Cakes come in so many shapes, sizes, flavors, and baking processes. Two of the more common cake names you hear are Bundt cake and Pound cake. But what makes these cakes special? And how do Bundt cake and Pound cake differ from one another?
Bundt cakes refer to cakes that have a particular shape, whereas Pound cakes refer to a cake made with one pound of each key ingredient. So, you can make a Pound cake in the shape of a Bundt; and you can make a Bundt cake using one pound of each of the ingredients.
Both Bundt cakes and Pound cakes have a long and fascinating history. And they see use in different situations, according to their need. So, in this article, we are going to look at how these two desserts came to be, how they are made, and which cake is better suited for which situation.
Bundt Cake vs. Pound Cake: Differences
Let’s discuss the differences between Bundt cake and Pound cake in more detail.
Size and Shape
Both cakes give their secret away through their names. Bundt cakes derive their name from the distinctive shape they each possess. They have a round shape that is beveled or grooved along its surface and has a hole in its center. So, if you look at it from above, it will look like a large donut.
Like Bundt cakes, Pound cakes also do not conform to a single recipe. Here, the main point of distinction is the number of ingredients. Traditionally, people made Pound cakes using 4 key components – flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. And people used one pound of each component. Hence, this recipe gained the name of Pound cake.
The advent of Pound cakes dates back to the 1700s in Northern Europe. Many attribute the British as the first maker of such a cake, but American variations also existed around that time. The original recipes during that period called for one pound of eggs, flour, sugar, and butter.
In comparison, Bundt cakes are a more recent invention, although the inspiration behind them goes back generations. Back in the 1950s, the Owner of Nordic Ware, H. David Dalquist, invented a uniquely shaped pan called a “Bundt pan.” He did it for a group of Jewish women in Minneapolis who wanted to bake a cake similar to a traditional European cake called “Kugelhopf.”
This specific style of pan gave this cake such a distinct design and also its name. And since then, it has garnered popularity throughout America and Europe and has seen many variations.
Bundt cakes and Pound cakes can have identical sets of ingredients even at the same amount. Of course, there are several different ways you can make them. But most often, they contain eggs, flour, water, butter or vegetable oil, milk, sugar, etc.
So, you do not choose different ingredients based on the type of cake you are making, rather you base it on the individual cake you will make.
So, this is the area that makes all the difference. To make a proper Bundt cake, you will require a Bundt pan, which is specifically made for this type of cake. This pan is circular and the sides are grooved or fluted. And at its center is a cylindrical tube, which is called a chimney. This chimney is the most notable part of the entire thing.
The chimney creates a central hole in the cake when it is baked. And the furrows on the side give the outer surface of the cake a grooved pattern. Thus, you get the iconic Bundt cake shape that is easily recognizable.
On the other hand, Pound cake can be made with just about any method. Traditionally, the cake was made in the form of a large square block. You would then cut the block into slices.
But that shape is really not a necessity with the Pound cake. All you need to do is get the proper quantities of ingredients in the batter. The specific method you use to bake it is practically irrelevant.
Popularity and Variations
Pound cakes have been a staple in bakeries for centuries. Recipes of Pound cakes can be traced back to the late 18th century. Perhaps the most well-known Pound cake variation is a Vanilla cake. You can find it in bakeries all over the world. Some Pound cakes also incorporate dried nuts and fruits such as almonds, cranberries, etc.
One of the more popular Pound cake variations is the Sour Cream Pound cake, which is particularly popular in the United States. To make this certain Pound cake, you need to replace the butter with sour cream.
The Bundt cake was invented in the 1950s. But it took some time for the trend to catch on. Thanks to a baking competition in Pillsbury, the annual Pillsbury Bake-Off, the term Bundt cake caught the attention of many aspiring bakers. This publicity gave a tremendous push in the production of Bundt pans, with the company receiving 30,000 requests a day.
So, the Bundt cake’s popularity is a fairly recent event. But the cake has become widely successful in most of America and in many countries around Europe. One of the most popular variations is Marble Bundt cake.
Bundt Cake vs. Pound Cake: Which Is Better?
From what we have already discussed, you will notice that these two cakes are not all that comparable. However, there are certain situations where making one type of cake is more beneficial than making the other.
Bundt cakes are an eye-catching and stylish addition to any feast or party. So, they are perfect for a special occasion. You can make a Red velvet or Funfetti cake, both of which are terrific choices for a celebration. But giving them a Bundt shape on top will only enhance their appeal. So, Bundt cakes are a premium choice for making any celebration extra special.
