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Why Is It Called a Bundt Cake? (Its Unique History)

Why Is It Called a Bundt Cake? (Its Unique History)

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Bundt cakes are a staple dessert in many households, especially on special occasions. These cakes are known for their unique ring shape.

Also, you can serve Bundt cakes with a drizzle of glaze or a dusting of powdered sugar.

If you’re wondering, “Why is it called a Bundt cake?” keep reading as we’ll explore how Bundt cakes came to be and their variations.

We’ll also tap into the different flavors of Bundt cakes and how to decorate and serve this delicious dessert.

Why Is It Called a Bundt Cake?

One of the unique things about the Bundt cake is its name. It’s a word with German origins, and that’s why it’s exclusively associated with this cake.

The term “Bundt” comes from the German word “bundkuchen.” The word roughly translates to “group cake.”

The cake traditionally has a round, ridged pan and is a popular choice at community gatherings.

Its shape is also similar to a traditional German cake called “Gugelhupf.” The Gugelhupf is a brioche-like cake, and it’s known as “Bundkuchen” in the north of Germany and the southern Anglia peninsula.

However, opinions differ as to the meaning of the word “bundt.” Some would say that it refers to the shape of the cake, which looks like a “bundle” or a “bunch.”

Another possibility is that it refers to the “Bund.” The Bund was a political movement in Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries, and its members were passionate about German culture.

In this context, the Bundt cake can serve as a nod to this cultural heritage.

The History of the Bundt Cake and Pan

Originally, the Bundt pan made its first appearance in the 1950s. Nordic Ware, a Minnesota-based cookware company owned by H. David Dahlquist, manufactured it back then.

When starting, the company wanted to give a special focus on making quality Scandinavian baking tools like rosette irons, krumkake makers, and aebleskiver pans, as Scandinavian baking is well-known for its variety.

Two women—Fannie Schanfield and Rose Joshua—who were part of the Hadassah, a women’s Jewish organization, asked Dahlquist to make a prototype of the Bundt pan.

The center hole contributed to baking the cake evenly while creating a unique donut shape.

Dahlquist’s wife, Dotty, encouraged him to use cast aluminum for the pan to make it easy to produce as well as more affordable to the masses.

Shortly after, it quickly gained popularity thanks to its ability to create a perfectly shaped cake with a crispy crust.

A Pillsbury Bake-Off booklet published the first Bundt cake recipe in 1966, and it became quite popular across American households.

Currently, there are plenty of sizes, shapes, and recipes for Bundt cakes as it’s become in demand for many occasions, from birthdays to weddings and holiday gatherings.

Why Do Bundt Cakes Have a Hole?

Fannie Schanfield and Rose Joshua discussed missing the density and richness of the cakes they had when they were young.

To get the same even cooking with such dense batter, there had to be a special pan, and that’s how the Bundt pan came to be.

The hole in the middle helps bake all the batter evenly and ensures that all the parts are cooked well, no matter how dense the batter is.

Controversy Around the Watermark

The name “Bundt” has caused some controversy over the years. This is mainly because the trademark is too broad, preventing other companies from using the word “Bundt” to describe their cakes.

In 2005, a judge ruled that the trademark was valid, but that it only applied to pans that had a specific design.

This ruling made it possible for other companies to use the word “Bundt” to describe their cake, as long as they didn’t use the same, specific design that Nordic Ware had as a trademark.

Variations of the Bundt Cake

Over the years, people have gotten creative with their Bundt cakes. From flavors and ingredients to decorations and serving, the possibilities for celebrating with this dessert are endless.

Flavors and Ingredients

You can make Bundt cakes in a variety of flavors and ingredients. Some popular flavors include vanilla, chocolate, lemon, and pumpkin.

Other variations involve adding nuts, fruits, or spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.

There are also some gluten-free and vegan options for anyone with dietary restrictions.

Decorating and Serving

Typically, bakers decorate Bundt cakes with glaze or frosting. Some other popular toppings are whipped cream and fresh fruits that offer a nice presentation and extra flavor.

Common frosting options include:


If you want to get a fudge-like frosting, you can make a chocolate ganache frosting for your Bundt cake.

Mix chocolate and heavy cream by heating the heavy cream and pouring it over chocolate chunks. If you want to go the extra mile, you can whip the mixture and frost your cake with whipped ganache frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

You may get the consistency of both buttercream and glaze, depending on how you mix the cream cheese.

You can soften it with milk and powdered sugar if you’re looking for a thinner texture. On the other hand, whipping it with butter incorporates air and gives you a fluffier and thicker texture.

Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream is a traditional frosting that keeps your cake light and fluffy.

You can flavor it according to your cake mix or color it with additives that match the cake’s ingredients.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Bundt cakes are a versatile and delicious dessert that you can customize to suit any taste or occasion. If you’ve been wondering why they have such a curious name, now you have your answer!

Although other companies can use the word “Bundt” to describe their cakes, it has become a trademark for this special cake and the Nordic Ware company’s pan.

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Friday 23rd of June 2023

The Bundt cake's name has an interesting origin. It is derived from the German word 'bund,' which means a gathering or group.