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Cake Pans - The Ultimate Guide

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Cake pans are essential tools for creating beautiful, delicious cakes. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced baker, the right pans can make all the difference when it comes to baking success.

There are many types of cake pans available on the market today – from round to square and springform to bundt – so finding the best one for your recipe is key. In this guide, we’ll discuss the different types of cake pans, the features to look for when shopping for one, and tips on how to care for your new pan.
Group photo of different shapes and sizes of cake pans.

Cake Pan Features

When shopping for a cake pan, there are a few features to look out for that will make baking easier and help you create the perfect cake.

Material: The most common materials for cake pans are metal, silicone, and glass. The material affects things like heat conductivity, evenness of baking, affordability, and durability.

Size: Choose a pan that is the right size for your recipe. If the pan is too large, your cake will be thin and dry; if it’s too small, the cake may overflow and create a mess.

Shape: Choose a shape that will work best for your recipe and design. Popular shapes include round, square, rectangular, springform, bundt, and tube. Specialty-shaped pans are also available for special occasions such as birthdays or holidays.

Durability: Choose a pan made from sturdy material that won’t warp in the oven. When cared for, quality pans should last for years.

Price: Choose a pan that fits your budget but doesn’t sacrifice quality for the price. You can find quality cake pans at a range of prices, so shop around to find the best deal.

Types of Cake Pans

Round Cake Pans

different sizes of round cake pans nested

Round cake pans are the most common type of pan used for baking cakes. They come in many sizes (we carry 2” up to 16”), so you can bake cakes big and small. Their straight sides and flat bottoms make them perfect for stacking cakes to create stunning tiered cakes or a simple layer cake. Round cake pans are the bread and butter of any cake decorator's toolkit - you simply can't create those perfect cake designs without them!

Square Cake Pans

different sizes of square cake pans nested

Square cake pans are also great for making layered and tiered cakes. The square shape allows you to get creative and cut your cake into any shape you desire. Not only are square cake pans great for making cakes, but they're also perfect for whipping up other delicious baked goods like brownies and bars. We carry square cake pans in sizes ranging from 4 inches to 20 inches.

Sheet Cake Pans

different sizes of rectangle cake pans nested

Are you ready to make a cake that will feed a crowd? Sheet cake pans are perfect for making sheet cakes that are ideal for parties, potlucks, and other large gatherings. And don't forget that these pans aren't just for cakes - they're also great for making casseroles, lasagnas, and other savory dishes. The 9x13 cake pan is a popular rectangular pan for home cooks.

Cheesecake Pans & Springform Pans

springform pan taken apart to see parts

Looking for a fuss-free pan option for baking cheesecakes and other delicate cakes? Springform pans have a spring-loaded collar that releases the sides from the bottom. This makes it easy to remove delicate cakes without damage. Removable bottom cake pans are also available for easy cake removal. These pans come in round and square shapes, so you can get creative with your designs. And don't forget about their versatility - they're also great for making savory dishes like quiches and tarts.

Bundt Cake Pans

braided style bundt pan

Bundt cake pans come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs. Some are simple and plain, while others have intricate patterns or designs that are visible on the finished cake. They are great for special occasions, such as holidays and birthdays. Bundt cake pans are a favorite for baking pound cakes. Mini bundt cake pans, also known as bundtlettes, are a popular choice too. Bundt pans aren’t just for cakes. Many use bundt cake pans to make Jello molds, monkey bread, Christmas breakfast casseroles, decorative ice molds for punch, stuffing rings for Thanksgiving, and even meatloaf.

Make sure to check out our blog for bundt cake decorating ideas.

Tube Cake Pans

tube cake pan

Tube pans are a necessity for making airy cakes like angel food cakes, sponge cakes, and chiffon cakes. This is why tube pans are also often called angel food cake pans. These pans have a hollow center tube that helps the cake rise evenly and prevents it from collapsing as it cools. The sides of the pan are usually sloped to give the cake a decorative shape when it’s finished baking.