Making cakes in a Bundt pan can also help with your baking. The unique shape of the pan allows more of the cake to be in contact with the heat. This ensures that the heat is spread evenly throughout the cake.
The central chimney allows for airflow inside the cake. This also helps the baking process. Bundt pans are especially useful for cooking cakes that have a lot of moisture, like coffee or sponge cake. These cakes take a bit longer to cook and at a lower temperature. With a regular pan, the sides may get burnt or the center may remain undercooked.
Another great thing about Bundt cake is that the recipe is not special. You practically make any type of cake you want in this shape. So, you can enjoy the cake you desire in a fun and exciting form that instantly makes the occasion remarkable.
However, a Bundt pan is not readily available in every kitchen. And without one, you cannot give your cakes that recognizable shape. Plus, not every cake is suited for a Bundt pan. If the cake is extra delicate, you may not get the best result with a Bundt cake.
In contrast, a Pound cake is much easier to make. Even though people no longer use the pound measurement, they still maintain the 1:1:1:1 ratio for the core ingredients. You do not require any fancy equipment or technique. And the ingredients are hardly uncommon.
So, if you are looking for a simple yet tasty treat with your afternoon tea, a Pound cake will more than suffice.
Can You Bake a Regular Cake in a Bundt Pan?
You can definitely make a regular cake in a Bundt pan. It should be pretty clear by now that Bundt cake has nothing to do with the ingredients. It is the shape of the cake that truly counts.
So, you can make just about any type or flavor of cake and cook it in a Bundt pan to give it that patent shape. Simply make any cake exactly the way you would make them normally: chocolate, plain vanilla, red velvet, etc. Then pour the batter inside a Bundt pan carefully so as not to spill it. Finally, put it in the oven and cool it down after it is baked.
Of course, the classical Bundt pan has seen many variations over time. So, even among Bundt pans, there can be noticeable differences. Some pans have the shape of a particular fruit. Some have a wider or longer chimney than others. But the basic concept remains the same in all of them. And their design, even if it varies, is instantly recognizable.
What Types of Pound Cakes Are There?
Due to the simplicity of its design and making process, Pound cake naturally lends itself to several iterations. We have already discussed the popularity of sour cream Pound cakes throughout the United States. But these cakes are popular outside of the States as well.
Quatre-quarts is the name French people call their Pound cakes. The word translates to “four quarters” because the traditional cake has equal weights in each of the four ingredients. In the Caribbean regions that speak French make Christmas Pound cakes with rum.
Mexican Pound cakes are called “panque.” This recipe closely follows its American counterpart. But walnuts and raisins are very common add-ins.
In Colombia and Venezuela, the Pound cake has a slightly different name. They are called “ponque.” This cake is very popular at weddings and other social gatherings. The cake is often drenched in wine.
Can You Make Bundt Cake With a Cake Mix?
You can certainly use any boxed cake mix in a Bundt pan to make a Bundt cake. The challenge you are likely to face is filling the entire pan. And if the pan is not stacked properly, the cake will not take the right shape.
So, make sure that the amount of boxed cake mix can fill the entire pan. You may require two boxes for this to work.
Another important part is greasing the Bundt pan appropriately. As you know by now, the shape is everything for a Bundt cake. And if you cannot get the cake out of the pan after baking, you will more than likely break it. And because the pan has so many grooves, it will take a bit more care. Remember to let it cool down before you try to get the cake out.
First, you should separate the edges of the cake from the pan with a sharp knife. Next, place a large enough plate on top of the pan and gently flip the pan over. Afterward, slowly lift the pan up until the cake comes out cleanly. You may need to give it a gentle tap or shake for a clean exit.
Why Is It Called Bundt Cake?
Bundt cake cakes are called such because they are made in a Bundt pan, which has a distinct shape. The word “Bundt” comes from a German word, “bundkuchen”, which translates to “a cake for gathering”. H. Dalquist added a “T” at the end of “bund” and trademarked it.
How Long to Let a Bundt Cake Cool?
Normally, you should allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven. Once it is completely cooled, then you can start to remove it from the pan and cut it.
What Kind of Flour Is Best For Pound Cake?
Cake flour is usually the best choice for making Pound cake. But you can use all-purpose flour if that is the only option available to you.
Is Pound Cake Better the Next Day?
Pound cakes can taste better the next day, as the moisture inside the cake spreads more evenly in that time. You can keep a Pound cake fresh for a week if you close it in an airtight container and refrigerate it.
To sum up, while Pound cakes are simple in design and execution, a Bundt pan can make any regular cake into a unique creation. Just choose whichever dessert better suits your taste and needs, and you will be good to go.