For delicious, fluffy cakes and other delectable desserts, the right tools make all the difference. Bakers know that choosing the best layer cake pans goes beyond a pretty exterior. Size materials and how you care for your pans matters, too. If you’re looking for a set that’s easy to use, the nonstick Massugar Springform Pan Set produces beautiful results every time.
What to know before you buy a layer cake pan
Although it’s possible to bake a cake in nearly any type of vessel, for best results, choosing the proper layer cake pan is crucial. Not all layer cake pans are created equal in terms of even baking, beautiful rise and tender texture. It’s also important to consider how you’ll use it (and how often) before you buy.
Ever had a cake rise golden brown on one side and sink on the other? While there may be chemical reasons for this in your recipe, the materials in your layer cake pan can also affect how evenly your cake will rise and bake. Some common materials include silicone, stainless steel, aluminum of many varieties (aluminized and anodized) and stone or ceramic.
Additionally, the color of the pan matters. Dark layer cake pans will brown the exterior of your cake faster, while lighter color cake pans cook more gradually. The same is true regardless of material, so even dark ceramic cake pans cook more quickly than light.
To further complicate matters, silicone cake pans offer limited, if any, browning. Reserve these for delicate cakes that shouldn’t have too much color.
In the case of layer cake pans, size matters. Choosing the best layer cake pan size means thinking about the types of cakes you normally make. The most common size of round layer cake is 8 inches, but 9 inches is popular for cheesecakes.
The size of the pan determines the baking time, so it's crucial to use the pan called for in your recipe. Some recipes can be adapted, but baking an 8-inch cake in a 10-inch pan for the same amount of time will yield disastrous results.
How often you use it
If you bake a cake once a year for a special birthday, you’ll look for a much different layer cake pan than if you make treats daily. Casual home cooks might be able to get away with more affordable, less durable materials, but professionals will need to spend more money for higher-quality pans that last.
Layer cake pan features
Gone are the days of the dangerous, flaking nonstick coating. These days, safe and eco-friendly nonstick materials make for quick release and easy cleanup.
Resistance to staining and odors
You don’t want your vanilla cake to taste like the lemon cake you baked last week. SImilarly, you want your cake pans to stay neutral in smell between bakes. Some silicone cake pans may trap odors and stains from bake to bake, while others resist them.
While the most popular layer cake pans are usually 3 inches tall, you might find your sky-high cakes require more height.
Nonstick coating is just one feature that helps cakes come out of the pan cleanly. Textured bottoms and springform pans also ensure easy release without sticking.
Layer cake pan cost
For layer cake pans, it’s true that you get what you pay for. Although you can get a cheap pan for a couple of bucks, expect to pay $5-$30 for quality individual pans and $20-$40 for sets of two to four pans.
Layer cake pan FAQ
How do I care for my layer cake pans?
A. Even though many layer cake pans can go directly in the dishwasher, you can extend their life even further by hand-washing in warm water with mild dishwashing liquid.
Do I have to grease my nonstick layer cake pans?
A. Nonstick cake pans are designed to release cakes without greasing or flouring. That said, it’s always wise to have a backup. Grease your cake pans as directed, even if they’re nonstick.
Why do my fruit cakes have black marks?
A. Your cake pan may be reacting to the acid in the fruit. This is a common issue with aluminum cake pans. Use a stone or silicone pan for cakes with acidic fruits (such as pineapple upside-down cakes).
Which layer cake pan should I get?
Best of the best layer cake pan
MASSUGAR Springform Pan Set: available at Amazon
Our take: A durable and easy-to-use set of cake pans that are great for amateur and professional bakers alike.
What we like: These springform pans feature easy-release, spring-loaded latches that protect against leaking. The non-toxic nonstick coating helps the cake release evenly. This pan can also be used in some pressure cookers. Comes with a 6-month warranty.
What we dislike: These pans require hand-washing to preserve their nonstick coating.
Best bang for your buck layer cake pan
SILIVO Silicone Cake Pans: available at Amazon
Our take: An affordable, versatile set of layer cake pans that are dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
What we like: Silicone molds are great for every kind of cake, from cheesecake to layer cakes. The food-grade silicone is nonstick, safe, easy to clean and eco-friendly.
What we dislike: The silicone molds become misshapen over time, and some delicate cakes may be hard to move to the oven. Cannot be used above 450 degrees.
Honorable mention layer cake pan
Our take: A trusted name in baking offers a durable, simple and easy-to-use set of layer cake pans in four sizes.
What we like: Lightweight pans are made of aluminum for easy cleaning and even heating. The set includes 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-inch pans, all of which are 3 inches deep.
What we dislike: Hand-washing is recommended (but not required), and pans are not nonstick.
Suzannah Kolbeck is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
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