What Is the Difference Between Bundt Cake Pan and Tube Pan?

If you have a cake recipe that specifically calls for a Bundt cake pan, do you necessarily have to use it? Is it possible for you to exchange it with a similar pan, like a tube pan?

As a rule of thumb, if your recipe explicitly mentions a Bundt pan, then you should stick with it.

Even though a Bundt cake pan and tube pan look quite similar, they usually cannot be substituted for one another.

Continue reading to find out the difference between a Bundt cake pan and a tube pan.

Differences in the Design of a Bundt Cake Pan and a Tube Pan

A tube pan comes with a tube in the middle, which is where its name is derived from. A bundt pan also features a tube in the center.

However, despite this similarity, a tube pan and a bundt cake pan are not the same.

Here is a complete breakdown of the difference between a bundt cake pan and a tube pan.

There are some major differences in the design of a bundt cake pan and a tube pan.

Tube Pan

A tube pan is any kind of round baking pan that has a hollow tube in the middle.

Tube Pan

The tube helps in conducting heat, which is useful for making deep, large cakes that bake swiftly.

Moreover, this feature also allows the cake to get out of the pan more easily once it has been baked.

Bundt Cake Pan

A bundt cake pan is also a type of tube pan. Its design is based on centuries-old German cakes called Gugelhupf or Bundkuchen.

light aluminum Bundt pans

A bundt cake pan has heavy fluted and scalloped sides to allow the cake batter to rise and bake evenly. These fluted sides also help to give cakes a decorative sculpted design.

This minimizes the need for embellishments such as fancy frosting techniques.

Bundt cake pans are heavily constructed, typically with cast aluminum. However, they can even be made of ceramic or cast iron.

Also read: How to Get a Cake Out of a Bundt Pan?

Purpose of a Bundt Cake Pan and a Tube Pan

Bundt cake pans and tube pans are used for completely different purposes.

In most cases, they are not interchangeable.

Tube Pan

Tube pans are designed for baking very light delicate cakes like sponge cakes, chiffon cakes, and angel food cakes. Because of this, tube pans are also commonly referred to as Angel Food cake pans.

Such cakes contain a large number of beaten egg whites and very little quantity of chemical leaveners and flour. For this reason, such cakes don’t have a robust gluten structure as they rise to keep them aloft.

A tube pan allows these delicate cakes to rise by making them cling to their side.

The tube in these pans increases the surface area for the cake to adhere to while it bakes. If there was no tube, the cake would just sink in the middle.

Bundt Cake Pan

On the other hand, bundt cake pans are used for making dense cakes. In fact, the earliest cakes baked in these pans were more like bread than a cake.

Today, bundt cake pans are used for baking pound cakes, coffee cakes, and other types of dense cakes.

These cakes don’t stick to the sides of the bundt cake pan and maintain their fluted shape once baked and removed.

Other types of cakes can also be baked in a bundt cake pan. For instance, many boxed cake pans also include instructions for baking them in a bundt pan.

The larger surface area of bundt cake pans helps in producing more crust, which is desirable in these types of cakes.

Usually, low-fat cake recipes are not suitable for bundt cake pans. This is mostly because such cakes baked in a bundt pan don’t have any flavor in the ridges.

Moreover, low-fat recipes baked in a bundt result in fiddly shapes that are very hard to remove from the pan.

Use of Bundt Cake Pan and a Tube Pan

Both these cake pans have different features and are used for different purposes.

Therefore, the way they are used also varies for both.

Tube Pans

Tube pans do not have to be greased.

This is because the batter clings to the walls of the cake pan while it rises. Greasing a tube pan will not allow this to happen.

Bundt Cake Pans

Greasing is an essential part of baking in a bundt cake pan. In fact, even if you use a non-stick Bundt cake pan, you need to grease it to create an additional layer between the pan and the batter.

The key to greasing a Bundt cake pan is to use a combination of fat (oil, butter, or shortening) and flour.

The flour and fat bake into a protective layer around the cake, ensuring its smooth release from the pan.

Size of a Bundt Cake Pan and a Tube Pan

The sizes of both tube pans and Bundt cake pans are classified according to their capacity.

Tube Pan

The most common dimensions and the corresponding capacities of a tube pan are

  • A 6 inch x 3 inch pan (15 cm x 7.6 cm) is equal to 4 cups
  • A 9 inch x 3 inch pan (23 cm x 7.6 cm) is equal to 10 cups
  • A 10 inch x 4 inch pan (25.5 cm x 10 cm) is equal to 16 cups.

Bundt Cake Pan

The most common dimensions and the corresponding capacities of a bundt cake pan are

  • A 6.5 inch x 3.5 inch pan (16.5 cm x 8.9 cm) is equal to 5.5 cups
  • A 7.5 inch x 3 inch pan (19 cm x 7.6 cm) is equal to 6 cups
  • An 8.5 inch x 3.5 inch pan (21.5 cm x 8.9 cm) is equal to 7 cups
  • A 9 inch x 3 inch pan (23 cm x 7.6 cm) is equal to 9 cups
  • A 10 inch x 3.5 inch pan (25.5 cm x 8.9 cm) is equal to 12 cups
  • The classic Nordic Ware Bundt pan shape measuring 9-inch x 4-inch (23 cm x 10 cm) is equal to 15 cups.
Words of Wisdom – Never use a different-sized tube or Bundt pan for the size mentioned in the recipe. Doing so is more likely going to create a big mess rather than a delicious cake.

If the pan you use is wider than what is specified in the recipe, the depth of the batter will decrease. This will reduce the baking time of the cake.

On the other hand, if you use a pan that is narrower than what is mentioned in the recipe, the depth of the batter will increase. This will increase the baking time of the cake.

In both situations, the texture of the cake is likely to get ruined.

If you’re not sure about the capacity of the pan, you can measure it by filling the pan with water and pouring it into a graduated container.

If the pan is a two-piece pan, you will have to line it first with a plastic bag before filling it with water.

What you Need to Know About Baking in a Tube Pan

Here is a list of things you need to know when baking a cake in a tube pan.

  1. The shape of the cake you bake in a tube pan is going to be quite plain. It won’t have any swirls, patterns, or flutes. You’ll just have a block of cake with a greasy coat over it. However, you do have the option of decorating your cake with frosting.
  2. You can use a tube pan for a recipe that calls for a Bundt pan quite successfully. In fact, this can even make the cake easy to remove because of the removable bottom.
  3. You can bake a highly dense cake with toppings in a tube pan. The toppings usually go on the bottom and are revealed once the cake is removed from the pan and turned upside down.

What you Need to Know About Baking in a Bundt Cake Pan

Bundt cake pans help you make beautiful cakes with eye-catching patterns and swirls. However, there are a couple of things you should know about baking in a bundt cake pan.

  1. You need to use an ample amount of fat while making a Bundt cake. This will allow the cake to be easily released from the pan.
  2. You should sugar the ridges of a Bundt pan before baking a cake in it. The caramelization of sugar will give the cake a slightly crunchy and sparkly coating that enhances the flavor of the cake.
  3. You cannot use a Bundt cake pan to bake delicate, light cakes. The batter can get stuck to the design of the Bundt cake pan and ruin its texture and shape.

Final Words

Understanding the difference between a Bundt cake pan and a tube pan can help you perfect your cake baking skills.

So, buy the right pans, practice, and get ready to treat your loved ones with some mouthwatering cakes!

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