Before the Bundt pan: A short history of Nordic Ware

As discussed in a previous post, being the baker I am, I’m a huge fan of the Bundt pan.  When I heard about a talk being given by Dorothy and Jennifer Dalquist of Nordic Ware, I jumped at the chance to take part.  On Wednesday, April 27,  the American Swedish Institute presented “Before the Bundt: A History of Nordic Ware's Scandinavian Heritage.”  Dorothy Dalquist, co-founder of Nordic Ware, and her granddaughter Jennifer Dalquist, brand manager of Nordic Ware, discussed the history of the company and specifically the æbleskiver pan.

Once a small company working out of a basement in Minneapolis, Nordic Ware has grown to be a respected cooking and baking brand worldwide.  Most people are familiar with the Bundt pan, but the Dalquists shared Nordic Ware’s beginnings, explaining the evolution of their products since the 1940s.  Ever the entrepreneur, H. David Dalquist honed his skills and cookware continuously, always eager to have a quality product.  In the early years of the company, Nordic Ware was known locally and held its ground here.  Business really took a leap thanks in part to the Bundt pan.  In the 1966 Pillsbury bakeoff, a woman from Texas placed second with her tunnel of fudge cake, making the pan a hot commodity nationwide.

What’s not as well-known is the fact that Nordic Ware consisted of old-world ethnic Scandinavian cookware and bakeware long before and since the hype of the Bundt pan.  The presentation given by the Dalquists elaborated on just that, while showcasing the Nordic plant, building additions, and the creation of merchandise with computer technology.  Lots has changed--and for the better--since the days of the heavy cast iron prototypes of the 1940s and '50s!

A lively cooking demonstration concluded the presentation as the two tag-teamed in creating æbleskivers, a delectable treat typically filled with apples.  The audience was given samples along with pieces of Bundt cake.  This enjoyable presentation and gathering made it clear the family business is going strong and will continue to do so.  It’s heartwarming to know that this local Minnesota company continues to succeed.  Congratulations, Nordic Ware!