The Invention of the Bundt © Pan, An American Success Story or how David Dalquist altered the evolution of modern cake in America
Okay, time for Food Jeopardy - score five points for every correct answer and make sure you answer in a question form.
Question 1: What piece of bakeware, commonly found in a North
American kitchen, became a phenom of domestic life?
Answer:" The Bundt Pan".
Question 2: What was the inspiration behind the original Bundt ©
Answer: What was a request from a Minnesota Hadassah chapter?"
Question 3: Nordic Ware (a division of Northland Aluminum
Products) first introduced their trademark Bundt © pans in l949 but what another event helped send this popular pan over the top.
Answer: "What is the l966 Seventh Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off contest?".
And you thought a Bundt © pan was something ordinary! Well, it's a pan that has alot of history in every one of its eight, fluted edges and is a true success story that originates in the kitchen of the American heartland. To get to the "Bundt cake pan in every pantry" penetration is a marketing tale that bears recounting because the bundt cake pan success began in a most unassuming way.
In l946, David Dalquist Sr. returned from his naval duties of WW II and founded the Nordic Ware company. One day, about 18 months after opening, a trio of "very nice ladies, one a Mrs. Jacobs" Dalquist recalled when I interviewed him a while back by phone, came by to visit him. They were from the local Hadassah chapter of Minneapolis, a charitable organization with strong roots in the Jewish community throughout the United States and Canada. They were known to a large extent, much like Junior League organizations, for their fund raising cookbooks, brimful of easy, tasty, traditional recipes. The Hadassah ‘trio’ approached Dalquist with a request to produce a "bund" (no "t" yet - see Sidebar on What's In A Name) pan similar to a hand-made mold that the chapter's president had inherited from her European grandmother. Eager for opportunities to get his then-fledgling shop bustling with work, the young engineer was happy to accommodate the request. Currently, Nordic Ware is some 270,000 square foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility but with a maze of moulding equipment, forming presses and conveyorized high-production coating lines, but the original Nordic Ware was a small hands-on shop. Upon examination, Dalquist determined it was definitely a "pan from the old country", likely made in tinned steel, with a seam, indicated hand manufacturing". How to reproduce this in an industrialized setting? Nordicware had two options : one, an aluminum cast pan and the other, a formed aluminum pan. A cast pan is one wherein molten metal, predominately aluminum in this case, is poured into a mold and "cast" in a form. The formed pan is made of almost-pure aluminum sheeting which is put into a dye and press and spun into shape.
For a couple of years, the pan did fairly well as homemakers found the fluted, elegant pan suited to a variety of quick breads and pound cakes. Increasingly, homemakers baked with it and magazine editors used the pan in many stylized food shots. But when several of entries in the Pillsbury Bake Off contest began using the pan for their entries, another era in the life of the bundt pan began. Finalist, Texan Ella Helfrich's famed Tunnel of Fudge Cake proved just the ticket to put Bundt on the map. In l966, her winning Tunnel of Fudge Cake took Second Grand Prize place honors and launched an unquenchable thirst for the pan it was baked in. Suddenly, the demand for the original Bundt cake escalated through the roof.
Realizing their incredible popularity, Pillsbury created an entire line of bundt cake mixes - Chocolate Macaroon, Chocolate Eclair, and Black Forest Cherry and Chocolate Caramel Nut Bundt were some - that used this pan, tying in their promotions and cake mix product with Nordic Ware. The mix was a great hit – as it used only five ingredients, one of which was an instant icing mix, no longer on the market as consumer preference segued to canned frostings. The Tunnel of Fudge version the company now sports at its web site (http:///www.pillsbury.com) calls for common pantry baking ingredients to garner the same effect. Nordicware relaunched the mixes, by all accounts. They also have a great cookbook with many unique Bundt cake recipes to try.
The launch and success of the Bundt Cake Mixes eventually wound up on the cover of the Wall Street Journal. Around the end of l972, Pillsbury occupied about 9% of the market share in its category; a little over two years later, after the inception of the bundt cake mixes that called for Nordic Ware's original Bundt pan, sales skyrocketed and Pillsbury became number one, occupying 51% of the market share."No matter how many pans Pillsbury ordered" (often the pans were sold in "combination paks" of a pan and a Bundt pan cake mix), the amount was underestimated", recalls Dalquist. For about 18 months, in bundt mix mania, Nordic Ware was working to capacity, manufacturing 30,000 (!) Bundt pans daily to keep up with the demand - hard to imagine these days, in an era that is the antithesis of scratch baking! According to Pillsbury, the company got some 200,000 requests at one point for the elusive pans, as houseware departments nationwide were gleaned of their stock.
