Choosing a Baking PanThere is very little "wiggle room" in baking! Always use the baking pan size specified in each recipe. The wrong size baking pan may cause your creation to overflow, burn around the edges and bottom, or sink in the middle.
Read the recipe carefully to make sure you have the type of baking pan that is called for. You also should be aware of the baking pan material, because it can affect the outcome. In general, glass baking dishes require a 25-degree
reduction in oven temperature. Some recipes
may actually specify which material, metal or glass, will get the best results.
Often, you can determine what type of baking
pan and what material will work best by carefully noting the description used in the recipe method. These general definitions usually apply:
- A baking dish is a glass utensil.
- A baking pan is a metal utensil.
- A pie plate is usually glass.
- A pie pan is usually metal.
- A baking sheet is a sided pan (15 x 10 x 1 inch); sometimes called a half sheet pan.
- A cookie sheet has no sides and is used for cookies only.
- A springform pan features two pieces: a bottom and a rim with a buckle for releasing cakes or tarts.
- A tube pan is a deep, round metal pan with a hollow center tube.
- A Bundt® pan is a shallow tube pan that is curved and fluted for baking a specific style of cake.
- A tart pan is usually metal. Unlike a pie pan, it has straight sides (some fluted, some not) and many have a removable bottom.
- A silicone baking pan -- the newest type -- is made of highly flexible polymer. The material is non-stick; can withstand oven temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit; and is safe for use in the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher.
Once you're sure you have the right baking pan, it is important to prepare it properly. Read on to find out how.
Preparing Baking Pans
Some cakes require greasing and flouring the baking pan and some call for using parchment or waxed paper. To assure the best results from every baking recipe, always prepare baking pans as instructed in the recipe or in the manufacturers' directions. Common preparation steps include:
Greasing a baking pan: Use a pastry brush, paper towel, waxed paper, or fingertips to apply a thin, even layer of butter, margarine, or shortening to bottom and sides of the baking pan, as directed. As an alternative, coat the baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Softening shortening, butter, or
margarine slightly in the microwave
makes it easier to use a pastry brush.
Gently tapping the sides of the greased
baking pan helps distribute the flour.
Lining a baking pan with paper: Invert baking pan; place a sheet of parchment (or waxed paper) on top. Press all around the edge of the baking pan to form a crease in the paper. Cut out the paper along the crease. Grease the baking pan, but do not flour it. (Coating the bottom with non-stick cooking spray is another option.) Press the paper into the bottom of the greased baking pan. Continue with the recipe, greasing and flouring the paper if so directed.
Use fingertips to press paper firmly
around bottom edge of the baking pan
and make a crease.
All springform pans leak a little bit.
Wrapping with foil prevents the
batter from spilling out.
A pastry brush works well for
greasing all the creases and
curves of a Bundt® pan.
Not what you're looking for? Try these:
- Cake Recipes: Find basic cake recipes as well as ideas for types of cakes you may have never even heard of, all on our Cake Recipes page.
- Cake Decorating: Whether you just want to add "Happy Birthday" in piped icing or are ready to attempt a field of frosting flowers, this article will provide the cake decorating tips you need.
- Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.