Specialty Shape Cake Pans

specialty shaped pans in shapes of dinosaur, heart, and number 7

Novelty cake pans come in a wide variety of specialty shapes for any occasion. Heart-shaped cake pans are perfect for Valentine’s Day, while dinosaur cake pans can make any birthday extra special. You can find options like number cake pans for birthdays, bunny and lamb cake pans for Easter, football cake pans for Super Bowl parties, and skull cake pans for Halloween.

Cupcake Pans

mini, standard, and jumbo muffin pans

Who doesn't love a cupcake decorated with their favorite frosting and sprinkles? Cupcake pans, also known as muffin pans, are a must-have for any baker. These pans come in different sizes, including mini, regular, and jumbo, so you can choose the perfect size for your needs. Besides baking cupcakes, they can be used for a variety of other baked goods, such as muffins and mini pies.

Cake Pan Materials

Cake pans are made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, silicone, and ceramic. We will break down the advantages and disadvantages of each below.

Aluminum: Aluminum baking pans are lightweight, affordable, and conduct heat quickly and evenly. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes so you can find the perfect one for your baking project. Aluminum can react with acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice or vinegar, and can cause a metallic taste in the finished product.

Anodized Aluminum: Anodized aluminum cake pans are heavier and more durable than regular aluminum pans. The anodized finish helps prevent warping and aluminum oxidation. Thus, preventing fats, oils, sugar, and cleaning agents from absorbing into bakeware as well as imparting a metallic taste to your cakes.

Stainless Steel: Stainless steel baking pans are very durable and can withstand high temperatures without warping. They are also dishwasher safe and won’t react with acidic ingredients. The only downside is that they take longer to heat up than other pans, so you may need to adjust your baking time. They may be difficult to find in certain shapes and sizes.

Glass: Glass pans retain heat, so they are not the best choice for baking cakes. Glass bakeware is best saved for casseroles or baked goods that call for low and slow cooking, like cobblers and bread pudding.

Cast Iron: Cast iron cake pans are heavy-duty and durable. They can handle high temperatures and frequent use without warping. The downside is that they take longer to heat up, so they are not ideal for cakes that need quick baking times.

Silicone: Silicone cake pans are lightweight, non-stick, and come in many shapes and sizes. They are very easy to clean and store, as they can be folded or rolled up when not in use. The downside is that they don’t conduct heat as well as other materials, so the cakes may not cook as evenly or quickly.

Non-Stick Coatings: Non-stick coatings are available on many types of cake pans, which makes them easier to use and clean. Non-stick bakeware coating is made from a combination of Teflon or silicone that prevents cakes from sticking to the pan. While these coatings can be effective in preventing sticking, they may not be as durable as uncoated pans.

Insulated Metal: Insulated metal cake pans are perfect for baking cakes that need precise baking temperatures. These pans have two layers of metal with a layer of insulation, which helps keep the temperature consistent throughout the baking process. This is especially important for delicate cakes such as meringues, chiffons, and soufflés. They also conduct heat quickly and evenly, so the cakes bake faster and more evenly than with other materials.

Ceramic: Ceramic cake pans are often decorative and can be used for both baking and serving. They are heavy and can take longer to heat up, but they retain heat well. Like glass, these are best for casseroles and slow-baking desserts like cobbler and bread pudding.

Disposable: Disposable aluminum foil cake pans offer a convenient and mess-free way to bake cakes. They are lightweight and affordable, making them perfect for large batches of cakes or for those times when you don’t want to bother with washing the pan after baking. The downside is that they may not be as durable as other materials.

No matter the type of pan you choose, it is important to use the right one for the recipe and to follow all safety instructions when using it. Not only will this ensure your cake turns out, but it will also help you get the most out of your baking experience!

Baking in Dark Pans Vs Light Pans

light finish cake pan vs dark finish cake pan

Have you ever wonder why cake pans come in a range of colors and which one you should choose and why?

Light-colored cake pans are typically made of aluminum and are best for making cakes that require a slow and gentle bake. These pans absorb less heat, so the cake cooks more evenly without burning or drying out. They also help prevent over-browning on the top and bottom of the cake.

