipes, according to your preference. Dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, or candies are all welcome additions to any bundt cake recipe. Maybe you could even try your own version of that famous “tunnel of fudge”.
Ingredients for Vanilla Bundt Cake
Buttermilk is critical to this bundt cake’s moist, delicious flavor. We’ll also be using some vegetable oil to boost the moisture content, and of course high-quality vanilla is an absolute must. We’re making a classic all-American cake here, so we’re going to use the best ingredients we can!
Vanilla can get a little pricey, but considering it’s the main flavor in this cake, it’s worth splashing out on. Better vanilla means a better taste, and isn’t that what baking is all about?
How To Make a Perfect Vanilla Bundt Cake
- Ensure your ingredients are at room temperature before cooking.
- Be precise in your measurements. Follow the recipe, measure their weights twice, and don’t go slightly over or under.
- Over-working the cake mix can overstimulate your gluten, creating big holes in the cake mix. You only want one “tunnel” in your bundt cake, and that’s the big one right in the middle from the pan!
- Add your eggs one at a time. Beat each egg until the yolk disappears before you add the next one.
- When using a mix of dry and wet ingredients, be sure to begin and end with dry ingredients. Alternate wet and dry ingredients as you go.
- Slowly spooning the batter into your prepared pan will prevent air bubbles from forming.
- You only want to open the door of your oven to check for doneness. Doing this too early will not help your cake to bake.
How Full Do You Fill A Bundt Pan?
Bundt cake, because of the aforementioned increased heating surface, rises quite a bit. It’s easy to overestimate how much to fill the bundt pan! We recommend filling your bundt pan to about ⅔ full. This will help prevent it from spilling over the top or becoming “domed”.
You can tap the pan, once filled, on your counter a few times to pop any little bubbles that have occurred in the mix.
Cream Cheese Frosting Without Butter
- In a medium bowl beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
- Add the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. If the frosting is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream and beat until the desired thickness is achieved.
- Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag with a 2A Wilton tip ( or with no tip attached). Decorate the cake.
How To Keep Bundt Cake From Sticking
Bundt cakes are infamously sticky, and love sticking to the bundt pan. There’s a few ways to avoid this.
- The cake sticks more when the pan wasn’t greased with a flour-based cooking spray. Cake goop, which is easy and inexpensive to make, is a good solution for this.
- You’ll need to thoroughly grease all the little nooks and crannies in your bundt pan as well as the center tube. A pastry brush is the best tool for this job, as it will create a nice even layer of lubricate.
- Removing the cake from the pan too soon is another main cause of sticking. You need to let that crusty outer layer cool down enough that it doesn’t pull away from your hot cake. Allow the cake to cool for fifteen minutes before removing it from the pan to place on a cooling rack. Give it two hours on the cooling rack before cutting into it.
- The opposite, however, can also be true. A cold cake, left in the pan too long, will allow the sugar in the cake to fully solidify and stick the cake to the pan like glue. A little wiggle, in this cake, can help the cake to release its hold on the bundt pan.
- A good quality bundt pan will be a baking buddy for life. Take care of it! Allowing it to become scratched and worn will increase the likelihood of your cake sticking. Avoid scratching the non-stick surface, always handwash with a soft cloth and soapy water, and dry with a soft, clean cloth as well.
Keeping Bundt Cake Moist
Buttermilk and oil are the heroes of keeping bundt cake moist! You can use store bought buttermilk or learn how to make buttermilk in 10 minutes at home.
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