The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cake pan recommendation?

Pablo's picture

Cake pan recommendation?

I'm looking on and there's a dizzying array of cake pans.  Can anyone recommend something for me, one way or the other?  Something to look for or something to avoid?  I don't have any cake pans and I'm figuring to pick up a couple of 8" or 9" round pans.  Thanks.


pmccool's picture


I can't offer suggestions about specific brands but I can tell you some of my likes and dislikes in features.

I like a heavy guage aluminum pan.  The thicker walls and bottom mean that it will stand up to longer term use/abuse.  The aluminum means that heat will transfer rapidly to the batter in spite of the thicker guage.

I also like pans that have a removable bottom; specifically, the types whose bottom can be pushed up from below (instead of a spring-form pan).  Don't get me wrong; I have and use springform pans but not usually for baking most cakes.  I've used solid pans; they occasionally cause problems if the buttering and flouring wasn't enough to prevent sticking.  I've also used pans with a blade that hugs the bottom and sides of the pan and can be rotated to release the cake after baking.  They are annoying to clean and sometimes drag, causing blemishes on the cake. 

My two cents.


tmarz's picture

I use wilton pans, But you are right, Heavy aluminum is the way to go. There are other brands that are good that make similar heavy aluminum pans like wilton. You can search online at baking/restaurant supply places. just do a search and you will see different brands and a lot of times they are really cheap. I h ave seen around $7(USA) for an 8 inch cake pan. You don't want dark pans. Aluminum is good, just grease with shortening, line with parchment (a round to fit the bottom) and then grease on top of the parchment and flour or dust with cocoa if its a chocolate cake. no sticking. Just make sure you wait the "magic" ten minutes after you pull the cake from the oven, then turn out on a rack. 

alabubba's picture

I agree about the aluminum pans. Mine are made my Wilton and I got them from a local restaurant supply store.

The recipe for the ultimate pan release

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup flour

Mix well and store in a tightly covered container in your cupboard

SylviaH's picture

The heavy aluminum pans are a good investment.  I have many assorted Wilton pans from years back, some are heavy and some are light all are excellent.  Cupboards full of cake, bundt, springform, cupcake, jellyroll, tart, pie, pizza, bread and special shapes...some are glass and porcelian.

8" cake, rectangle, cupcake large and/or regular, you can use these for tarts and many other baked items, 2 glass pie pans..'glass is my favorite for pies..but I have dozens of aluminum ones...assortment of springform..8 and 10" is a good start and don't forget a good bundt favorite new one just came from KingArthur Flours extra large non stick bundt pan 'excellent quality' and then maybe an angelfood cake for what you bake.  Grease and flour aluminum cake pans and don't put them in the dishwasher..have fun collecting...I have for years and have cupboards and cupboards full.  One of these days I'll quit buying pans!

I use my bundt cake pan's more than my 8" cake pans.


Yumarama's picture

As noted, heavy aluminium are best.

Brands: Fat Daddios, Chicago Metal are both well respected in the cake biz. Wilton's is an OK line.

Getting your cakes out the easy way: Use the cake release as described above (although I use 3 equal parts and only 1/3c each) coating the inside of the pans. Then slip in a parchment circle you cut out using the pan as template, then put cake release on the paper as well. Fill, bake. Invert cake onto cooling rack, remove paper, invert cake back to right side up again. Let cool completely before torting. Wash parchment paper circles. Seriously, there's nothing wrong with them, you can use them over and over and over. Store them in the cake pans once they're dry.

I also have a tip for getting the smoothest sides on your cakes, if you're interested. But I think this is probably plenty info for a "which cake pans" question. (lol)

Pablo's picture

I'm interested in smoothest sides, tell all!


Yumarama's picture

First and foremost: this isn't MY invention, it's out of Toba Garrett's book "The Well Decorated Cake". But I've done it and it's amazing how well it works.

What you need:


  • Cake crumbs, typically the lopped off domed top of your just baked cakes. 
  • Icing: buttercream, IMBC, SMBC, whatever. Doesn't need to be flavoured but if it is, that's good too.
  • Cooled, torted and stacked cake, filling of your choice.


Once the cake is stacked and ready, you can do a crumb coat - simply a really thin layer of icing over the cake to lock in the crumbs and filling where much of the cake will likely still show through. No one will ever see this, even when the cake is sliced so don't worry too much about getting it perfect.

crumb coated cake

A yellow cake with thin crumb coating.

Next, the spackle.

You'll want about 3 parts cake crumbs to 1 part icing (or 3/4 part icing and 1/4 part filling to carry over the flavour). Exact quantities will of course depend on the size of your cake. Crumble the sliced off cake top by hand into a bowl. Mix the crumbs with icing/filling until you have a relatively thick paste. You can add more icing if you find, when applying it, that it's a little too stiff.

Thick spackle paste from a blueberry cake

Using your offset knife, apply the spackling over the cake 1/8 to 1/4" thick (3 - 6 mm) starting on the sides. Then do the same to the top. Because of the heavy amount of cake crumbs in it, it won't be 'smooth' in texture but it will be very smooth and level.

A spackled cake

A chocolate cake with a solid coat of spackle.

Now put it in the refrigerator for some time, maybe half an hour. This is where the magic begins. Not only does the stiff texture of the cake give you a very level surface, the crumbs absorb some of the moisture from the icing and become a little more solid. Refrigerating further makes the surface solid. You now have perfectly straight and "stiff" sides that won't buckle and sag and the crumbs are all locked in their icing mix. 

Next you'd apply the final coat of icing or a nice coat of icing before the fondant to your still cool cake. 

Taste? Lovely - it's just cake and icing, after all. Seems people think it has a slight "nutty" flavour. It's not dry or crumbly at all when you're eating the cake. 

Give it a try, it's really pretty simple and helps out a lot with clean crisp sides.

And, if you're going to start getting into cakes, join us at and get in on the fun. (All welcome from everywhere, though.)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

remove "forum" from the end or use:


Pablo's picture

Putting all the recommendations together I went with Fat Daddios aluminum 8" x 3" round with removable bottoms.  Thanks for all the recommendations.  Once they're here I'll be back looking for cake tips.  (and to think I started this whole baking journey thinking "flour, water, salt - how the times have changed!)