Videos & Tips
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April 28, 2016
What is a Bundt cake?
Bundt cakes were discovered in Europe when bakers learnt that a metal tube placed in the middle of a cake made it bake quicker. This inspired a circular cake pan in the shape of a ring, and so the Bundt cake was born. An early incarnation of the Bundt cake was the Gugelhupf cake, popular in Jewish communities, but the German word for them was ‘Bundkuchen’ which is where the name ‘Bundt cake’ is derived from.
These moulded cakes really took off in America in the 1950s when the distinctive ring tins became widely available. The beauty of the Bundt cake is in the tin, or as the Americans call it, ‘pan’. Made in an endless array of beautiful three-dimensional designs, these tins all have a hole in the centre (sometimes called a ‘chimney’) and can be used to bake a plain ring-shaped cake or they can leave an imprint and create an intricately shaped sponge. In America, Bundt cakes are a favourite with home bakers looking to turn out a spectacular looking sponge without breaking a sweat.
The flavour of Bundt cakes is entirely up to you and the tin is really what makes the Bundt, so you can experiment with this versatile bit of kit. The sculpted shape of the sponge also makes it easy to pour in your cake mixture of choice until two-thirds full, bake until a skewer comes out cleanly, allow the sponge to cool and glaze, frost or dust with icing sugar to serve. No pesky multiple cake tins or careful sandwiching of layers required.
What is a traditional Bundt sponge?
As this recipe has crossed continents, there really is no right or wrong when it comes to sponge flavours. The tin does have a tendency to cook the sponge through quickly because of the hole in the middle, so sponge recipes are typically made extra moist with ingredients like buttermilk. This is partly why we added a few spoonfuls of mayonnaise, but we’ll get to that in a moment!
Popular flavours for these cakes are classic pound cake, chocolate, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, apple and cinnamon, gingerbread and even rainbow. Bundts can be studded with fruit or chocolate and can also be filled around the centre of the sponge using a special tin insert to create a channel in the top of the sponge or swirled with another flavour of cake mix before baking to give a marbled effect. Creative American bakers have the Bundt down to an art.
How are Bundt cakes decorated?
Because of the shape, Bundt cakes lend themselves to all sorts of scrumptious toppings. They can be surrounded by fresh fruit and dusted liberally with icing sugar, smothered in a snowfall of cream cheese frosting or buttercream frosting or drizzled in glaze. The hole in the centre can be filled with fruit, cream or ice cream to serve as a treat, or left just as it is. We chose a glossy chocolate glaze for our Chocolate Mayonnaise Bundt Cake.
Where can I buy a Bundt tin?
A Bundt tin is an investment piece and may not be something you rush to purchase as part of your baking equipment tool kit, but they are such a simple way of whipping up a breath-taking cake while letting the tin do all the work.
Online cookware stockists are your best bet for buying a Bundt tin and they come in a range of sizes and designs. Choose a quality non-stick pan and you’ll be using it for years. Good tins to consider are cast aluminium tins that distribute the heat evenly through the sponge. You can find Bundt tins on Amazon UK.
If you are ever lucky enough to visit the States, you can buy the branded Nordic Ware Bundt pans in all sorts of wonderful sculpted designs from stockists such as Williams-Sonoma. The name ‘Bundt’ is trademarked by Nordic Ware, but you can buy ring tins from lots of different bakeware suppliers. They can come in fluted patterns, hearts, fleur-de-lis, roses, wreaths and even castles. You can also buy mini Bundt cake tins to make individual sponges.
How do I prepare a Bundt tin before baking?
Grease and dust your tin in flour before pouring in the cake batter, even if your pan is non-stick. The shape makes it trickier to remove, so let it cool in the tin first so that the sponge firms up before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Why add mayonnaise to a cake?
We are not crazy. Mayonnaise is a clever trick American bakers use to make their sponges super-moist and it dates back to the early 20th century when hard times such as the Depression led bakers to be resourceful and find alternative store cupboard ingredients.
Think it sounds weird? It’s actually quite logical when you think about the ingredients that make up your typical jar of mayonnaise. Egg, vinegar and oil are all commonly added to sponges. Normally, egg is used to bind and give the sponge structure, vinegar is used to interact with bicarbonate of soda to help the cake rise and oil is used in place of butter to add fat necessary to make the sponge delightfully moist.
In the case of mayo, a cheeky dollop adds luxuriousness and richness to the mixture. Mayonnaise is most frequently added to chocolate cake recipes where, because of the chocolate already in the mix, there’s no risk of it making the cake greasy. We think it works wonders in this Bundt, which is a naturally drier style of cake, to make the sponge deliciously soft.
Can I taste the mayonnaise in a mayonnaise cake?
No, not even a hint. All you can taste is the flavour of the cake, adding mayonnaise doesn’t alter the flavour at all. Even people who don’t like mayonnaise will like this cake (we hope!).
Where can I try The Hummingbird Bakery’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Bundt Cake?
The recipe can be found in our bestselling American baking bible Life is Sweet. It is a rich chocolate sponge made with buttermilk, cocoa, dark chocolate and a spoonful or two of mayonnaise drizzled all over in irresistible chocolate glaze. Watch our video on how to make Chocolate Mayonnaise Bundt Cake at home.
You can try this cake by the slice in our London bakeries or order a whole 10” Chocolate Mayonnaise Bundt Cake online via our website for collection or delivery.