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As a young home baker, I mostly use beloved and second-hand cake pans, and I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with the issues warped, discolored, and non-standard pans can cause. Whether the mixture is from a box or you’ve spent hours on the perfect mousseline, it’s such a shame when your cake sticks to the pan.
Having a quality cake pan is just as important as using a tried and true recipe, allowing you to focus on flavor and texture without worrying about a broken sponge. “I rely on quality casseroles and recipes that will give me wonderful results no matter what I’m cooking,” said Jocelyn Delk Adams, author of the Grandbaby Cakes cookbook.
Nicole Garrett, executive head baker at Susie Cakes, echoed this, telling Insider Reviews that the most common mishaps in baking cakes are overbaking or the cake not releasing from the pans and then tearing. High-quality pans can limit or prevent both of these problems altogether.
We chose to test nine-inch round pans because they’re a staple in any kitchen and the most common size called for in recipes. For brands without nine-inch rounds available, we chose eight-inch pans. We consulted three professional bakers to help us identify common problems that arise when baking cakes and how cake pans can solve or make them worse. In addition to Adams and Garrett, we spoke with Aya Fuaki from Aya Pastry in Chicago.
For this test, I tried eight cake pans and baked the same yellow cake mix in each; you can read more about how I tested and the criteria I looked for below.
Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests and recommends kitchen products.
The best cake molds of 2022
Best Cake Pan Overall: KitchenAid Nonstick 9″ Round, $16.99 at Amazon
The KitchenAid Nonstick Cake Pan has a light gray interior for even baking and is dishwasher safe for easier cleanup.
Best Budget Cake Pan: Amazon Basics Nonstick Cake Pan, 2-Pack, 9-Inch Round, $11.36 at Amazon
If you’re a casual baker looking for a set of pans that are inexpensive and will get the job done, you can’t find a better deal than Amazon Basics Nonstick Rounds.
Best Unlined Cake Pan: Nordic Ware Naturals Aluminum 9″ round, $14.63 at Amazon
Although it doesn’t have a nonstick coating, the Nordic Ware Naturals 9-inch Round Aluminum Pan baked an even, moist cake and released with no problem.