Fancy Pan Shapes Add Beauty to Your Baking
When I started baking as a young child we had round cake pans, square and rectangle pans for brownies and bars and one Bundt pan. There wasn’t much choice for shaped baking pans. I always liked baking with the Bundt pan because the fluted shape instantly made the finished cake “fancy” and decorative. And when you poured a glaze on top of the finished cake I loved watching how it would run down the individual ridges. Okay maybe I was easily amused but as you can see from our images, decorative ring pans now come in a myriad of shapes and sizes.
They tend to be 10-cup to 12-cup in size (although there are exceptions. Consult manufacturer’s info) and if a recipe for a coffee cake or a pound cake calls for a 12-cup decorative ring pan, you can make it in any decorative ring pan of that dimension.
There are pans that look like roses(above) and castles(below); some have simple, symmetrical broad ridges (top image) while others have intricate details. The key is to take advantage of those lovely details – we want to see them in relief in our cakes once they are unmolded!
To do this the cake must unmold flawlessly and this means it must be prepped very well and thoroughly. Here is our preferred method, which Rose Levy Beranbaum swears by:
- Buy Baker’s Joy. This is a nonstick spray coating that combines grease and flour in one. There are other brands that take the same approach, but there is a reason so many bakers love this particular product. It works!
- Thoroughly wash and dry your pan.
- Lightly coat the inside of the pan with Baker’s Joy. It might look a little foamy. That’s okay.
- Take a clean, soft pastry brush (we like silicone) and use the brush to go over all the surfaces inside the pan. This will ensure that any details are coated and will also remove any excess – brushing creates an even layer, which is what you want.
- Pour batter into pan and bake and cool as directed.
- In general, you will be cooling the cake in the pan for several minutes until just warm, then unmold the cake directly onto a cooling rack. The cake should unmold cleanly.
- If it doesn’t unmold cleanly you will be able to see where the cake stuck. Make a mental note for next time that those areas need special attention. Some pans with very fine detail can be more persnickety but this is your best approach to success.