If you’re an experienced baker, then you know that different kinds of baking pans are best for different kinds of baked goods. A cake baked in a loaf pan has a different texture and cooks differently than one baked in a flat round pan. There are recipes that are specially designed for baking goods in a specific shape of a pan and some pans that are specifically designed for a certain kind of cake or bread recipe. Are you wondering which cake and baking pans you should have in your arsenal? Here’s a quick overview of the different kinds of baking pans available and how you might use them.
Standard Baking Pans
Standard baking pans are 8 inch and 9 inch round pans. They usually come in sets of two to make a 2 layer cake. If you use cake mixes, most cake mixes are meant to make two 8 or 9 inch layers.
Loaf pans are rectangular pans that are deeper than standard cake pans. They are designed to bake loaves of bread and bread-like cakes. They’re usually not the best choice for baking a regular cake recipe because their depth means that the outside of the cake bakes before the middle, making it dry and crusty. One of niftiest new versions of the loaf pan is a pan that bakes your banana bread or cranberry nut bread already sliced!
Bundt Cake Pans
Bundt pans are also called “ring pans”. They are one piece pans with a spindle or pillar in the middle, designed to cook heavy cake batters through without burning the outsides. Bundt pans are ideal for coffee cakes, fruit cakes and other thick batters that don’t cook well in flat pans.
Brownie pans are generally flat square or rectangular pans that make it easy to cut brownies into squares. Brownie pans are also ideal for cookie squares. There are two new styles of brownie pans that make brownies even better and easier. One is similar to the self-slicing loaf pans, you pour the brownie batter into the pan and then press an insert into place. The brownies come out of the oven already cut in neat, even squares. The other is an S-shaped brownie pan that has interior sidewalls so that every single brownie has at least two chewy brownie edges.
Also known as “Section Pans” these nifty pans are designed to bake edible “bowls” similar to strawberry shortcakes. They’re perfect for nearly any kind of cake recipe, but are especially nice with sponge cake, which bakes up light and airy, and soaks up the juices of berries and other fillings you might add after baking.
Springform Cake Pans
Springform cake pans are two piece pans that consist of a bottom and a side piece. The side piece is designed to fit tightly around the edge of the bottom piece. A latch loosens the side and allows it to be easily removed from the bottom so that the cake can be served with the bottom serving as a platter. Cheesecake is most commonly cooked in a springform pan, as are tortes and other recipes that are not quite firm enough to be tipped out of a cake pan onto a plate.
Novelty Cake Pans
How do you make a cake shaped like a bunny? Or one in the shape of a number 5? With a novelty cake pan of course. Bunny cake pans, train cake pans and cake pans in the shape of popular cartoon characters are just some of the novelty cake pans that are available on the market. One general rule of thumb is that tall novelty cakes like beehives and standing bunny rabbits should be made with a firm cake mix like a Lady Baltimore cake.
Specialty Cake Pans
Some cake pans have been designed specifically to cook different kinds of batters. The shape makes a difference in the texture and flavor. These are some of the best known specialty cake pans:
Scone pans are designed to bake the heavy, crumbly scones that are so popular in Europe for breakfast. Each cake pan is divided into wedges so that each scone is cooked individually.
Cornbread pans are made of heavy cast metal and are designed to make cornbread in the shape of ears of corn. The unique shape makes toasty, crisp cornbread sticks that soak up butter deliciously.
3 Tier Cake Pans
Tiered cakes are especially popular for Sweet 16 parties and girls’ birthday parties. You can put together your own sets of tiered cake pans, but it’s much easier to buy a set of 3 tier cake pans which are perfectly sized for one cake mix.
Choosing the right baking pan for your recipe is an important part of baking tasty treats that are the best that they can be. While many of these cake pans can be substituted for others, be sure that you choose a cake pan similar to the one called for in the recipe for best results.
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Sandy Darson is a freelance writer who writes about cooking tips and tools, often discussing specific topics such as kitchen supplies.
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