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Our best Bundt cake recipes, starring chocolate, fruit, nuts and more

Pecan Bundt Cake. (Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Diana Jeffra for The Washington Post)
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If the Bundt pan had a motto, it would be this quote that appeared in The Post in 1997 from David Dalquist, son of the man who invented and trademarked the pan: “You don’t have to be a fancy baker to bake a fancy cake.”

As reported by cookbook author Marcy Goldman in that piece, the pan’s origins were in fact pretty humble. Around 1949, members of the Minneapolis chapter of Hadassah, a Jewish women’s group, approached engineer H. David Dalquist about replicating a European ceramic baking mold used to make Bundkuchens, party or “gathering” cakes. Dalquist obliged with a heavy cast aluminum model he created for Nordic Ware, the line of cookware he founded with his wife, Dotty, that is still run by the family. He could not trademark the German word “Bund,” so he tacked on a “t” at the end and the name was born.

Part of the brilliance of the fluted tube pan is its shape. The hole in the center helps conduct heat to the middle of the batter, which is why it’s especially adept at baking the dense, moist cakes often made in it.

Two developments helped catapult the Bundt into the stratosphere. In 1966, a Texas baker named Ella Helfrich placed second in the Pillsbury Bake-Off with her Tunnel of Fudge Cake. At roughly the same time, Dalquist figured out how to manufacture a lightweight aluminum version.

Today, Nordic Ware estimates that more than 75 million households around the world have one of its iconic pans, which now come in a wide variety of designs, from the classic fluted to much more elaborate shapes, including braids, flowers, hearts and even a haunted house.

Recipes that call for a Bundt pan can also be made in 9- or 10-inch tube pans, Goldman says. Many Bundt recipes can be halved and baked in an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch or 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

Here’s a selection of delicious and stunning Bundt cake recipes from our archives starring nuts, fruit, chocolate and more interesting ingredients.

Pecan Bundt Cake, above. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior of this cake from cookbook author Vallery Lomas. Once you slice into it, you’ll be wooed by the tender interior (thank you, brown sugar!) packed with pecans, golden raisins and crushed pineapple.

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Apple and Pear Cake With Citrus and Nuts. My family recipe also features a plush cake studded with fruit and nuts. This is an oil-based cake, so it’s great for those avoiding dairy.

Browse our Recipe Finder for more than 9,700 Post-tested recipes.

Jewish Apple Cake. Here’s one more from my family cookbook, and it features two layers of cinnamony apples.

7 apple recipes for baking pies, cakes, tarts and more

Grandmother’s Pound Cake. In one of the recipes featured in her Baking Basics newsletter for Voraciously, Joy “The Baker” Wilson seeks inspiration in the kind of cake many of us may have enjoyed a slice of at our grandparents’ house. Yes, the recipe calls for vegetable shortening (trans-fat-free is standard these days), which Wilson says is key to unlocking the signature texture and height, in part because shortening, unlike butter, is 100 percent fat.

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Chocolate Bundt Cake. My recipe was inspired by a recipe inspired by the famous Tunnel of Fudge, and it is a cake for true chocolate lovers. Just be sure to get one of the Dutch-process cocoa powders recommended in the recipe so that you have the right amount of fat for the best texture.

8 chocolate dessert recipes that deliver big, bold flavor

Gulab Jamun Cake. I adore gulab jamun, the Indian dessert of fried dough saturated with a sweet, floral syrup. This cake from cookbook author Hetal Vasavada hits all those same flavor and texture notes — the cake is soaked with a cinnamon, saffron, rose water and cardamom syrup — with a gorgeous glaze to boot.

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake. Even if you don’t make lemon curd from scratch (though the microwave makes it a breeze), you can still enjoy this bright and citrusy cake. It also offers a wonderful method for greasing the pan, which involves making a paste of equal amounts flour and shortening. You can use it any other time you want to guarantee a clean release from a Bundt pan.

Chai-Spiced Apple Butter Cake. This is a great recipe for using up that jar of apple butter you impulse-bought at the farmers market or on your fall outing to the orchard. Want to make your own apple butter? Even better. Here’s how to do it in the slow-cooker.

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Shirley’s Coffee Cake. Featuring rings of sweet, cinnamon-laced streusel, this is the kind of cake you serve with, you guessed it, a pot of coffee — or tea.