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Malawry

Cake pan sizes

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OK, so I was planning to make RLB's banana cake today, from The Cake Bible. I didn't have any 9" cake pans, so I just bought inexpensive ones from the supermarket. (I figure, lots of recipes call for 9" pans, so they'd be good to have.) I brought them home and checked the recipe, which specifies using a 9"x2" round pan. My new 9" pans are only 1.5" deep.

The recipe also specifies that it can be baked in a 9" springform pan. I have an 8" and a 10" springform pan, but no 9" springform. :wacko: (Oh, and the 8" springform currently has a cheesecake cooling in it. Also from The Cake Bible. I forgot to add A FULL POUND of sour cream to the recipe. Somebody shoot me and put me out of my misery...)

What would you do? I find I run into this problem often, but I hoped by buying 9" cake pans I'd resolve the issue. How can I adjust recipes to work in my pans? How many pans should I be investing in to make the 2-3 cakes/year I normally end up baking?

I can return the 9x1.5" pans if they're gonna be useless, but I'm dead certain there were no 9x2" cake pans at the supermarket to swap them with...and it may be a few days before I go someplace where a 9x2" pan may be sold, and meanwhile I have overripe bananas just sitting on the counter waiting to be used...

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I would just make the full recipe, then fill your pans 3/4 of the way. Reduce baking time. Use the leftover batter for muffins. :smile:

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I would use the 8" springform, assuming you want to fill this cake. The Cake Bible should tell you the finished height and how much the batter originally fills the pan, so just gauge this when filling your springform. Bake the rest in a muffin tin for sampling!

I have 9" x 1.5" pans and I think they are limiting, since I often have to resort to a 9" springform. I will eventually replace them with 2" pans. If you don't want to build a large pan collection, return those 1.5" pans and source some 2" pans.


Edited by sanrensho (log)

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Hm. Right now I am leaning towards baking the cake (which I believe is a 1-layer recipe) in one of my 8x2" cake pans and cupcaking the rest. I edited my original post to mention that my 8" springform currently houses a still-warm cheesecake I baked this afternoon. I'd rather return the 9x1.5" pans and try to get 9x2" pans instead.

This still makes me wonder what kind of a pan inventory the average home baker needs, anyway. Besides the 8x2" rounds, the 8" springform and the 10" springform, I have a large Bundt pan, a million half-sheets, 8" square pans and various rectangular pans. I thought this was a good enough inventory for me, but now I'm thinking the 9x2"rounds are probably too important to go without. What else do you casual home bakers have in your pan collections? I think I have more sizes of cake circles than I do cake pans. :rolleyes:

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....

What would you do? I find I run into this problem often, but I hoped by buying 9" cake pans I'd resolve the issue. How can I adjust recipes to work in my pans? How many pans should I be investing in to make the 2-3 cakes/year I normally end up baking?

I can return the 9x1.5" pans if they're gonna be useless, but I'm dead certain there were no 9x2" cake pans at the supermarket to swap them with...and it may be a few days before I go someplace where a 9x2" pan may be sold, and meanwhile I have overripe bananas just sitting on the counter waiting to be used...

Try this site: baking pan sizes and substitutions

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Malawry: My collection of bakeware is pretty much the same as yours (I also have an 11" springform) but I find the 9" with the 2" height really useful. I use those cake pans the most.

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Like everyone else said, just bake it in the closest sized pan you have and if there are leftovers bake muffins.

If I may make a suggestion though.... the best pans are the ones that are 3" high. Batter climbs the sides during baking and you end up with a lighter, fluffier cake. Just fill to within an inch of the top to avoid spillover, or you can just bake less batter in them if the recipes yield a smaller amount. Takes longer to bake, obviously, but cakes are less dense using these pans.

Standard recipes usually call for 2" high 9" pans, but the same batter in a 3" pan will give you a 12" diameter cake.

For home bakers I'd recommend just an 8", 10", and 12".

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For home bakers I'd recommend just an 8", 10", and 12".

It really depends on who (how many) you're baking for. I find myself going to smaller pans as I bake often and don't want to have a cake sitting around too long. I've also started to bake from Japanese recipes, which often call for 8" or smaller.

Having said that, I use two 9" pans and one 9" springform for 95% of my (round) cake baking. Partly because most recipes are based on a 9" size, and because it fits the cake stands/containers that I have.

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I'm an average home baker (can you believe they let me in this place! lol )and I mostly use my 8x2. I like the added height when I stack my cakes. I have 9 inch but they are all 9x2. Take back the 9x1's. I think you'll be much happier with pans that are 2 or 3 inches high. Your cakes will look more professional without as much work.

