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. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Liz! It will vary depending on the recipe, but you can usually use the bake times of 8″ or 9″ round cakes as a guiding start point, since they hold roughly the same amount of batter as a small Bundt pan does. Most 8″ and 9″ round cakes bake in around 40 minutes, but again, it could vary. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  1. Karen Gapinski

    Great suggestions, I wish I would have read them before. I just took my bundt cake from the oven, let cool & bam, it stuck in several places again. Glad the cake is just for my hubby, he is not fussy. I have a new pan, no better. My old one used to deliver perfect cakes for many years & then the cakes started sticking. I will try some of the above-mentioned suggestions, especially the one where they mixed the oil, shortening & flour & see what happens. I bake for different church functions and am up against many wonderful seasoned bakers. Hope I can measure up. Thanks, Karen

    Reply
  2. Cavet

    I use a mixture of 1/2 oil 1/2 shorting and 1/2 cup flour. Mix it up and keep in a air tight container. Then grease the pan and it comes out fine. I take extra time to make sure it’s fully greased

    Reply
  3. Mary

    I too have trouble with Bundt cakes releasing from my pan. When this happens, I run hot water to Bundt pan. It will work with patience. I will use your tips. Wish me luck!

    Reply
  4. Claire Holden

    OMG. I followed KA’s suggestions to prepare pan. Used almond flour. Loosened it and let rest. Wish I could attach a photo. My first time PERFECT BUNDT CAKE. The past ones, not so pretty. You guys rock. My cake looks AWESOME

    Reply
  5. Ilene Klinghoffer

    I have two tips that always work for me. I make a mixture of 1/3 Crisco, 1/3 flour, and 1/3 canola oil, and brush it on, making sure to get into the corners and intricate patterns. Make a large batch if you bake often because it refrigerates well — just stir it again before using it, as it can separate. For a chocolate cake, you can use half flour and half cocoa. I would love to take credit for this, but it comes from Dorie Greenspan.

    My other tip is based on a suggestion from Maida Heatter to grease a pan then coat with fine bread crumbs for a particularly delicate cake. Instead of fine bread crumbs, I use matzo cake meal (not regular matzo meal) to coat the pan, then tap out the excess. It’s finer than the finest bread crumbs, but not as fine as flour. Cakes just slip right out., and it doesn’t leave a thick, awful crust on the cake or add any flavor.

    Reply
  6. Leanna kielian

    Iwas warned not to use nonstick spray oit can dammage the nonsrickbproperties? Whatvgives? How can i know they are safe for non stick finishes?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Leanna! There are two things to keep in mind when using sprays in non-stick pans. One, you want to use a small amount. Just a quick 1-layer spray is all you need. More than that and it can, over time, damage the non-stick surface. Second, you want to use a pan spray that’s made for baking, meaning it’s designed to withstand hot temperatures and high levels of sugar, such as Everbake Pan Spray or Vegelene. Annabelle@KAF

  7. James Buerk

    I used a coconut oil spray and sugar on my Heritage Bundt pan and the orange pound cake recipe from this site. Wow does the cake look awesome! I love this technique over flour and butter any day!

    Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Liz Weishaar

    I just made my first bundt cake and it turned right out of the pan, thanks to your tips! However, it turned out very dark. I noticed that the cakes in your article are all cooked to different colors–some are very light and some are very dark. Is the color a function of the recipe (light batter vs. dark batter), or are they just cooked for different times?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Liz! It’s all about the pan. Dark colored pans will make dark colored cakes. If using a dark pan, it helps to lower the oven temperature by 25°F and extend the baking time by 5 to 7 minutes. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  9. Laurie

    I made your lemon bliss cake, using your recommendations of using shortening and sugar to coat my bundt pan (a nordicware platinum collection heritage bundt pan). I followed the cooling/inverting steps to a tee, but still, my bundt ended up looking like the first picture in the post. Half of the bundt on the cooling rack, and half hopelessly glued to the bundt pan, with the sugar acting like glue.

    I’m not sure what else to do…I have used shortening/flour, butter/flour; cooking spray/flour; cooking spray/sugar, but after numerous failed attempts, I think it’s time for me to give away my bundt pan.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Aww, we’re sorry to hear it stuck, Laurie! Something we used in our test kitchen to REALLY clean Bundt pans to get rid of any residual build up is Dawn Power Dissolver. It works wonders and might be worth checking out. Also, check out our blog article Stuck Bundt for additional tips. Sometimes a pan truly has lost its non-stick properties, but usually using Dawn Powder Dissolver and then a thin coat of baking spray does the trick. Annabelle@KAF

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