So where’s the history?

I know, I usually have some to offer. This week though, the historical pickin’s are a little slim. I can talk about bundt pans a bit of course. Now me, I instantly assumed that the metal bundt pan dated to about the 1870’s or 80’s, the time in American history when popular baking exploded and metalworks across the nation were cranking out pans and gadgets by the thousands. It turns out that the bundt pan is much younger than that, popularly speaking.

While ceramic bundt forms go back probably 200 years in Central Europe, the light metal variety weren’t seen on our shores until 1950, when a Minnesotan by the name of H. David Dalquist trademarked an aluminum design, one he fashioned at the request of several female members of the Hadassah Society of St. Louis Park (a near-west suburb of Minneapolis). His company, Nordic Ware, is still based there, and is churning out more cool pans than ever (I took a picture of a few at the NRA show last May).

What does “bundt” mean? The Germans describe a round cake with a hole in it as a bundkuchen. I’m told the word “bund” means a group of people. “A cake for a group of people”? I dunno, it’s the best I can do.

RLB adds:

The first prototype Rose Levy [yes, that was her name] brought from Germany to Dave Dalquist was cast iron (i have one but not the original which is in their office). The aluminum one is not light, it’s cast aluminum which is part of why it bakes so evenly. They used to coat it with a dark color until recently when they lightened it. Dark color ones need to have the temperature decreased by 25˚F or the crust becomes much too dark by the time the inside is baked. You’re right, though, the metal is lighter than the ceramic which is so slow to conduct — the cake falls instead of setting in a timely manner!

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