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As an update, I baked the banana cake in the 8x2" pan so I can return the 9x1.5" pans unused and get some 9x2" pans at my leisure. I had extra batter so I baked some cupcakes with it as Ling suggested, and I ate one with a little Nutella as dessert after dinner tonight. :wub: Awesome recipe.

Sugarella, I'm interested in your assertion that 3" pans are superior to 2" pans, and also your suggestion that I lay in 8, 10 and 12" pans. I find it hard to picture a use for 12" pans since I do cakes almost exclusively as the occasional hobby/birthday type thing...people have asked me about cakes for weddings I've catered and I always send them to somebody who really knows what they're doing instead of trying to do it myself. I recognize my own limitations, which include not understanding the utility of 10 or 12" pans. :rolleyes:

Does anybody else agree that 3" pans are superior to 2" pans?

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The only reason I recommended 10" and 12" pans on a 3" high pan for home cooks is that they will handle the equivalent amount of batter that standard cake recipes call for, namely recipes that will fill 2 pans that are 9" round by 1" or 1.5" high. So I'm recommeding you bake the whole recipe in just the one pan.

All cake recipes are different. Some have a more liquid batter and require longer baking times, etc., as I'm sure you're aware. And some, if very liquid will require a flower nail. And each recipe will rise differently. Cakes with a very liquidy batter you'll want to allow a lot of "growing room" within the pan, while very dense or thick batters won't rise nearly as much, as a general rule.

I suggested the 8" , 10", and 12" for general purposes simply because it'll cover almost all bases for what you need to do at home.

I do cakes for private clients quite frequently; it has been my second job for nearly a decade. I have a bazillion 1.5" high pans ....I have reverted these to what I bake chicken or potatoes in at home. I HATE them, and I think they are useless for cakes.

I only use the 3" high cake pans for cakes. On another message board several years ago, this same question was put to me, and I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of the pans. I poured the same amount of batter (approximately 1" high) into a 1" high pan, a 2" high pan, and a 3" high pan, and baked them all at the same temp.

The 1" high pan baked the 1" of batter to 1" high. The 2" high pan baked the 1" of batter to approximately 1.5" high. The 3" high pan baked the same 1" of batter to almost 2.5" high. The reason for this is that of course that batter expands in size with the heat of baking, and the higher sides give the cake more climbing room. The result was that cakes, given more room to expand in their pan, were lighter, fluffier, and for some reason, had a better developed crumb.

The 3" high pans just really do make much better cakes, in my experience.

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I have a bazillion 1.5" high pans ....I have reverted these to what I bake chicken or potatoes in at home. I HATE them, and I think they are useless for cakes.

Couldn't agree more. I can't wait to turn mine into frisbees. I'll try to do a similar comparison to yours when I get my 2" (maybe 3") pans.

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A couple of thoughts:

I'd suggest not buying the cake pans sold in grocery stores. It's like buying your knives or pans from the grocery store, it's the same inferior quality. If the ones by your home are like the ones by my home, they are thin metal with a thin non-stick coating. The thinness of the metal can effect how your cakes bake in them. And the coating on those pans usually becomes compromised the first time you slice something dirrectly in the pan. From then on, they rust easily.

The professional pans I like really typically cost the same or less then other types. I like the heavy duty aluminum pans that are 3" deep as my favorite all around pans. I'll give you a couple links to where you can purchase them tommarrow (gotta run to work now).

The 3" deep pans are ideal because you can use them to bake taller cakes, if wanted. For instance I use them for baking all my cheesecakes instead of using spring form pans which leak in water baths. I also use them in place of cake rings to assemble my tortes in them.....and I use them to mold ice cream bombes too.

Your 12" pan would make a nice size for when a recipe calls for a water bath. You can easily place a 10, 9, 8, 6 etc... round into it.

Last.............I/we really hope to teach/help people understand baking here. If you understand the basic methods of mixing and the basic chemical reactions of ingredients you can feel confident to zig when a recipe tells you to zag (or feel comfortable using a 7" pan when the recipe calls for a 10"). Professional bakers increase and decrease recipe sizes all the time............just like chefs do with savory recipes.

Asked to everyone here:Do we have a need for more clarification here? Do you want more basic help/info.? If so, please feel free to speak up and I'll try to start a new thread on that topic and see if we can get everyone more confident baking and making adjustments to recipes.

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The 3" deep pans are ideal because you can use them to bake taller cakes, if wanted. For instance I use them for baking all my cheesecakes.....

Do you line the pans with parchment or just use a sort of pan release? I've tried, and I can never get the &*$%! cheesecakes out in one piece. Even lining with parchment, the batter seeps out into the corners and the cake sticks. Somebody really needs to invent one piece liners for big pans, like giant baking cups. :smile:

Asked to everyone here:Do we have a need for more clarification here? Do you want more basic help/info.? If so, please feel free to speak up and I'll try to start a new thread on that topic and see if we can get everyone more confident baking and making adjustments to recipes.

