Size Matters — Baking Pan Sizes

by in How-to, July 18th, 2012

baking pan
Yes, pan size matters when it comes to baking times and temperatures.

Have you ever had cake batter ready to go into the oven and realized you have the wrong size cake pan? Panic sets in. What do you do? There’s always a pan you can sub out for another size. It’s not the end of the world, trust me. I have a few tips I keep up my sleeve.

If, for example, your recipe calls for an 8-inch cake pan and you only have a 9-inch, relax, no problem. Just increase the oven temp by 25 degrees F and decrease the bake time by a quarter.

In this particular example, since your pan is 1 inch larger, more surface area will be exposed. The liquid in the cake batter will evaporate quicker, which means it will bake faster. To compensate, just increase the temp and decrease the baking time. Are you a little calmer now?

Think of it this way:

  • If the pan you have makes the batter shallower than the original recipe, raise the temp and decrease the baking time.
  • If your pan makes the batter deeper than the original recipe, lower the temp and increase the baking time.

plum upside down cakeHere’s a delicious example: Take my summer recipe for Plum-Upside Down Cake (pictured right). The recipe calls for a 10-inch pan. If you only have a 9-inch pan, lower the temp from 350 degrees F to 325 degrees F and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until done. Easy peasy.

If in the end this seems too complicated, just buy another pan and add it to your bakeware inventory!

Hedy Goldsmith, a 2012 James Beard Award finalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef, is the executive pastry chef for the Genuine Hospitality Group of restaurants including Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami and Grand Cayman, and Harry’s Pizzeria in Miami. Now in her second season of Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets, Hedy has appeared on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate and lauded in The New York Times, People, Wine Spectator, Bon Appétit, The Huffington Post and Food & Wine magazine. Hedy’s first cookbook, Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors (Clarkson Potter / Publishers), will be released October 2.

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Comments (6)

  1. foodandtools says:

    Agree, sized does matter when it comes to baking tins and that is why I have so many!

  2. Me too! I need more storage space…you never can have too many baking pans! Right?

  3. Erin says:

    I have several Bakers Secret baking pans that states they are non stick, but seems like everything sticks! and when I spray with a non stick spray my pans are ruined. They work fine if I grease and flour them, but whats the point of buying a non stick pan? Am I doing something wrong?

    • Non stick really does work. Perhaps you are unmolding your cakes or muffins too soon and not allowing them to cool and release from the pan. Q: can you give me an example of what you are baking and in what type of pan? Let's start there. We'll figure this out!

  4. John says:

    Strange, never think about this myself when baking a cake. I just bake it in whatever baking pan I can find, and it always turns out good:)

  5. george adolphson says:

    I need to know where I can find 2-8inch round cake pans that come in two pieces

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