Bringing Back the Bundt Pan: Everyday Coffee Cake

The Bundt pan was first developed by Nordic Ware in 1950, but it wasn’t until around 1960 that it made the collective hearts of housewives go pitter pat and became the #1 selling cake pan.  Pillsbury sought to capitalize on the commercial success of the Bundt pan in the 1970’s and launched a wildly successful line of Bundt cake mixes.

It was the Pillsbury line of mixes that brought the Bundt pan into the homes of many a working family. Mine included. But somewhere along the line, the Bundt pan fell out of favor. The once Queen of Bakeware began collecting dust in cupboards, and eventually sold or donated. Poor old girl.

I think the old girl still has some life left in her. Everything is prettier in a Bundt pan. So, I’m on a mission to bring the Bundt pan back! Again, the Queen shall reign!  You heard it here first, friends.

I’ve baked just about anything sweet in a Bundt pan. Cakes, quick breads, coffee cakes all come out beautifully, and are so much more attractive than something out of the square or rectangular pan. My favorite Bundt application is my Everyday Coffee Cake, aptly named for the simple fact that we eat it just about everyday.

Truth in Advertising.

Fact: The surest way I can get Hubby to eat a little breakfast with his morning coffee is to have coffee cake ready for him to grab on his way out the door.  Everyday Coffee Cake is his current favorite because of it’s simplicity. It comes together in a snap, and stays moist and delicious for up to a week, if tightly wrapped.  Both of which make this busy housewife very glad.

Make it today–eat it all week!

Everyday Coffee Cake

You’ll need butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, 100% white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, sour cream.

If you are like me, you’ll start making the coffee cake and realize that you are plumb out of sour cream. If that happens to you, then just substitute plain yogurt and a splash of buttermilk. Oh, and if you are fresh out of 100% white whole wheat flour, you can sub in all-purpose for that too. I’m all about being flexible.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Probably the single most important thing to do when using a Bundt pan, is to heavily grease and flour the inside of the pan. A good guideline is that just when you think you’ve sufficiently greased the pan, grease it a little more. I use the term “grease” because I find that baking sprays do not provide adequate coverage. I recommend using butter or shortening, then flouring the inside.  Be careful to get ever inch of the interior of the pan.

Better yet, make your own baking lube: Measure 2 cups of shortening and 1 1/2 cups of flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low until the flour has been fully incorporated into the shortening. Then, increase the speed to medium high and aerate the mixture for two minutes. Store the baking lube in an airtight container in the cupboard. To use, dip your fingers in the lube (you can cover them with a sandwich bag or gloves) and grab the desired amount needed to coat the pan.

This should do the job. (I hope.) There is always a little bit of hope when using a Bundt pan.

Cream the butter and sugars together until they are light and fluffy.

Add the sour cream (or plain yogurt,) eggs, and vanilla.  Stir them in on low speed until combined. Son #2 thought this picture looked like a scowling frog. I don’t know why I felt the need to share that with you.

Thank you for understanding.

Dump in the flours, baking soda, baking powder. I used salted butter, so I didn’t add salt to the batter. It’s already in there! If you are using unsalted butter, then toss in 1/2 tsp. of salt.

Don’t forget the nutmeg. It’s just a little bit, but it gives the coffee cake a donut-y quality to the flavor.

Since I substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream, I added a couple of tablespoons of buttermilk for the tang factor that the sour cream would have brought to the cake. If you are using plain yogurt but don’t have buttermilk, just skip it.

Continue stirring the batter until it is smooth, then set it aside while you make the filling.

Add the remaining brown sugar to a small bowl. Sprinkle in the cinnamon, and stir it together with a fork. Easy peasy.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Level it out with a rubber spatula.

Sprinkle all of the filling evenly over the batter.

Pour the other half of the batter over the filling, and smooth out the top. Be sure to spread the batter to the very edges of the pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out mostly clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack. The second most important thing to remember when using a Bundt pan is to allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Seriously. The cake will contract as it cools, and (hopefully) release fully from the pan upon inversion. I know it is hard, but just walk away for a few hours. Do something really useful like catching up on your favorite blogs, or updating your pedicure.

Once the cake has completely cooled, place a second cooling rack on top of the pan. Be sure that the cake and pan are both at room temperature! If either is still even slightly warm, walk away and come back later.

Grab hold of both of the racks, and flip the pan over.  This particular Bundt pan is the one I grew up with–love the burnished avocado green.  Hello 1977.

Here is the moment of truth. The moment that will be indicative of of whether the pan was sufficiently lubed, and/or if the cake has completely cooled in the pan. If you have followed those rules, then the cake will pop flawlessly out of the pan with nary a crumb stuck in the bottom. Failure is not an option. After all, I’m supposed to be illustrating how it is done. Failure would be…awkward.

Give the pan a quick shimmy/shake, then lift it straight up and off the cake.

Ta-da! It’s perfect! Woo-hoo!

Or not. I got a little impatient.  I tried to remove the cake from the pan while it was still slightly warm, thus a small layer of it stuck in the pan. Bummer.

Stupid pan!

I like to blame inanimate objects for my foibles. It works for me.

Since I only left a little bit of cake in the pan, I didn’t bother trying to piece it on to the cake. A heavy dusting of powdered sugar hides a lot of ailments.

