This is such a common problem but luckily there are a few tricks that will make sticky ugly bundt cakes a thing of the past.
Below I list my top tips on how to prevent bundt cake from sticking, but here’s a little disclaimer before you dive in.
You have to find what works for YOU. I talk about this all of the time in my online baking class The Magic of Baking. Everyone’s kitchen environment, ingredients, equipment, etc. are different. What works well in someone’s kitchen might not work as well in yours. So take what works for you and toss the rest.
1. Use a simple quality nonstick bundt pan and take proper care of it.
How do you know if it’s quality? Well, online reviews are the quickest and easiest way to tell. Also, keep to pans with simple designs. The more intricate, the more likely sticking will occur. This Cuisinart pan* is my current favorite bundt pan!
But more what’s just as important is how well you take care of your pan. For example, I had a bundt pan that never got sticky. Until recently. I realized it had been thrown in the dishwasher a few times and someone had used an abrasive sponge to clean it.
Dishwashers, abrasive sponges and detergents, and any metal utensils will all damage the nonstick coating of your bundt pan. Over time this can degrade the integrity of this coating leading to sticky messes. The best way to care for your pan is to gently hand wash it, dry it completely, and avoid any metal utensils.
2. Use the right type of grease.
I generally prefer to avoid using nonstick cooking sprays with crazy chemicals on nonstick bakeware. Over time, this can also degrade the nonstick coating. I also avoid using butter to grease bundt pans, because the milk solids can bind the cake to the pan. If you’ve used butter and it’s not caused any problems for you, then keep using it.
What I find works really well is melted shortening. This is basically the only time I use shortening, funny enough.
3. Grease every nook and cranny, just before baking.
The type of grease you use is important, but it can be useless if you don’t get it into every nook and cranny. Use a silicone pastry brush* to generously apply the grease, being careful to get every square centimeter, including that middle column. Do this just before you pour the batter into the pan. If you do this too soon, the grease will slide down the pan and accumulate at the bottom.
4. What about flour?
If you’ve greased and floured your bundt pans with success, keep doing it. I find this can either create more sticking, or ruin the look of the bundt pan. If you want an extra barrier to prevent sticking, nut flour (like almond flour) can actually work really well! If you’re baking a chocolate cake, try lining with cocoa powder.
5. Loosen the edges after baking.
Use a flexible plastic offset spatula if possible to loosen the edges of the cake before attempting to remove it from the pan. Plastic helps prevent scratching the nonstick surface or cutting the cake.
6. Get upside-down.
No, not the scary alternate reality from Stranger Things. Let the cake rest for 5 minutes once you remove it from the oven. Then flip the cake onto a cooling rack upside down and let it rest for about 5 minutes before you remove the pan. A little trick here is to use a grid cooling rack, not one that has big gaps. That can cause the cake to settle into the gaps and makes it harder to remove to a platter.
Saving a Sticky Cake
If your cake doesn’t look like it’ll release, here’s a trick.
If you have a steamer, apply steam to the exterior of the pan to help loosen the cake. If you don’t, place a kitchen towel in your sink and pour boiling water over it until it’s soaked and steaming. Remove your cake from the oven and place on top of the towel and let it sit and steam for about 10 minutes.
If your cake really doesn’t look like it’ll release, try freezing it until hard then invert it.
I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have a tip to add, please leave a comment below!
I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)
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