If cake decorating leaves you feeling ham-fisted, then take heart. Bundt tins can beautify your bakes in a trice, says Carol.
A couple of years ago I discovered the American bundt tins or 'pans', as they're known in the USA. If you haven't come across these fabulous finely detailed cake tins, I recommend that you track them down. They're not cheap, but are excellent quality, heavy gauge, non-stick and guaranteed for 25 years and, I think, are well worth the expense.
These ingenious cake tins produce the most fantastic intricately shaped 3D cakes - which look as if you've spent hours toiling away in the kitchen, when in fact you just mix your cake, spoon it into the tin, bake it and turn it out.
There are lots of bundt tin designs, such as a field of daisies, fleur de lis, sunflower, star, rose, snowflake bun tin (for individual cakes) and many more. Upmarket cookware shops have started to sell them in this country and more shapes and sizes are becoming available here. Alternatively, you can find them online on American cookware websites and of course if you're planning a trip to the States you can stock up!
The uniquely American cakes are rich, soft and moist and are practically an institution in the U.S. Bundt cake mixes specially made for the tin sizes are widely available in American supermarkets and examples of the 1950s tins are on display in the revered Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
'Bund' (German for a gathering of people) cakes originated in Europe hundreds of years ago with the kugelhopf tin, when a baker discovered that if a metal tube was placed in the centre of the tin, the cake cooked more evenly and rose higher than usual. The technique was widely copied and probably taken to America by European immigrants. But it was H. David Dalquist of Nordic Ware in Minneapolis who created the first aluminium 'bundt' tin in 1950 and added a 't' to the end of 'bund'. Bundt is now a registered trademark of the company who still make the iconic cake tins today.
I own several bundt tins, including my Christmas tree bundt tin, and also use them to make spectacular bread and jellies. For my Christmas tree cake, I just sift some icing sugar over the cake to coat the incredibly detailed cluster of trees with a light powdering of 'snow' and - voila - a work of art!
Take a look at our bundt cake recipes.