5 Best Cake Pans, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
We baked our way through multiple pans to find which will guarantee you a perfectly baked cake!
Our Top Cake Pan Picks
You can use a variety of different pans to make cakes: loaf pans, bundt pans, cupcake pans and even 9x13 casserole dishes. Though, when making a layer cake or other classic shapes, you'll need a solid round cake pan. We tested nine of the best-selling cake pans on the market to find the best ones to meet your needs.
What to Consider Before Buying a Cake Pan
Price: When it comes to picking a cake pan, the good news is there are a lot of solid options and even the priciest ones are still pretty budget-friendly.
Material: Choosing nonstick or not is one differentiator, but there is also depth, weight and handles to consider. Most of the pans we tested performed well, so it comes down to your preference on construction.
Sets or Singles: Before you buy, note whether or not the pan comes sold as a set or singles. You'll want at least two of them if you're making a layer cake.
A note on our favorites: All of these pans performed well, yielding evenly baked cakes that released easily and had good texture.
How We Tested
After consulting consumer buying guides, we purchased nine well-reviewed 9-inch, round cake pans. Before baking, we greased the pans with butter and lightly dusted them with flour. We mixed a classic boxed yellow cake mix as the package label directed and distributed it evenly between two pans at a time, weighing the batter to ensure accuracy. We then baked according to instructions, noting whether the cakes baked in the time the box indicated after testing with a cake tester and whether or not the cakes formed a dome at the top once fully baked. After the cakes cooled, we turned them out onto wire racks and noted the evenness of the color on the bottom. Then, we cut a slice and evaluated the texture and level of moisture in the cake.
After that, we washed the pans according to the manufacturers’ instructions. If the pan was dishwasher safe, we washed part of the pan by hand then ran it through the dishwasher and noted how easily it cleaned. If it wasn’t dishwasher safe, we hand-washed only.
Everything about this pan was just right. It wasn’t the heaviest nor the lightest, it felt sturdy while still being light enough to handle. It has rolled edges but no handles, so it’s easy to move and carry but doesn’t take up extra space. It produced an evenly baked cake with very little doming, which released with ease and had the perfect texture. It’s dishwasher safe, though hand-washing is recommended for longevity. Honestly, it cleans up so easily, there’s no reason to take up dishwasher real estate with it. This pan is no muss, no fuss and no drama, which means all your focus can go to making your cakes delicious and beautiful.
Not everyone likes a pan coated in a nonstick finish. If that’s you, you’ll be happy with this set. The pans are oven safe up to 550 degrees F, which is 100 degrees higher than the other pans we tested. The manufacturer recommends baking at 25 degrees F lower than your recipe indicates, but we baked at the recommended temperature — our cake still came out well, just slightly darker on top. (If your oven runs hot or your cake is particularly delicate, lowering the temperature as directed is likely a good idea.) Our cake had the perfect texture and turned out of the pan easily and thoroughly. Our only nitpick is that it was slightly more work to clean than other pans, but the slight inconvenience would not have been noticeable if we weren’t testing other pans at the same time. At $21 for two, it’s a great value.
If you want handles, this pan is for you. However, while this pan performed as well as the Cuisinart, the added handles on both sides edged it out of the top spot for us. Although the handles make it easier to move and carry the pan, the convenience wasn’t enough to justify the extra three inches of cabinet space they would take up. Plus, we found the other pans equally easy to handle without handles.
This solid, sturdy pan definitely did the job. Plus, we like that it comes in a unique, attractive gold finish. If you care about aesthetics while baking and are looking for something beautiful, this pan is ideal.