How to Choose the Right Cake Pan
Let them eat cake! Please! They really want it. But first, you’ll need to buy the right cake pan. There are many different kinds of cake pans that come in different sizes, shapes and materials. It is essential to choose the right cake pan for the right kind of cake, so let’s take a look at the options out there and what application each is best for.
Materials: Cake pans come in three main materials: stainless steel, aluminum and silicone. Each of the materials has benefits and drawbacks, and most chefs tend to gravitate towards one or the other based on personal preference.
- Stainless Steel: Chefs who love stainless steel do so because of its durability and, as the name suggests, resistance to stains. However, stainless steel nay-sayers cite that it does not conduct heat as well as aluminum, and therefore cakes may not bake evenly.
- Aluminum: Aluminum pans have their devoted followers as well, because aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat. Aluminum creates an even heating surface that cooks cake uniformly throughout.
- Silicone: Silicone lovers will tell you that this material is easy to store and clean. They may also point out silicone's versatility and durability as silicone pans can be used in the freezer, refrigerator, microwave and oven alike. From cold to hot temperatures, silicone will hold up without showing signs of rust or stains. The anti-silicone faction believes that cakes do not brown as well in silicone and the material's flexibility makes it very easy to damage baked goods when handling.
Style: There are several varieties of cake pan styles, each of which is used for different purposes or types of cake.
- Round: Round cake pans are used to make layer cakes. Different sizes of round cakes are baked and stacked atop one another to make all manner of special occasion cakes. Round cake pans can also be used to create pieces for sculpted cakes, cutting each shape as needed to create more creative cake designs.
- Rectangular: Rectangular cake pans are used to make sheet cakes, which are easier to transport than layered cakes. The flat surface also provides a basic canvas on which it is easy to make fun and creative designs.
- Springform: Springform cake pans are pans with removable sides. These pans are typically used for delicate items, such as cheesecake, that are otherwise difficult to remove from the pan. Springform pans are also excellent for cakes with toppings, such as coffee cake.
- Specialty: There are also a variety of specialty cake pans, used to bake more specific types of cake. With this type of pan, the main consideration will be to choose the type of material you prefer. Specialty cake pans include:
Springform Pans and Water BathsSpringform pans have been known to sometimes leak, which makes them difficult to use in a water bath. If you want to use a springform pan in a water bath, however, here are two tips:
1. Purchase a springform pan with high sides, to keep water from running over the top.
2. Line the pan with tinfoil to keep batter from leaking out and into the water.
Though there are a lot of cake pan options out there, once you know the differences between each of them there is nothing to stop you from baking perfect cakes until the cows come home.
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