Types of Cake Pans
Selecting the proper cake pans is essential for achieving the right consistency, flavor, and appearance of your baked goods. With a wide variety of cake pan shapes available, it can be difficult to know the best type of baking pan for your task. To help you make your selection, below is information on the most common types of cake pans and their uses.
Traditional Cake Pans
Typically square, rectangular, or circular in shape, traditional cake pans are the standard choice for baking many different kinds of cakes. They have high, straight sides and flat bottoms to create cakes that you can torte or trim to make level, and then layer. Because they also come in a variety of sizes, these pans are commonly used for making tiered wedding cakes.
Novelty Cake Pans
Novelty cake pans have tall sides and flat bottoms and come in a variety of unique shapes like heart, pillow, diamond, and petal. With more corners or sides for cake to stick to, most novelty cake pans need to be carefully greased or floured to help your cake release neatly. These pans are excellent for baking creative cakes without the added time, difficulty, and waste of cake sculpting.
Cupcake Pans or Mini Cake Pans
With several indentations for batter, cupcake and mini cake pans allow you to bake multiple small cakes at once. You can use these pans to make an array of products like traditionally round cupcakes, miniature square cakes, and even small Bundt cakes. One of these pans typically has space to make a dozen cupcakes, though this number varies. When paired with baking cups, these pans can help you produce several identical portions that release easily. For this reason, caterers or pastry chefs may select cupcake or mini cake pans to create dessert displays for events and meal services.
Like traditional cake pans, cake rings have tall sides that are great for making layered cakes. Cake rings, however, are bottomless. This way, bakers can simply slide the ring up and off once the cake is completely cooled. To bake with a cake ring, place it on a sheet cake pan and then fill the ring with batter. Pouring your batter slowly helps to prevent leaking where the ring meets the bottom pan. Alternatively, cake rings can be used like cookie cutters to cut shapes out of sheet cakes. Made of thin metal, they can slice through cooled cake to create a neat edge for intricate pastries and sweets.
Sheet Cake Pans
Sheet cake pans are shallow, rectangular pans with upturned edges. Typically around 1 inch deep, these pans can be used for making sheet cakes or as the base under cake rings. Sometimes referred to as jelly roll pans, they are also excellent for baking thin cakes used in rolled recipes, like Swiss rolls and yule logs. Parchment paper and pan liners can help prevent sheet cakes from sticking to the bottom of the pan and also aid you in handling your cake during the rolling process.
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Bundt pans have holes in their centers for making ring-shaped cakes. These cakes are baked upside-down in the pan and turned over for removal once they are cooled. As a result, Bundt pans usually have either domed bottoms to make a rounded cake, or angular bottoms to create cakes with intricate designs. The hole in the center of the pan also causes deep cakes to bake faster and more evenly than standard round cakes of the same size. Like novelty cake pans, Bundt pans typically have many corners for your cake to stick to. Baking sprays are ideal for coating every angle of these unique pans, so your cake doesn’t come out with pieces missing.
Angel Food Cake Pans or Tube Pans
Angel food cake pans, also called tube pans, are ring-shaped and have high sides that can be straight or tapered. These pans are usually made of two separate pieces that fit together when baking and separate for easy removal of your cooled cake. The center tube and bottom make up one piece and the sides of the pan are another. Similarly to Bundt pans, this center tube allows for faster baking because heat can surround the inner portion of the cake. Additionally, many tube cake pans are not coated with non-stick material so that airy recipes can cling to the sides of the pan while they rise in the oven. Generally equipped with feet on their upper rim, angel food cake pans are also designed to be rested upside-down during cooling to keep the cake from collapsing.
Perfect for cheesecakes, crumb cakes, and delicate tortes that can’t be turned upside-down during cooling, springform pans have a removable bottom and adjustable sides that are secured with a clamp. Once the cake is cooled, you simply open the clamp to release the sides. You can then leave the bottom of the pan under the cake while serving or remove it carefully.
Silicone Cake Molds
Silicone molds are used for making small cakes and other pastries. Because they are made of flexible silicone, you can easily remove your desserts from the mold once they have cooled. This silicone is oven safe and doesn’t require lining like many other cake pans, but lightly greasing the mold before baking may benefit some recipes. They come in lots of shapes and sizes and are an excellent way to make several uniform desserts at one time.
Next time you add a new dessert to your menu, this guide can help you narrow down all the types of cake pans to find the best option for your dish. Even a tried and true recipe can be ruined by baking in the incorrect pan, so it's important to know the characteristics of the type you plan to use. By familiarizing yourself with both your recipe and the different types of cake pans, you'll be able to find the perfect tool for the job.