Sunday, October 14, 2012

What I Learned From My Bundt Pan

They say everything good doesn’t come easy and that the finest quality of anything comes with hard work, passion and precision. For me, I push a tiny bit harder to do just a bit better than what I think I can do. I am willing to work from the ground up. A bit of an independent person by nature, I often opt for doing everything myself. But time has taught me to ask for help, despite me trying to channel Wonder Woman. I know I sometimes just can’t do it all, even though I still sometimes try.

And these days, despite being ever-busy and often taking on more than I can handle, I try to make things easier for myself without jeopardizing mine or my family’s health or welfare. And I learned how to do it with a Bundt pan.

For too many years to count, I wanted a Bundt pan. I think I originally figured my cakes would taste better if they looked nicely formed in that ‘Bundt pan’ way. It’s all in the presentation, they say. But the need festered inside me and I couldn’t take it anymore – I wanted one no matter what the reason.

So, fed-up with my lack of Bundt pan-ownership, I finally marched over to Canadian Tire (a place I have penned many stories about) and bought a Bundt pan. With a ‘if it’s the last thing I ever do’ determination, I went straight to the check-out, proudly handed over my hard-earned cash (those things are expensive), and with my Bundt pan in one hand and my Canadian Tire money in another, I marched home. “SEE!?” I wanted to shake the pan at the world, “See this? I FINALLY have one! I am whole! I am WOMAN!”

Once home, I washed it then put it on the counter to admire it for the rest of the day. I was finally the proud owner of a Bundt pan. Then suddenly, it hit me.

I had no Bundt pan recipes!

I didn’t know anything about special Bundt cakes. You would think after all the time waiting for one, I would have stacks upon reams upon heaps of recipes waiting for the day I would finally grace my kitchen with a Bundt pan.

So the hunt was on. Through my cookbooks and all over the internet I started searching. And in my searching, I found a few tricks of the trade, so to speak.

I discovered the world of baking with cake mixes. Not JUST the baking of the actual cake mix by following the instructions on the box, but the ‘re-purposing’ of cake mixes to create something more than it was originally intended. Cake mix, sometimes along with a box of instant pudding mix, a few more eggs than usual, maybe some fruit or nuts, and voila! You have a fancy cake that might have otherwise taken eons to make, but all done in a blink of an eye!

During my important research, I discovered this ‘cake mix repurposing’ concept has been around for the last 50 years or so. Okay, so I’m a bit slow in just discovering the concept now.
Baking from scratch is still the cheapest, and of course, the healthiest way to bake. But when cake mixes go on sale, and I have no time or not enough ‘from scratch’ ingredients at home, and making something different the easy way might be the fastest – why not?

I sometimes feel guilty for entertaining such a blasphemous concept. When folks compliment my fine baking (after picking a bit of eggshell out of their cake slice), my guilt over my infidelity towards the baking world rears its head; I have to confess it all. No one has dumped cake over my head, yet, and they are pleasantly surprised by the taste.

The journey my Bundt pan took me on was much needed. Without it I would have never have learned the lesson of just letting go and making things easier for myself.

I learned that not only did I put myself back into the kitchen I am always so eager to get out of, but that it’s okay to skimp and cheat a bit here, to be able to give a bit more there. No one has died from me not being Martha Stewart, just like no one has died from having cake from a cake mix. Many might say ‘Why bake at all? It’s easier to just buy a cake!’ But why do that when it’s still cheaper to make one – and heck, I have this fabulous Bundt pan to use!

So needless to say a whole new world has opened for me. My Bundt pan usage is in overdrive. Every cake, even if not using a Bundt cake recipe, is baked in my prized pan, and the first place I visit in the grocery store is the baking aisle – for sales on cake mixes.

If I want more time for family, and my writing, something’s gotta give. Taking the easy way out to progress further in other things is sometimes okay, and a silly little cake mix might just do it for me – with a Bundt pan for added flair.

Be sure to visit the recipe section to see a few recipes you can use for your Bundt pan - if you are lucky as me to own one, that is!


  1. Oh Lisa

    I love your columns. And I hate to say it but I think for anyone under thirty and many over thirty baking a cake mix IS baking from scratch. Add things and you're a master chef!

    1. Thank you Pat - and I think you're right! Take care, and thanks for reading. Lisa