How to prevent Bundt cakes from sticking: 10 simple tips

You’re having a party. You need an elegant (but still easy) dessert, something beyond a simple sheet cake. What to make… Light dawns on Marblehead! Bundt cake is a simple yet striking way to turn a standard cake into something special.

So you bake your Bundt, turn the pan over, hold your breath… then let the expletives fly as the cake tumbles out of the pan in chunks, a ruined mess.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

Want to know how to prevent Bundt cakes from sticking in the pan? Read this! Click To Tweet

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

Prevent Bundt cakes from sticking: Our top 10 tips for perfect bundts every time

1. If it ain’t broke…

If you use your grandma’s beat-up old aluminum pan (or a brand new top-of-the-line model), and your Bundt cakes ALWAYS come out of the pan with nary a crumb out of place — thank your lucky stars! Read the rest of this post if you feel like having a self-satisfied chuckle, but don’t change a thing in your Bundt-baking routine.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

2. Use a non-stick pan — preferably one in good shape

Non-stick pans are the perfect solution to the inherent challenges in a Bundt cake’s intricate design. But beware the older non-stick pan: a scratched, worn non-stick surface may no longer be slick enough to release your cake flawlessly.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

3. Grease the pan thoroughly

Use non-stick vegetable oil spray or melted shortening — not butter. The milk solids in butter can act like glue, encouraging cake batter to stick to the pan. (You always butter your pan, and your cake never sticks? See tip #1, above).

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

If your pan is particularly intricate, use a pastry brush to apply melted shortening to all its nooks and crannies.

Oh, and don’t forget the center tube: it needs just as much careful attention as the rest of the pan.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

4. Grease the pan just prior to adding the batter

Most recipes start out, “Preheat your oven. Grease your pan…” We’ve found that greasing a non-stick Bundt pan too far ahead of time allows the oil to slide down the inside of the pan and pool in the bottom.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

5. Don’t flour the pan; but do coat it

If you’re using a non-stick pan and still having trouble with sticking Bundts, try sprinkling a coating of either finely ground nut flour (that’s toasted almond flour on the left) or granulated sugar into the greased pan before adding the batter. Either will provide a barrier between batter and pan — which is what you’re seeking.

“But isn’t sugar sticky?” Yes, it becomes sticky as it cools; and it can act like glue when fully cooled. But while warm, sugar is still semi-liquid, and your sugar-coated cake should slide right out of the pan.

What about flour?

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

Here’s an experiment I did sprinkling the inside of a greased Bundt pan with toasted almond flour (left side of cake); granulated sugar (top), and flour (the missing chunk, and some adjoining real estate at the bottom).

Not only does flour sometimes provide a less-than-satisfactory non-stick experience, it also adds a dry layer of “gunk” to the cake’s surface. I prefer either sugar or finely ground nuts (nut flour).

“I always flour my Bundt pan and my cake always comes out just fine,” you say? See tip #1, above.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

6. Loosen the edges of the cake when you remove it from the oven

A bit of gentle poking with a table knife or thin heatproof spatula is all you need to do. Carefully slide the knife or spatula down the sides of the pan as far as you can, to release any sticking spots.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

7. Don’t forget the tube

Sometimes your cake may rise up and over the tube, which will effectively block it from releasing from the pan. Either cut away any extra cake that’s encroached on the tube; or gently push it back with your fingers. You want the entire top surface of the tube to show.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

8. Let the hot cake rest for a few minutes

If your cake breaks when you turn it out of the pan, you could be misinterpreting the cause. Some cakes are extremely fragile right out of the oven; even if they don’t stick to the pan, the simple act of moving them from pan to rack causes a fracture.

I like to let my Bundt cakes rest for about 5 minutes right side up; then for another 5 minutes upside down on a rack. Sometimes the cake drops out of the pan as soon as I turn the pan onto the rack. Sometimes it needs a little help — read on.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

9. Give your Bundt a gentle nudge

If you’ve turned the pan over, waited, and the cake hasn’t dropped out of the pan onto the rack, give it a few gentle side-to-side jiggles. This small motion is often enough to release it.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

10. If all else fails…

Return your cake to the cooling (but still warm) oven for about 10 minutes. Often this mild heat is just enough to soften and release any baked-on areas clinging to the sides of the pan.

How-To-Prevent-Bundt-Cakes-From-Sticking via @kingarthurflour

The cake starring in this blog post is one of our all-time favorites: Lemon Bliss Cake. We highly recommend it jumping-off point for using the tips in this post!

And, if you have any Bundt cake tips of your own, please share them in comments, below. We look forward to hearing (and learning!) from you.

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. Ellie

    Used my Castle bundt form and was worried it would stick(like it usually does) so I used the greased sugar coated method above and it worked like a charm ..cake slid right out and you could see all the beautiful details of the Castle…thanks for the great tip.

    Reply
  2. Frances Polly Husted

    My wonderful daughter-in-law prepared your Bundt chocolate cake for my birthday. Heavenly, gorgeous Oh! what a joy. Your website featured the recipe, and not only that, great tips to keep the batter from sticking. At 85, I’m still happy to learn new things about everything. Thanks, KAF, for completing my birthday to the last detail. xo

    Reply
  3. Ann Cedars

    For years I have used the great Maida Heatter’s method for preparing bundt pans. After greasing the pan, I coat with fine dry bread crumbs. You can buy them in any grocery store, usually in the baking aisle. Make sure you buy plain, not “seasoned.” This method has never failed me. The cake ends up with a very even bake and nice toasty coating. I think the pan is also important. I love the platinum line from Nordic Ware, available right on this website!

    Reply
  4. Janis

    If someone is allergic to nuts can you still use almond flour? Have you ever use coconut flour to prep pan? Kind of afraid to give someone a cake with the almond flour, especially if they are serving at a party

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Janis, almond flour is made of finely ground almonds, so no, they’re not appropriate for anyone with a nut allergy. Coconut flour absorbs four times its weight in water, so it’s not a good choice for prepping a pan, sorry. Susan

  5. Michael Vera

    I like to use a two step oiling process. I first hand coat my intricate bundt pan with a mineral-oil-soaked microfiber towel, which helps reach every tiny point in the pan. Then I follow up with canola oil spray. Canola has the highest smoke point of the vegetable oils, which helps prevent sticking even if the cake gets a little overdone.

    Reply
    1. TeresaMallard

      Further hint — be sure to use food grade and not technical grade mineral oil so odor and taste is removed.

  6. Cynthia

    I use the sugar over oil/shortening even on brownies. Awesome trick given me by an elderly lady years ago.

    Thanks for the almond flour idea next.

    Reply
  7. Joy Kidd

    Thanks for your tips. I’ve never used a Bundt pan before, but your cooking spray/sugar tip worked wonderfully. I learned very quickly which spatula was heat-resistant and which wasn’t (RIP, weakling spatula #1), but the cake nearly popped out of the pan, in perfect shape.

    Reply

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