A fluted tube pan is a pan for baking cakes in. It has fluted sides, and a hollow tube coming up through the middle. It is like a tube cake pan (aka angel food cake pan) with the exception of the sides.
When turned out of the pan, a caked baked in it has crenelated sides, making it look somewhat like a wreath with a hole in the middle, with a rounded, grooved top. The result of having fluted sides is that you have more surface to be crusty, and to catch icing. The cakes can be glazed, frosted (aka iced), or dusted with icing sugar. The cake batters are usually based on butter or pound cake recipes. The recipes are often designed to come out with fillings running through them.
Fluted tube pans are usually made of cast aluminum, though you can also get them in silicone. They are all-one piece pans, and come in a wide range of sizes. Classic sizes for fluted tube pans are 6 cup and 12 cup (1.5 and 3 litre), though, again, other sizes are available.
Bundt® pans are a brand of fluted tube pans that come in different shapes other than just a wreath. See separate entry on Bundt Pans.
Fluted tube pans need to be very well-greased before each use. Use a pastry brush to grease or butter the pan with, to make sure you get every single small corner and ridge. Some people advise using a mixture of shortening and oil.
Non-stick ones need to be greased and floured despite the fact that they are non-stick. As the non-stick pans age, this helps the non-stick getting less non-stick during use. Even with new ones, though it’s important: the flour gives the batter something to cling to as it rises during baking. The flour might not stick well to all areas of the pan, but do what you can.
The pans should be only ⅔ filled with batter. Baking time can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes for the 10 and 12 cup (2.5 and 3 litre) sizes, depending on the recipe. The mini sizes take 15 to 35 minutes.
Some people give the following trick to get the cake out intact: when the cake is done, as soon as you remove it out of the oven, set the pan (right-side up) on a tea towel in the sink that has been doused with boiling hot water. Let it stand there for 10 to 20 seconds, then take the cake out of the sink, and invert it on a wire cooling rack right away.
Many makes of fluted tube pans need to be handwashed.
If you’re making a very large bowl of punch, you can freeze water in a fluted tube pan, thus using it as a fancy mould for a large block of ice for your punch bowl.
The pans can also be used for aspic salads, and for meatloaf rings.