5 Types of Cake Pans

Whether you’re baking a birthday cake for a loved one or a simple pound cake for family and friends, having the right pans can make all the difference. The best bakeware conducts heat consistently and easily, and offers a variety of aesthetic options.

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Springform pans have a flat base that latches to close tightly around a notched, removable collar. They’re great for foods like cheesecake that you can’t just flip over to serve.

Round

Bake decadent bakery quality classic round cakes in these reliable pans. Their premium nonstick provides a superior release and wide handles provide confident grip. They’re oven safe to 450°F, making them ideal for use in a commercial bakery.

Many traditional cake recipes can be baked in a variety of shapes and sizes. If substituting one type of pan for another, Welsh recommends weighing the batter on a kitchen scale to ensure the recipe’s volume and your bakeware’s capacity match up exactly. Otherwise, your cake may bake differently or spill over the edges of the pan.

Angel food cake pans have a center tube that separates into two pieces when cooling, allowing for a quick removal of the finished dessert. These types of pans can also create unique, ring-shaped cakes with high sides that can be sliced into individual servings.

Square

Bake your way to bakery-level treats with a square cake pan. Whether you’re making cakes, brownies or other sweet snacks, these baking pans help achieve a crisp crust, even browning and perfectly smooth corners. Find options made from high-quality materials like aluminized steel and aluminum and shop for pans in popular sizes.

A square cake pan offers a sleek, clean line for decorating and stacking, making it ideal for layered bars and cakes with straight sides. This shape is also great for a variety of baked goods, including quick breads, coffee cakes and brownies. The slightly sloped edges may prevent you from cutting uniform portions, but they’re still better than rounded corners.

Choose a square pan with an anodized aluminum finish for durable bakeware that won’t warp or rust. This material is nonreactive, so acidic ingredients in your batter such as natural cocoa powder or buttermilk won’t leach into the baking dish. Shop for anodized aluminum cake pans from brands like Williams Sonoma, USA Pan and Nordic Ware. They heat up and cool down quickly, while their flat bottoms promote even baking.

Bundt

Whether you want to make a classic round bundt cake, or a decorative swirled loaf cake, there’s a pan to suit your needs. This lightweight pan from Nordic Ware has a nonstick coating that bakers say resists sticking and makes cleanup a breeze. It’s surprisingly affordable, and online reviewers report buying multiples for themselves and their families.

Like all Bundt pans, this one requires some extra prep work—but it’s worth the effort for the results. Experts recommend preparing the pan with butter and a light dusting of flour before filling. Using a sieve or one of those large shakers to spread the flour evenly will help you avoid the unsightly bumps and cracks that can mar some cakes.

This smaller pan from Nordic Ware is sturdy enough for larger cakes, and it has a dark interior that prevents over-browning. It also produces a moist, fluffy finish. The only downside is that it doesn’t come with handles, making it harder to maneuver and grease. And the fluting on its cakes is less distinct than our top pick’s.

Tube

The solid, one-piece tube pan (also called a chimney cake pan) is a kitchen essential for bakes with a fine, airy crumb. Southern Living calls them “de rigueur” for angel food and chiffon cakes, while Taste of Home recommends them for pound or sponge cakes as well as pull-apart monkey bread.

The pan’s fluted design makes eye-catching desserts, and it also helps transfers heat to the center of the cake quickly, which speeds up baking. The pans are often sold with handles and/or “feet,” which help the cakes stand up on their own as they cool and facilitate removal from the pan afterward.

Be sure to wrap two-piece tube pans with a removable bottom in foil before baking, as the loose edge of the bottom can leak during the cooking process. The foil will prevent the cake from falling and help keep your oven clean. A loose bottom can also leak when baking light batters, so a solid, all-one-piece pan may be better for these recipes. If a two-piece pan has loose seams, you can further prevent leakage by cutting a circle from a clean paper grocery bag that’s big enough to fit over the tube section and sitting it over the pan before baking.

Deep

Achieve ideal textures with the right bakeware to serve scrumptious and beautiful cakes for birthdays, weddings, holidays and other special occasions. Selecting the correct pan type is as important as using the right flour for a successful baked good.

Shallow baking pans have shallow walls that are perfect for dishes that don’t require much depth, such as cookies, muffins or lasagna. They also heat up faster than deep cake pans.

Novelty cake pans have tall sides and unique shapes like hearts, pillow or diamond, making them ideal for baking creative cakes without the added time, difficulty and expense of sculpting. These pans often have more corners for batter to stick to, so they need to be greased or floured carefully before baking.

Springform cake pans have a flat base and sides that are secured with a clasp that opens up to release the cake once it’s cooled. This makes them easy to transport and serve from a table for catering, banquets and other large events. They also provide a clean finish that’s great for food safety and presentation.