I have gotten a number of questions lately about fluted pans, so I wanted to talk a little about why this type of pan is so important to the type of cake that you are making. Many people have been asking, “Can I bake a pound cake in a regular round cake pan?” The short answer is, yes you can… but it won’t turn out as well. I am a “why” person… and I figure some of you might be as well, so lets go into a little more detail.
First of all, there are several types of fluted pans. For the sake of this discussion we will call them a “bundt pan” (the patented name by Nordic Ware) and an “angel food cake pan” (or tube pan). They each have different qualities and different situations that they should be used.
A bundt pan has decorative sides and tops that range from ridges to fruit, or other still life scenes. It is usually used for pound cake and other dense moist cakes such a coffee cakes. Pound cake batter has a lot more moisture than a standard cake batter due to all the butter, milk and eggs. Because of the extra moisture, it takes longer to cook and usually uses a lower temperature. The bundt pan allows more of the cake to be in contact with the edges of the pan, and therefore the heat is transferred more evenly. If you put pound cake into a regular round cake pan, it will not cook in the center or it will burn on the edges. The hole in the middle of a fluted pan allows air and heat to rise through the center of the cake, and to cook evenly. You can usually put pound cake into 2 medium loaf pans, and adjust the temperature down about 25 degrees, but it can be hit or miss to get the center cooked before the edges burn. Below is a picture of the bundt pan that I used when I made Easy Monkey Bread.
I usually bake my pound cake in an angel food cake pan because my angel food cake pan is much larger (10-12 cups) and my pound cake recipe needs a bigger pan. Check out my Great-Grandma’s hand me down recipe here.
An Angel food cake, on the other hand, is a much more delicate light cake, and needs to be baked in a smooth sided angel food cake pan. Most angel food cake pans come in 2 pieces. The center tube and the bottom of the pan is one section, and the outside wall is the other section. This helps when you are removing the cake from the pan, to keep the delicate cake from pulling apart. If you were to try to put angel food cake into a decorative bundt pan, it would likely leave parts of the cake in the decorative “nooks” of the pan when you removed it.
TIP: When searching for an angel food cake pan, look for one that has 3 small “feet” on the top rim. The feet allow you to flip the cake upside down when you bring it out of the oven to cool. It keeps the cake from collapsing on itself. Another trick that my mom would use on pans that do not have feet, is to flip the pan upside down, and place the neck of a wine bottle in the center hole. This will keep it elevated off the counter and allow it to cool without collapsing.
Kitchen Encounters has a great article that goes into greater detail on fluted pans, plus some other great tips. Check out the article here!
Amazon tip: something I learned is that if you add an item into your cart on amazon (and not buy it now), they will notify you with an email when the price drops on that item.
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