Dark-colored cake pans are typically made of cast iron or non-stick coating over steel and are best for making cakes with a crisp top or bottom. These pans absorb more heat, so the cake cooks faster than those with lighter colors. However, they can also cause over-browning if not used properly.

Brands of Cake Pans

There are a variety of brands that offer quality cake pans. Some popular brands include Wilton, Nordic Ware, Magic Line, and Fat Daddio's. When choosing a brand, it is important to consider the type of cakes you will be making as well as the size and shape of your pans.

Fat Daddio Cake Pans

two round fat daddio brand cake pans

Fat Daddio's is a highly regarded brand of cake pans that come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Their pans are made from anodized aluminum, which is designed to provide even heat distribution for perfectly baked cakes. Fat Daddio cake pans are non-reactive and safe for citrus and tomato-based foods.

Wilton Cake Pans

two round Wilton brand cake pans

Wilton is a well-known and affordable brand of bakeware. They offer a wide range of options including springform, cheesecake, angel food, and other specialty cake pans. Wilton bakeware is made from heavy-gauge metal that is designed to provide even heat distribution.

Nordic Ware Cake Pans

three different styles of nordic ware brand bundt cake pans

Nordic Ware is a trusted brand of high-quality cake pans that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They offer specialty cake pans such as petit fours, tartlets, and more, but they are best known for their bundt cake pans. Nordic Ware bakeware is made from cast aluminum with a nonstick coating for easy release and cleanup.

Magic Line Cake Pans

two different round cake pans by magic line

Magic Line cake pans are made from heavy-duty aluminum, which provides even heat distribution and promotes consistent baking results. Their cake pans have straight sides, which helps to create cakes with clean edges and sharp corners. They offer a wide range of sizes and shapes including round, square, sheet, and specialty pans.

Cake Pan Care

Whether you’re using a metal, glass, or silicone cake pan, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for proper care and use. This will help ensure that your cake pans remain in good condition and last for years to come.

Gentle Cleaning: When cleaning your cake pans, be sure to use a soft cloth or sponge with warm water and mild dish soap. Avoid using abrasive materials or scrubbing too hard, as this can cause scratches and damage to the surface of your pans.

No Harsh Chemicals: Harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, or vinegar can corrode the surface of your cake pans and lead to rusting or discoloration.

Proper Storage: Make sure to store your cake pans in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help to prevent the warping or rusting of your pans. Additionally, if you’re storing multiple cake pans, store them in separate containers to avoid scratching the surface of each pan.

Use the Right Tools: Make sure to use the correct utensils when baking with your cake pans. Using metal utensils on non-stick surfaces can cause scratches and damage, so it’s best to stick with plastic or silicone utensils when possible. Additionally, don’t use sharp objects such as knives or scissors when handling your cake pans, as this can also cause damage.

Greasing: Greasing your cake pans is important in ensuring your cakes turn out and do not stick. Be sure to use the right type of grease for the recipe and follow all the instructions. Preventing sticking allows gentle cleaning and care of your cake pan. Country Kitchen SweetArt offers premade pan grease loved by both professionals and home bakers.

Are cake pans dishwasher safe?

dishwasher with question mark While some cake pans may be dishwasher safe, it is important to read the instructions from the manufacturer before placing them in the dishwasher. Certain types of pans may become warped or discolored if they are washed in a dishwasher. Additionally, harsh detergents and high temperatures can cause damage to your pans, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and wash your pans by hand.


Choosing the right cake pan is an important consideration for any baker. With the right pan and a little creativity, the possibilities for cake baking are endless. If you're in the market for a new cake pan, take the time to consider your options carefully. You should think about the types of cakes you like to bake and the features that are most important to you. We hope we have provided you with the information needed to purchase a new cake pan with confidence. Happy baking!

Have you purchased your cake pans and are ready to get baking? Check out our handy cake chart that displays the number of servings, the required amount of batter, and icing for round, square, and rectangular cake pans.