I think a Baking 101 thread would be very helpful to a lot of people.... I'd be happy to contribute to that one. :smile:

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One other thought on the grocery store pans--the ones I've seen all have flared sides. That is, the angle from the bottom to the sides is more than 90 degrees. I really prefer the look of straight-sided cakes, especially when I'm stacking them.

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FWIW, all my other pans are much higher-quality...thicker, heavier, heat more evenly...than the pans from the supermarket. Many of them were given to me as a wedding gift. The 9" pans are the only ones I've tried to buy at a supermarket, and for the amount of cake baking I do I figured they'd be fine. I'd welcome links to sites where high-quality 9" pans can be had for a reasonable price. I understand the difference between a supermarket pan and a professional pan, but I usually only bake 2-3 cakes/year...and I really wanted to bake that banana cake yesterday.

I had intended for this thread to be a place where we could talk about adjusting recipes for different pans (hence, "converting" in the title). I've got the skills of an amateur when it comes to pastry and patisserie work even though I work as a culinary professional. Of course we amateurs need all the help we can get! I do understand the basic chemistry and physics of cake-baking, but I'm not confident that simply changing pan sizes without making other adjustments to the recipe will result in the same quality of cake...I think RLB even comes right out and says that's not true in her book, in the story about her cake that collapsed during the NYC blackout because she baked it in a too-large pan. So yeah, more guidance from the pros would be really helpful here, and I don't think it needs to reside in a separate thread if it's specifically about cake pan sizes.

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The 3" deep pans are ideal because you can use them to bake taller cakes, if wanted.

Wendy, have you noticed the same phenomena that Sugarella refers to? Namely, that the same amount of batter will rise higher in a taller pan?

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I'm not Wendy, and would still like a reply from her, but I have also noticed that my cakes rise higher if I have higher walls. I have also noticed that I more often have domed cakes when my walls are shorter and pan darker, so the edges stop climbing.

I hindsight -- which would have saved me $$ -- I would only buy 3" pans in the future. You can bake a short cake in a tall pan, but not a tall cake in a short pan...

:raz:

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I have a question about pan sizes too, not for an immediate problem, but just for future reference.

I have two recipes, one is for toffee, and calls for a "small rimmed baking sheet." The other recipe is for brownies and calls for a "rimmed baking sheet." What exactly are they referring to? I've always used a 12x9 cake pan for the toffee and what we call our "Texas Sheet Cake Pan," which I think might be 11x17, for the brownies, and they both have always turned out fine. But, I would like to know exactly what size they are talking about here.

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I'm not Wendy, and would still like a reply from her, but I have also noticed that my cakes rise higher if I have higher walls.  I have also noticed that I more often have domed cakes when my walls are shorter and pan darker, so the edges stop climbing.

Thank you. More data is always helpful! I will make a point of buying the 3" pans.

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As an occasional cake baker, I can vouch for Parrish's (of Gardena, CA) Magic Line, which I know have been mentioned often before. What a difference they make, plus there's the pleasure of working with such a well-made tool. One of the lowest-cost, easiest improvements to the old batterie around. The 3-inch-deepers esp., as aforementioned.

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I had intended for this thread to be a place where we could talk about adjusting recipes for different pans (hence, "converting" in the title). I've got the skills of an amateur when it comes to pastry and patisserie work even though I work as a culinary professional. Of course we amateurs need all the help we can get! I do understand the basic chemistry and physics of cake-baking, but I'm not confident that simply changing pan sizes without making other adjustments to the recipe will result in the same quality of cake...I think RLB even comes right out and says that's not true in her book, in the story about her cake that collapsed during the NYC blackout because she baked it in a too-large pan. So yeah, more guidance from the pros would be really helpful here, and I don't think it needs to reside in a separate thread if it's specifically about cake pan sizes.

What I wish I could do is give everyone confidence to trust your own instinct and common sense in baking. I don't think you can find anyone serious about baking that thinks using imperial measurements are equal to weighing ingredients or even accurate compared to weighing. Yet, all the baking books in the U.S. still use imperial measurements and rarely include ingredient weight. I can't stress just how incorrect, inacurate this is...........but it goes on. Similarly theres other myths that get carried on, that have been disspelled and lots of scarey forwarnings written in baking books that aren't exactly accurate. I think people get all confused about baking because of all the things/warnings they've read. What was written in 1970's (just a random date, it could be 1990 or 2004) can be completely incorrect to something written today. Our knowledge has grown and theres lots of incorrect information still sitting in books, still being purpetuated by authors who are incorrect. What was once known is being disproved or relearned each and everyday........science is advancing everyday.

