Basic baking tools series: the essential baking pans
‘Hey Crystal, what’s your hobby?’
‘Oh, baking pans shopping!’
That’s what I do when it’s the mall’s sales period and when it’s boxing day. I believe my neuro system must be releasing some sort of rewarding neurochemicals when I am shopping for bakewares. I am a bakeware addict. This makes me wonder if my house is on fire, what do I need to bring with me? My passport? My cash? My bakewares…maybe?
Okay, I might be a bit exaggerating, but you can tell how much I love them. It’s my collection! I have a cupboard for them, hohoho!
But, which ones do you exactly need when you are starting out, you ask? Come, I have some good secrets to share – the essential baking pans that every baker need. I call them part of the basic baking tools and equipment too.
Essential baking pans for bakers
1. 9-inch springform cake tin
What I recommend: PME Gunmetal 9 x 3 Inch Round Anodised Springform Cake Tin; £13.60
I remember the very first cake tin I bought was a 9-inch springform cake tin. It is definitely one of the essential baking pans when you are starting out due to its versatility. It has a spring-loaded clip that allows the sides to be removable, so it is most useful when you are making cakes with delicate toppings, or with a delicate bottom that makes it impractical for the cake to be loosened by inverting it. For example, cheesecakes and those no-bake cakes. Just make sure the clip of the tin fits securely when you are buying one. You don’t want to see your batter leaking out from the bottom.
2. 8-inch loose-bottomed sandwich tins
What I recommend: KitchenCraft MasterClass Non-Stick Round Sandwich Tin with Loose Base, 20 cm (8″); £7.99
It didn’t take me long to realise that I need some loose-bottomed tins if I am planning to make a layered, sponge cake. I have three of these loose-bottomed tins as I prefer to bake my layers separately. Yes, you may bake it in a big block and then cut it into layers with your serrated knife but I find baking in separate tins gives you a beautifully fluffier texture and the cooking time is cut by loads.
Also, loose-bottomed means that your cake can be released quickly and easily! Just push it out from the bottom, hurray!
3. 2 lb loaf tin
What I recommend: KitchenCraft MasterClass Non-Stick 2 lb Loaf Tin, 23 x 13 cm (9″ x 5″); £5.99
Definitely, a must-have bakeware when you are just making unfussy, easy-going cakes such as the Madeira cake or the banana cake for your little afternoon tea party. And, is it going to sound weird if I say I am a person who prefers shapes with edges? I just feel like it’s neater to have a rectangular cake rather than a big round cake. My favourite is a 2lb tin. Why? Because it’s the most frequently used size and it’s adorable definitely one of the essential baking pans.
4. 9×9 Square cake tin
What I recommend: Le Creuset 23cm x 23cm Square Cake Tin; £24
Okay, maybe it’s just my liking towards corners and edges continues but this is what I use all the time when I am making fudges or brownies, or when my desire for a square cake explodes. A 9×9 pan is the one to go. Some also come with a lid so you can travel with your brownies. Aww, isn’t that sound sweet and convenient? Oh, wait, I am going to secretly to grab a piece a brownie from my bag now.
6. 12-count muffin and cupcake tray
What I recommend: Le Creuset 12 Cup Muffin Tray; £27
How can you miss out this muffin/cupcake tray? This non-stick 12-count tray is the shortcut for you to get a batch of even- and happy-looking cupcakes! By the way, have you checked out my killer chocolate cupcake recipe? That’s the exact reason (if you need one) for you to buy this tray! I recommend owning two trays like this because many recipes yield more than 12 muffins/cupcakes. And to be honest, 12 cupcakes? Are you kidding me? That’s not even enough for my breakfast!
There is also a fashion for silicone tins but I still prefer a good, old-fashioned, sturdy metal one as it stays rigid forever!
7. 24-count mini muffin and cupcake tray
What I recommend: PME Non-Stick 24 Mini Cupcake And Muffin Pan; £8.99
Trust me, this will be the essential baking pan when you are preparing for a party, especially held by your kids or maybe nieces or nephews. Imagine making all the cupcakes you need for a whole bunch of children, what a hard work. This tray makes sure that all the little demons with a sweet tooth get their share of mini baked goods. And, mini means cuter, right? I own one but if you would like to have more mini baked goods, feel free to buy a dozen!
8. Baking sheet
What I recommend: Le Creuset 12 Cup Muffin Tray; £27
I seldom make cookies but this still comes extremely useful as long as you are using your kitchen. For example, you must have baked some potatoes or chicken in your life, I believe. So, not only for baking, this is also for everyday use. Oh, yeah, actually I use this for making my meringue kisses and macaroons.
Due to its super duper high using frequency, I strongly recommend you to invest more in your baking sheet. When I was a student, I actually bought one from the Poundland and it went into the bin at the same day (sorry Poundland, it’s probably me being too rough on it). So, yep, choose a thicker model that wouldn’t bend when heated.
If you are a serious baker…
You can probably tell I am struggling to stop sharing. If, if, if you consider yourself a committed baker and wish to expand your collection, you may consider investing in some the followings.
Madeleine tin – The greatest helper to turn the shell-shaped French sponges out. Not a very versatile item but who cares (wink)? We all love Madeleines.
Bundt tin – What’s the easiest way to turn your basic cake into a showstopper? Here’s the answer! The bundt tin is the way to the perfect ring cake. Oh, just be sure that you have greased all the crevices.
Heart-shaped tin – Actually, to be honest, this piece can be quite essential. I reckon this is the best way of expressing your love. You can literally make a love-shaped cake for everyone.
6-count doughnut pan – If you are a doughnut lover, this is what I will recommend to you. A healthy alternative to deep-fried doughnuts! You ready to dust some icing sugar on it?
Novelty cake tin – Surprise your family and friends with something special, just like this teddy bear cake. Obviously. if you need more, there are also the house cake tin or the tractor cake tin and more!
Which one’s your favourite?
I can carry on writing this for days but I am going to let you go for now (phew)! I hope you have enjoyed this essential baking pans guide!
By the way, if you have any questions or some thoughts to share, feel free to leave it in the comment section! 🙂