Besides, I don’t mind eating the ugly piece. Or the pretty piece next to it. Or the one next to that…OK, that would be gluttonous. Try to have just one piece, ‘mmkay?

Remember me saying that you can make this coffee cake and eat it all week?

That rule only applies for those that don’t live in a house with 5 males. This is how much coffee cake was left the next morning. Sigh. They aren’t even teenagers, yet.

Which is precisely why I eat the ugly piece before telling anyone that the coffee cake is ready. It’s a survival instinct.

Everyday Coffee Cake

Serves 12 normal people or 5 hungry boys

For Cake:

½ C. butter, softened

1 C. granulated sugar

½ C. packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 C. 100% white whole wheat flour

1 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 C. sour cream (OR 1 scant cup plain yogurt + 2 Tbs. buttermilk)

For Filling:

¼ C. packed brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a large Bundt pan very well; set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugars together in a large bowl, until fluffy.
  3. Add sour cream (OR plain yogurt + buttermilk), eggs, and vanilla to the bowl, and stir until well blended.
  4. Dump in the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg. Continue mixing until the dry ingredients until they have fully incorporated, and batter is smooth. Set batter aside while preparing the filling.
  5. To make the filling, put the ¼ cup of brown sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl, and mix with a fork to combine.
  6. Pour half of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, and smooth with a rubber spatula to level the batter.
  7. Sprinkle the filling mixture evenly over the batter in the pan.
  8. Cover the filling with the remaining batter, smoothing with a rubber spatula to level the batter. Be sure to smooth the batter to the very edges of the pan, to seal the filling into the cake.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

10.  Cool completely in the pan, on a wire rack. The cake should pull away from the sides of the pan as it cools. (If not, gently run a knife along the edges of the pan, after it has cooled.)

11.  Once cake has completely cooled, place another cooling rack on top of the Bundt pan. Holding the top and bottom racks, quickly flip the pan over. (The top rack is now the bottom rack, the bottom rack is now on top.

12.  Gently shake the Bundt pan to loosen the cake. Pull the Bundt pan in an upward motion to remove the pan. If the pan was greased and floured well enough, then the cake should completely release from the pan.

13.  Transfer cake to a serving plate, and sprinkle with powdered sugar before slicing.

14.  Tightly wrap leftover cake with plastic wrap, and store on the counter top.

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  1. says

    Oh, Amen to Bundts and the powdered sugar that saves them. I swear, you can make anything in those pans and suddenly it looks like you cared 110% instead of just 80%. Miracles.

  2. says

    Yummers! I will have to pull out my Bundt pan. I always forget about it, and it does add a touch of retro class to baking. Thanks for sharing!

  3. says

    I love bundt pans. They’re the unsung hero of baking pans. I got one as a wedding present in 1982, but when I found a good, old-fashioned heavy 1970’s version at an estate sale, I snatched it up (for $5) and gave my old one to My Baby. She loved getting mine, and I loved getting a vintage pan. Bundt cakes instantly take me back to my childhood. My mother LOVED to make bundt cakes. All flavors. Your recipe looks and sounds delicious. I’ll bet is smells heavenly, too.

  4. Shyla says

    I loved this post! Bundt pans rule. I found one at a second hand store as a newly-wed; I was pumped. Its harvest gold.:) Then I snatched my husband’s grandmother’s-why the biological granddaughters didn’t know a good thing when they saw it is beyond me! But I benefited! Were you married in the 90’s by any chance? I have a cake stand just like yours. Made me like this post and you even more! I have 3 sons for starters, too. Expecting our 4th baby but don’t know what it is yet.You make a 4th boy look like even more fun!

  5. Sue says

    Your cake looks delicious! After reading your recipe, I went to my local Goodwill to look for a bundt cake pan, I found 3 !!!
    A red pan unmarked white in color on the inside, the second pan is also unmarked avocado green (like yours ) but the inside of the pan is dark gray almost black (teflon??), the 3rd pan I found is marked Nordic Ware bundt fluted tube pan, this is heavier than the other two pans. It looks the color of aluminum on the outside and white inside. So, which one should I buy? Does anybody know if the white material inside the pans is different than the dark color coating on the avocado color pan? Are both white and dark coats inside pans Teflon or is the white coating more like the enamel on the le creuset pans?
    All three pans look pretty vintage and nonstick but I rather not use something coated with Teflon. Please help, I can’t wait to bake myself a nice coffee cake for breakfast. Thanks

    • says

      How industrious of you, Sue! As you suspected, the pans lined in white are likely coated in enamel, while the darker interior pan is likely a teflon or non-stick finish. I prefer baking pans that are not non-stick because I find that the dark interiors bake and brown batters too quickly, and often burn slightly by the time the centers are set. If it were me, I’d purchase an enamel-lined Bundt pan with the least amount of scratches on the inside. Once home, I would fill the pan with water, keeping track of the measurements, so that I knew the volume capacity of the pan before ever baking in it. A “standard” 10-inch Bundt pan has a capacity of 10-15 cups of batter, or enough room to hold a typical layer cake recipe. Be sure to grease and flour your Bundt pan very well before filling with batter. My DIY Baking Lube does a good job of in releasing baked goods from their pans. Also be sure to remember to allow the Bundt cake to cool completely in the pan before loosening and turning it out onto a serving plate. Good luck! I’d love to hear how you fared with the coffee cake. :)


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