This won't have alot of weight/impression making to you all, unless other professionals back me up........so I'm asking them to please do so with a few remarks. Perhaps if you see us talk in volume we can equal the credibility of RBL and other authors whom people believe, excluding all else.

If a recipe says bake in a 8"x 8" pan, that's a guide, not a rule. That yeilds the amount of batter that fits that size pan, to a depth that they suggest. But you can bake that same amount/yeild of batter in several mini muffin cups, you could bake it in a 9"x 9" pan and get a thinner layer, you could bake it in a 10" x 10" pan and get an even thinner cake. You can take that same batter and bake it in a 4" x 12" pan or a tube cake pan, etc......

Do you all know that most professional (European) baking books don't suggest a pan size for their recipes at all. Imagaine, baking with-out knowing your yeild. It was scarey at first for me. Just as it will be scarey for you all to believe me/us about interchanging pan sizes.

If you know what type of cake your making, then you can deduct what kind of pan you should bake that batter in.

If you know what type of batter your making, then you can deduct what type of mixing method you should use, with-out dirrections in your recipe.

If you know what type of batter your baking, you can figure out if the pan your using needs to be sprayed with pan release/or grease or if it needs to be fat free for the cake to cling to it's walls.

If you know that most recipes call for filling the pan 3/4's of the way full, then you can put your batter in any pan, following that guideline.

If you see you've got a huge amount of batter to squeeze into a small pan, that possibly the recipe has a mistaken written in it. And conversely, if you have a tiny yeild of batter that doesn't begin to fill your pan, you can suspect that it won't be enough for that pan.

Then once you've got your batter 3/4's of the way full in your pan, how will you know how long to bake the item?

Again.......the same concepts apply.

If you know how to test a cake, a cookie, a brownie, a sponge cake, etc... for doneness. Testing for that doneness is the same, regardless of the size of the item. If it's a mini cupcake sized brownie or a full sheet pan worth of brownies, you still want to bake it until done, yet not over done.

Professional bakers, don't judge baked goods based on time. We know that every oven varies and no two are exactly alike. We know our oven might be running hot, we know someone may have opened the door and let cool air into our oven. Baking by time is as inacurate as using imperial measurements. YET, all our baking books include how long something takes to bake. Again, I ask you to trust me/us, I ask other bakers to chime in and back me up on this fact, please.

(Ooops gotta run to work, but I'll come back and hopefully tye this all together to make more sense)

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I only use the 3" high cake pans for cakes. On another message board several years ago, this same question was put to me, and I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of the pans. I poured the same amount of batter (approximately 1" high) into a 1"  high pan, a 2" high pan, and a 3" high pan, and baked them all at the same temp.

The 1" high pan baked the 1" of batter to 1" high. The 2" high pan baked the 1" of batter to approximately 1.5" high. The 3" high pan baked the same 1" of batter to almost 2.5" high. The reason for this is that of course that batter expands in size with the heat of baking, and the higher sides give the cake more climbing room. The result was that cakes, given more room to expand in their pan, were lighter, fluffier, and for some reason, had a better developed crumb.

The 3" high pans just really do make much better cakes, in my experience.

I was trying yellow (butter) cakes today and thought I would give your suggestion a try. I baked 4 different recipes, 1 of each in a 9x1.5 and a 9x2 and weighed the batter for precision. For every recipe the layers turned out exactly the same height reardless of the pan size. They were both heavy-gauge non-stick pans that I sprayed and lined with parchment. Maybe it's the type of cake that responds differently to the different heights of pans or the fact that they were non-stick. Who knows?! Just thought I'd share my results.


Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

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I was trying yellow (butter) cakes today and thought I would give your suggestion a try. I baked 4 different recipes, 1 of each in a 9x1.5 and a 9x2 and weighed the batter for precision. For every recipe the layers turned out exactly the same height reardless of the pan size. They were both heavy-gauge non-stick pans that I sprayed and lined with parchment. Maybe it's the type of cake that responds differently to the different heights of pans or the fact that they were non-stick. Who knows?! Just thought I'd share my results.

In my earlier posts I was referring to pans that are 3" high; specifically baking less batter in them similar to the amount meant for shorter pans, and the cakes rose higher because they could climb. The pans you said you used were only 1.5" and 2" high, and I doubt that 1/2" difference would give the climbing room I'd been referring to to make any real difference. The experiment worked for 3" high pans, not 1.5" high. As for nonstick pans....I don't know. But I do know they conduct heat differently than regular pans. :unsure:

Sorry you were disappointed with the results. Hope the cakes were good at least. :smile:

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