Bundt pan size: Which Bundt pan is best for a 9" x 13" cake recipe?

Our magazine, Sift, is filled with stunning photography and delicious recipes. But it’s also a great educational resource for bakers. From time to time we pick out a reader’s question from Sift to feature here in our blog — like this one from our upcoming Fall issue:

Q: I’m looking at a recipe that calls for a 9˝ x 13˝ pan, or two 9˝ layers, but I really want to bake it in a Bundt pan. What would be the right size Bundt pan, a 10-cup or 12-cup? And how long do I bake it for? – Joanne Rosenbluth

A. Joanne, bake your recipe calling for a 9″ x 13″ pan (or two 9″ round pans) in either a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan. Increase the baking time by about 30% in the 10-cup pan, somewhat less in the 12-cup.

Now, how did we arrive at this answer? Inquiring bakers want to know!

First, let’s talk about Bundt pan size: what’s really meant by a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan?

What those measurements DON’T mean is that you can bake 10 or 12 cups of cake batter in a 10- or 12-cup Bundt pan. Capacity — the amount of liquid the pan will hold, right up to its rim — is different than bakeable capacity, which is the amount of cake batter the pan can hold and bake, without the batter overflowing the pan as it rises.

So while your Bundt pan size/capacity may be 10 cups, it’s bakeable capacity is more like 6 cups.

Note: Don’t know the capacity of your Bundt pan? Fill the pan with water right to its rim, then measure the water; that’s its capacity. Now fill the pan with water to 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ below the rim. Measure the water; that’s its bakeable capacity.

Bundt pan size via @kingarthurflour

A typical cake recipe — one that makes a 9″ x 13″ cake, or a couple of 9″ rounds, or 2 dozen cupcakes — yields just about 6 cups of batter, making it perfect for a 10-cup Bundt pan. (Pictured here is the batter for Chef Zeb’s Hot Milk Cake.)

Bundt pan size via @kingarthurflour

When baking a cake, be sure not to fill your pan any fuller than its bakeable capacity, as measured by how deep it fills the pan. Your batter should be at least 1 1/4″ below the rim of the pan.

Yes, I did overfill the pan a bit here. Let’s see what happens—

Bundt pan size via @kingarthurflour

Whew! I’d say the 6 1/4 cups of batter I used was at the top limits of this 10-cup pan’s bakeable capacity.

Now, how about baking time? When switching from a 9″ x 13″ pan or 9″ round cake pans to a Bundt pan, you’ll need to increase the cake’s baking time — by about 30%, in my experience. Best bet? Start checking the cake for doneness once it’s reached the maximum baking time called for in your recipe.

And if you choose a pan whose capacity is larger than necessary for your recipe (e.g., Joanne’s 12-cup Bundt pan, whose bakeable capacity would be about 7 1/4 cups), you can still get good results. The batter won’t fill a larger pan all the way, but will nevertheless yield an attractive cake. You won’t need to increase the baking time quite as much as you did when using a smaller Bundt pan.

Feeling inspired to bake a cake? Check out our hundreds of baker-tested cake recipes, and our cake and cupcakes baking guide.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Oma Norris

    Thanks for this information–very interesting. I am wondering about reversing this, i.e. baking a cake that calls for a bundt pan in a 9×13 pan. How would you figure the baking time. Thanks for all the recipes also.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Oma, the baking time would be significantly less in a pan such as a 9×13. I would bake this cake, for example, for about 40-45 minutes.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sue, our recipes are designed with our flour, so you can use an alternative, but keep in mind the results might not be quite the same. Just in case, here is a link to our Store Locator page: http://bit.ly/1iFl9al
      Happy baking! Bryanna@KAF

  2. Elaine

    WOW, learn something new everyday! Good info since I bake bundts all the time. I’m also gonna try the sugar trick as I have issues with my swirl pan sticking. THANKS and BAKE ON! ♡

    Reply
  3. Joan Setty

    I have had great results by using a baking pan spray. It contains oil and flour. I put the pan on it’s side after baking and rotate it a bit every few minutes. My Bundt type cakes pop right out with minimal loosening of the top using a spatula.

    Reply
  4. Doris Carver

    I have a very nice Nordic fluted pan which was quite expensive. My problem, no matter how I grease (or spray) the pan, the cake sticks and leaves chunks in bottom of the pan. The pan is made of cast aluminum. Can you offer any solutions? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Doris, are you greasing the pan with solid shortening or vegetable oil spray (not butter)? Butter can make cakes stick. Have you tried flouring it, as well? Are you loosening the cake’s edges and turning the pan over to rest on a rack as soon as you take the cake out of the oven? If so, and your cake is still sticking, here’s an insider tip that the pros use sometimes: grease the pan, then sprinkle with granulated sugar. You’d think the sugar would make the cake stick, but it actually works the opposite way, as it melted and helps the cake slide out of the pan (so long as you turn the pan over as soon as you take the cake out of the oven). Hope this works for you – PJH

    2. Linda

      I have a suggestion regarding the cake sticking to the pan. I use “Dawn Power Dissolver.” This stuff is a miracle product. I have at least 10 bundt pans that I tried using all of these greasing methods on. They did not work. If you will clean the pans with this product first then grease I think you will have better luck. The only place I am able to find it is at Amazon. I hope this helps.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Micki, make sure to great the pan very well, especially in those lovely details of the bundt pan. But also try flouring the pan, this aids in helping get the cake out smoothly. Lastly, make sure the cake is baked all the way through.
      Bryanna@KAF

    2. Marquisha T

      I use a mixture that some call Goop. I call it pan grease. It’s equal parts of shortening, vegetable oil and flour mixed together. I use my mixer to blend it until smooth and brush it on my pans. My cakes practically jump out of the pan!
      I normally use 1 cup of each. Keep refrigerated between uses and it keeps for months. Unless you bake often, like I do!

  5. David Alexander

    I think it is better to say when measuring the capacity of a bundt pan or any other, to fill it with measuring cups of water “until it just begins to overflow”. The important words are “until it just begins to overflow”; otherwise one person might fill it 1/8-inch from the rim, and another 1/4-inch from the rim. If you measure as I stated, you will get the correct full measurement. I think simply saying to the rim is not accurate enough, and anyone who has done much baking, knows that accuracy is everything!

    Reply
  6. Susan

    I am using a recipe for a 10″ (12 cups) bundt pan in two of the half-size (6 cups) bunt pans. The recipe calls for baking the full size pan for 1 hour and 20 minutes. How long should I bake the cakes in the smaller size pans? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Susan, set your timer for 40 minutes, and check your cakes. If they’re not done, add 5 minutes to the timer and check again. You can always bake it longer. You can also try using an instant-read thermometer – most cakes are done somewhere around 213°F. Susan

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