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Store-bought coffee cakes can be expensive and may contain undesirable preservatives, so you might want to make your own at home. This can present a problem though — unless you have the right pan, your cake may not be as good as you’d like. If you want the best coffee cake pan, look for light-colored, nonstick aluminum, a square shape with sharp corners, and handles the right size to be easily gripped while wearing oven mitts.
The most important feature of a coffee cake pan is the material it is made from. The best coffee cake pan should be made from light-colored nonstick-coated aluminum. Oven-proof glass is also an acceptable material, but is more vulnerable to breakage and can even violently shatter if a hot pan is placed on a cold surface. A metal pan resists breakage and transmits heat evenly, while a light color guards against over-browning and burning.
Another thing to look for in a cake pan is the right general shape. Coffee cake is by definition sweet, soft and crumbly. You’ll therefore want to stay away from Bundt cake pans and other odd-shaped pans that require you to turn the pan upside down to get the cake out. If you try to turn a coffee cake out of a pan, it will fall apart. Instead, choose a square-shaped pan, which will allow you to cut and serve the cake easily.
In addition to a general square shape, the best coffee cake pan will have some specific features. A depth of at least two inches will ensure your cake batter, plus any strussell or crumb topping you choose to use, will fit in the pan. This depth will also help protect against batter spills. Sharp corners, though not strictly necessary, are also a good feature to look for. These improve the final appearance of the cake, giving it attractive, straight sides.
Finally, the best coffee cake pan should have flat, medium-size handles attached to the rim of the pan. Some pans come without any handles, making them difficult to get in and out of the oven, especially while wearing bulky oven mitts. Hinged, wire-based handles are even harder to grip while wearing oven mitts. Handles should not be too large, however, or you may not be able to fit the pan into a toaster oven or small standard oven.