How Do I Choose the Best Cake Pan Set?

Suzanne S. Wiley

A cake pan set contains multiple cake pans of varying sizes. The pans are usually the same shape and all made of the same material. Finding the best cake pan set for your needs is highly individual, and you have to look at how much you’ll use each of the pans, if the included sizes are actually what you need, what condition they’re in, whether they’re nonstick or not and if the shape is one you’ll use again.

A slice of chocolate cake.
A slice of chocolate cake.

Paying the larger price associated with a cake pan set can be cheaper in the end because the cost of buying the pans separately could add up to more than the cost of the set. If you plan to use all of the pans, that would save you money. Should only a couple of the pans be what you want, then the cost could be more than or equal to buying the pans separately, not to mention you’ll end up with an unwanted extra pan if you buy the set.

Basic round pans are likely to be used more often than unusually shaped pans.
Basic round pans are likely to be used more often than unusually shaped pans.

The pans in a cake pan set are packaged together and usually nested, with the smaller pans inside the larger ones. If the pans do not have any sort of buffer between them such as cardboard, especially if the pans aren’t packaged tightly and can slide around, the pan surfaces could have scratches. Should you still want to take a chance and buy them, find out what the store’s return policy is if you find scratches once you open the package.

Nonstick coatings in cake pans are very common, but not all pans have them. The cake pan set that has a nonstick coating is best if you want the extra nonstick capability, of course. Controversy over nonstick coating materials has led some bakers to shun them, and an aluminum set that does not have the coating will be better for those who don’t want to deal with the material.

Many cake pan sets are basic, with round, square or rectangular pans, but it’s common to find heart-shaped, star-shaped or other creatively shaped pans. The matching shapes in each set let bakers make stepped, multilayer cakes, such as those for weddings. If you’re not planning to make a specially shaped cake more than once, though, and it is not for an occasion where you need the inside of the cake to look perfect, it may be better to buy a set of basic shapes that you can cut up and paste together with frosting or filling. Chances are a basic round cake pan, for example, will see more use later on.

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