Sometimes you’ll crave a light, airy slice of a dry genoise to go with your tea. But other days call for something rich and moist.
Bundt cakes fit the bill perfectly.
The only catch is that you have to know how to keep a Bundt cake moist. After all, one wrong move can leave the batter dry and rubbery.
Read on to learn how to make a batter with just enough moisture and how to keep it from drying out after it’s done baking.
Bundt cake recipes tend to be moisture-heavy because that is the only way to match the pan’s heat distribution pattern.
Take a look at the average Bundt pan. What do you see?
The first thing that catches my eye is how the design increases the surface area exposed to heat. For one, you have all those grooves, but there’s also the central tube that disperses heat right to the center of the cake.
So, you have so much of the batter heating up quickly. That’s why people figured out that the best way to go with Bundt pans is a dense, moist recipe that won’t dry easily.
Instead of grabbing that Bundt pan and just hoping that your cake will end up moist, why not take some precautionary measures?
Here are three simple yet effective tips to help you out:
Before you start looking for surface-level tweaks, make sure that the recipe you’re using is actually compatible with a Bundt pan.
Most people go with pound cake, but coffee cake could work, too.
You don’t have to limit your options to classic cakes, either. Just look for recipes with heavy ingredients, like:
- Sour cream
- Buttermilk (it’s an excellent tenderizer!)
No matter what you do, avoid airy sponge box cake mixes. Getting one of those to survive baking in a Bundt pan without drying out will be a tough feat!
Overmixing is a faux pas with cakes in general, not just Bundt-shaped ones. That’s because it over-activates the gluten, leaving you with a rubbery texture.
But that’s not all.
It can also trap more air than is necessary within the batter. When that happens, the cake could overflow and dry out.
One nifty trick to try here is using the reverse creaming method.
Normally, you’d mix the sugar and butter first to create the “cream” that would add volume to the batter.
However, this method requires going in reverse order, starting with the dry ingredients before creaming sugar and butter. Try it yourself and see how harder it is to overwork the batter in this case.
Since Bundt cakes are dense, they take a while in the oven. But you still don’t want to leave it too long and risk drying out the batter.
We know that something like “don’t overbake” is often easier said than done, so we’re not going to leave you hanging without some pointers.
Here’s what you need to do to get that Bundt cake out at the right time:
- Don’t trust your oven. Some ovens run too high, so make sure to grab a thermometer.
- Check the internal temperature. If the Bundt cake itself is around 93°F, odds are, it’s done.
- Modify the toothpick doneness test. To reach deep enough into the center of a Bundt cake, use a long skewer or even a raw piece of spaghetti.
Keep in mind that it’s easier to fall into the trap of overbaking when you’re using a dark Bundt pan. If you don’t have a light one, consider backing at 25 degrees less than what the recipe calls for.
Just because your cake came out of the Bundt pan moist doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. It’s always possible that it’ll dry out as it cools.
Don’t panic, though. There are a couple of tricks that can help you keep the cake tender even after baking.
One of the top ways of locking moisture in regular cakes is covering the whole thing in frosting—even the experts are recommending it.
However, I get that you might not be too enthusiastic about hiding the intricate patterns left from the Bundt mold with a thick layer of white buttercream.
Thankfully, glaze is a decent alternative that won’t steal the spotlight from the design as much.
The easiest option would be using simple syrup and brushing up all the nooks and crannies while the cake is still warm.
You can stop here or go with a second layer of thin glaze made from buttermilk, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice (zest and water will do, too).
In this round, brushing alone won’t cut it. Instead, you’ll want to pipe the glaze on top.
Next, you’ll have to shake, tap, and wait until the glazing glides down the sides and settles in place. Make sure some of that sugary goodness seeps down the “donut hole” in the middle, too!
I’d recommend storing the cake in an airtight container if you don’t plan on serving it immediately after cooling.
Of course, one hiccup that might pop up here is finding the right container that doesn’t squish the designs on the cake. The perfect solution here would be to use a two-piece Bundt cake keeper with a dome-like lid.
This way, it’ll be easy to pop the cake right in after cooling and tightening the lid to reduce moisture loss. When you need a slice, you’ll get to cut a piece out without having to relocate the whole thing to a platter.
Picking a dense batter from the get-go will save you a lot of trouble later on, but so would adjusting both the mixing time and baking conditions.
To seal in all the moisture, go for a thin layer of glaze or simple syrup and store your cake properly.
A final word of advice? All that moisture can leave the cake damp enough to stick to the Bundt pan, so don’t overdo the cooling phase.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.