If life (or a long day in the kitchen) gives you torn cake, don’t despair. Make a trifle!
You may be one of the fortunate bakers who has flawless success with every cake. Your layer cakes never dome at the center, your pound cakes never have a sad streak or crusty top, and your puddings are always thick and smooth, never watery or lumpy. Unfortunately, I am not one of those bakers. As much as I love to bake, especially during the fall and winter months when I bake the family favorite Fresh Apple Cake, I often have trouble with my Bundt cakes sticking to the pan. Is it the frying pan? Is my lubrication incorrect? Is the cake in the pan for too long? After some investigation among the sống ở miền Nam Professionals from the Test Kitchen, I came up with this cheat sheet of things to watch for when baking Bundt cakes.
Choose the Right Pan
Select a pan with a nonstick coating, which helps a cake to come out cleanly, even from the intricately constructed nooks and crannies of a Bundt pan. When selecting a pan, choose for one that is metal and not too dark. Aluminum pans are ideal since they carry heat effectively, and a lighter-colored pan will minimize over-browning, which is common with darker pans. Even though most recipes will tell you to grease and flour your pan (or use a baking spray) before baking, a nonstick finish will give you added protection against a cake sticking to the sides of the pan. Older nonstick pans should be avoided since the damaged and worn surface will no longer be effective and smooth enough to release the cake without ripping.
Prepare the Pan
Most recipes start with instructions to preheat your oven and prepare your cake pan. Oftentimes (especially in summertime down South), your kitchen really heats up when the oven is turned on. Greasing a cake pan too early allows the oil to slide down the inside of the pan and pool in the bottom. Wait until you’ve combined the mixture before preparing the cake pan.
Use the Right Greaser
Grease the pan generously with solid shortening using a pastry brush. Be careful to paint all of the gaps in the pan so the cake comes out easily and the pattern is well defined. Avoid using butter because the milk solids in butter behave like glue, causing the cake batter to adhere to the pan. After greasing, sprinkle some flour in the pan, hold it over a sink, and tilt the pan in a circular motion in order to distribute the flour evenly. To avoid a buildup of oil and flour on the final cake, tip the pan over and tap out the extra flour. Don’t forget to oil and flour the pan’s middle tube.
Let the Cake Cool
After removing the pan from the oven, lay it on a wire rack to cool; the recipe will give the time necessary, which is generally between 10 and 20 minutes. This permits the cake to firm up sufficiently to be removed from the pan without crumbling. You may now gently slide a table knife along the edges of the pan to dislodge any stuck places. After the required cooling time (cooling too long in the pan will cause the cake to be damp and stick to the pan), tap the pan firmly a few times and shake it gently to help loosen the cake. Invert the pan onto the rack, pull it off, and allow the cake to cool completely on the rack.
If All Fails, Make It a Trifle
The cake pan should have slipped out without a hitch, leaving you with a beautifully smooth Bundt cake. On those occasions where you did everything right and the cake still tore up (we all have those times, no matter how many cakes we have baked) just keep a stiff upper lip and turn that torn cake into a delicious trifle, complete with fresh fruit, sweet cream, or creamy pudding.