These days, Nordicware estimates they are over 40 million original Bundt pans in use (I own at least four of them) - the type of product penetration marketing men and women fantasize about - almost a "bundt pan in every pantry".
A Pillsbury spokesperson speculates that the Bundt cake mixes, once so popular in the l970's, declined as the company saw the consumer shift from large, family style cakes to smaller, convenience mixes that were "snakier", such as the myriad cookie and brownie mixes on the market. "Consumers perceived a bundt cake as a large cake - and unless they are entertaining, they are looking for smaller items when considering baking up something. Bundt cakes became more regulated to a special occasion"…or if you just check out the cakes in the coffee house and café scene, regulated to their new incarnation as coffee house cakes. For the home bundt-er, Nordicware manufactured a while line of alternate sized Bundt cake pans. There are 6 cup Bundt pans, 12 cup ones, minis and light, as well as extra heavy duty, and non stick ones.
The original Bundt (C) cake was a pound cake, "heavy and quite buttery", says Nordicware, but these days, the cake in question could be almost any sort of coffee cake derivative (pound cake, sweet yeasted cake, basic butter cake, or popularized carrot cake) - the common element is its form. The appeal of the bundtis that it immediately makes a homespun, scratch cake elegant just by virtue of the unique mold. Furthermore, its fluted design makes for easy portion control, as the fluted indentures result in clear lines of where to cut a slice. (Just make sure, even if it is non-stick, you grease it thoroughly!)
You can use a Bundt (c) OR a tube or angel cake pan pretty well interchangably in recipes calling for one or another.
There are a variety of Bundt cake pans on the market - made by Nordicware as well as what are referred to as fluted tube pans (FTP) by companies who make a similar pan but are not permitted the use of the trademark name of Bundt.
Of course, nothing but nothing beats both an original and a legend and Nordiware has that in spades. Nowadays the Bundt © pan offerings from the company are mind-boggling. Each pan is sheer art and part of the 70th anniversary celebration. Check them out along with Nordicware's own recipe book of Bundt (C) Cakes.
I prefer a heavy duty, cast Nordicware Bundt. If you use a lighter weight Bundt pan, make sure you bake it by placing it on a baking sheet before it goes in the oven to ensure the crust does not get too brown. The Mirro WearEver Company had their owo introduced their fluted tube pan, the trademarked "Crown Burst Mold", (try Mirror Wear Ever online) constructed of non-stick on a substantial weigh aluminum, with a porcelain exterior which proved an excellent when testing these cakes. Durable, easy to clean, and featuring "Alumacore", that makes for even heating. Other options include a line of durable, heat resistant, glass fluted tube pans from the Czech Republic by Kavalier Glassworks of North American Inc. I like these pans a lot’ they’re more durable than one would imagine glass is, offer great release, and do double duty for savoury things like potato casseroles, as well as cakes.
Just remember: even if the fluted pan you purchase says ‘non stick’, make sure you grease it very, very well to ensure baked cake does not get stuck in the fluted groves. I do this by brushing in a very thick coat of Crisco. If you still have a problem getting your cake out of the pan, set the cooled, baked cake on a burner set on low. The heat will warm up the pan grease and cake release should result.
Original Tunnel of Fudge Cake
Cream Cheese Russian Coffee Cake
Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake
New Way Tunnel of Fudge Cake
Original Tunnel of Fudge Cake
This is the Pillsbury famed contest finalist but respun via www.betterbaking.com kitchens. I am pleased to offer a decadent re-spin of this cake that has a cream cheese and fudge center. This original recipe is still a toothsome treat.
1 3/4 cups unsalted butter - softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa, measured then sifted
2 cups chopped walnuts (essential)
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 -2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter or margarine with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add icing sugar. Blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup (this step is important since too much flour results in a dry cake). Level off. By hand, stir in remaining cake ingredients until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan, spread evenly. Bake at 350 for 58-60 minutes. Cool upright in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Invert onto serving plate.
Glaze: In a small bowl combine all glaze ingredients until well blended. Spoon over top of cake, allowing some to run down sides.
