As an avid baker, I have a special loyalty to the Bundt pan. It holds a special place in my heart being it’s Minnesota-made. I also remain loyal to this baking vessel as I’ve never been disappointed with its adaptability, ease, and production. Today’s post is in honor of National Bundt Day, November 15, and the impact one customer request can have on a business.
Nordic Ware founder H. David Dalquist, invented the Bundt pan in 1950. He did so at the request of Rose Joshua and Fannie Schanfield, members of the Minneapolis chapter of Hadassah, a Jewish women’s service organization. They asked Dalquist to make a pan for bundkuchens, or “gathering cakes.”
At a Hadassah luncheon, Rose lamented the quality of American-style cakes and longed for the rich, dense cakes of her European childhood. In order to make these, a special type of pan was required—one with a hole in the center that allows for heat to permeate the cake batter from all sides. With this type of form, a heavier batter could be baked without having under-baked dough in the center. Fannie and Rose met with Dalquist, and Rose showed him her mother’s ceramic cake pan. This became the prototype for the Bundt pan. Dalquist modified the design by introducing folds in the fluted edges as well as creating the pan out of aluminum.
A few months later, a dozen Nordic Ware factory “seconds” were delivered to a Hadassah member’s home, and Hadassah sold the pans to members for $4.00 each. The women of the Hadassah Society called them “bund pans”. The German word bund in bundkuchen originated either from bundling or wrapping the cake’s dough around the pan’s center hole or because a bund is a gathering of people. In each German word, the final d is pronounced like a t. Dalquist trademarked the word Bundt.
The Bundt pan sold slowly at first until 1966 when Ella Rita Helfrich from Texas placed second in a Pillsbury-sponsored baking contest. Her tunnel of fudge cake made in a Bundt pan prompted a scramble for them, causing the Bundt pan to surpass the tin Jell-O mold. It became the most-sold pan in the US! Since inception, more than 50 million Bundt pans have been sold by Nordic Ware. Let’s applaud Mr. H. David Dalquist in taking the risk with this pan but recognizing this product niche!