We know what you’re thinking: weigh ingredients, make batter, then chuck it into any pan, right? Not so fast! Did you know that whether your pan is glass, metal, rectangular or round, it’ll affect your dessert? The two factors you should look out for are material and shape. Learn the differences in bakeware and your sweet creations will be baked to perfection. You might not get it right the first time, but just be patient and know that baking is all about trial and error!
Chemistry matters in baking, that’s why knowing the material of your bakeware pays off. We won’t bore you with the science of it all, but in short…
When baking desserts that need to cook at high temperatures in a short amount of time, go with metal baking pans. However, they might get discolored when baking acidic food (like fruit crumble) and make your desserts taste metallic. Color also matters: darker pans will cause your cakes to brown faster than lighter colored pans. In terms of type, aluminum is preferred over stainless steel.
Glass distributes heat more evenly under your baked goods and won’t react with any ingredient. It takes time to heat up, but once hot, it stays that way for a long time and will keep desserts warm when it’s time to serve. Being transparent, it also tells you how much your baked good has browned. The downside to glass is there’s a greater risk of shattering at extremely high heat, so make sure to read the recommended oven temperature for your bakeware and avoid sudden changes in temperature.
Similar to glass, ceramic bakeware is easy to clean but isn’t very durable. Unlike glass, it won’t distribute heat as evenly and effectively.
Pans made from silicone are non-stick—they don’t need sprays, butter or grease, making clean up very easy. The catch: silicone takes time to heat up, so your baked goods may not brown enough, if at all.
There’s a reason why recipes list a specific baking pan (and it’s not just about the looks). The shape and size of the pan affects your dessert’s baking time, so try to stick to the one mentioned in the recipe. Otherwise, expect differences in the way your baked good rises or browns.
Rectangular baking pan
You’ll always need one of these, as they’re versatile enough to bake most basic desserts. The standard size is 9 × 13 inches (that’s 23x33 cms).
Since these have shallow rims, you can use them to bake anything that doesn’t need to take on the shape of the pan, such as cookies, dessert bars or puff pastries.
Generally used to make cakes, the most common sizes are 8 or 9 inches in diameter (between 20 and 23 cms). They often come in pairs, which is ideal for making layer cakes.
Narrow with high sides, loaf pans help you bake a perfect loaf by forcing the batter to rise as high as it can.
Thanks to their nifty removable outer edge, they’re perfect for desserts that may crumble or fall apart if you try to remove them from the pan, like cheesecake.
Make and share fluffy cupcakes or muffins in these trays. They’re also extremely practical for making portion-sized versions of your favorite desserts, whether baked or chilled.
More than just a vintage baking pan. Bundt pans allow cakes that are more delicate to rise, but you can use them for regular sponge cakes too. Plus, they’re an easy way to make a beautiful cake!
Their ridged edges will give your pies that classic, crimped pie shape. As nice as pie dishes may be, though, they’re not essential.