N.B. - Since this cake has a "tunnel" of fudge, an ordinary doneness test cannot be used.
Cream Cheese Russian Style Coffee Cake
Delis often call cakes like this "Russian" or "Hungarian" coffeecake. A buttery crumb and layers of fruit and nuts. You can substitute a regular streusel filling if you wish. Cream cheese in the batter makes this cake extra smooth and moist. Most Jewish homes have a version of this rich coffeecake. This is a tall and statuesque rendition.
1/3 cup dark brown sugar - packed firmly
2 teaspoons cocoa
1/3 cup coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup dark raisins - plumped and dried, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup yellow raisins - plumped, dried, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (preferably toasted)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar - packed firmly
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Filling: Mix all ingredients together and set aside. You can also mince filling ingredients in a food processor for another texture. Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease a 12 cup Bundt cake pan or a 9 or 10 inch tube pan or angel food cake pan.
Cake: Cream the butter with brown and white sugars until fluffy. Add cream cheese and cream until blended. Add eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly, then blend in yogurt or sour cream. Fold in flour, salt, baking powder, soda and scraping down sides and bottom occasionally. Mix well on low speed of mixer. Spread one-third of batter in prepared pan. Top with some of the filling mixture and continue to alternate.
Bake until done - 50-60 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing.
Coffee & Banana Blueberry Bundt
(c) A Marcy Goldman,?BetterBaking.Com Original Recipe
Adapted from a coffee liqueur recipe book, this cake is elegant indeed. Blueberries can be omitted but they are a nice touch and make this nicely seasonal. Oil makes this cake ‘pareve’ or neutral and can be served with milk or meat meals. It is a good example of the inventiveness of Jewish bakers – importing a lot of flavor with other ingredients when butter and other dairy ingredients are not being used. You can of course, substitute butter if you like. The cake is flavorful either way.
1 cup oil or unsalted butter - room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup strong, brewed coffee
1 cup mashed bananas
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup chopped, toasted macadamia nuts
1 1/2 cups semi-frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease a 12 cup Bundt pan or a 10 inch tube or angel food cake pan.
Blend the oil (or cream, if using butter) with the sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, then vanilla, milk and mashed bananas, scraping down often to blend batter evenly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir dry ingredients into batter along with brewed coffee. Fold in coconut, nuts, and blueberries and gently mix to make a smooth batter. Try not to break up fruit.
Spoon into prepared baking pan. Bake 50-55 minutes, until cake tests done. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Garnish with sifted confectioner's sugar.
New Wave Tunnel of Fudge Cake Dramatic, elegant, easy and a real crowd pleaser. Cake:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
2 large eggs - beaten lightly
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa - measured then sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup warm brewed coffee
1/4 cup sugar
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
Glaze (see below)
1 cup confectioner's sugar
3 squares unsweetened chocolate - melted and cooled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
hot water to thin if needed
Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease a 12 cup or ten inch Bundt or tube pan. Combine sugar, oil and eggs and beat for one minute until smooth. Add remaining cake ingredients and beat on medium two to three minutes (use a whisk of doing by hand). Set cake batter aside.
Filling: Cream sugar with cream cheese, then add vanilla, egg and chocolate chips and blend until smooth. Ladle half of batter into pan. Spoon filling evenly over this layer. Cover with remaining batter. Bake for 70 minutes or until cake tests done. Top should spring back when gently pressed.
Let cake cool at least 30 minutes before removing from pan. If cake sticks, place on a warm burner to loosen. Cake firms up as it reaches room temperature.
Glaze: combine all ingredients to form a pourable glaze, thinning with water if necessary. Pour over cooled cake. This cake freezes well and keeps several days covered at room temperature. © This is a Marcy Goldman/BetterBaking.com original recipe This recipe is for sole, personal use of visitors of BetterBaking.Com Online Magazine. Marcy Goldman/ BetterBaking.com recipes are for your enjoyment but not to be posted or reprinted without express permission of the author/baker. Thank you kindly for respecting my copyright and happy baking. BetterBaking.Com, established 1997.
This recipe is for sole, personal use of visitors of BetterBaking.Com Online Magazine. Marcy Goldman/
BetterBaking.com recipes are for your enjoyment but not to be posted or reprinted without express
permission of the author/baker. Thank you kindly for respecting my copyright and happy baking.
BetterBaking.Com, established 1997.