Cake tins are more than just a vessel for batter, they are a crucial element of the baking process. Using a cake tin of even slightly different dimensions to those quoted in the recipe can affect the required cooking time and the size of the end result.
Choosing loaf, square and round cake tins
This is an example of getting what you pay for. Heavy, solid tins not only last longer, they also conduct heat better for more even cooking. For cakes that need to rise such as sponges, you need some depth. There is also a selection of different shapes and sizes that you will use regularly. Your ‘wardrobe’ of cake tins should usually contain a couple of loaf tins in different sizes, a couple of sandwich tins, a square or rectangular tin for tray bakes such as brownies and flapjacks, a muffin or cupcake tin and a spring form cake pan.
Preparing for baking
Non-stick cake pans are by no means foolproof but they are usually easier to use and clean. Nonetheless the best result is achieved by preparing them as you would a traditional metal cake tins. With any pan, the best grease is that used in the recipe. Smear an even coating all over the surface of the tin, including the corners, with a piece of kitchen roll. Some cooks swear by adding a light dusting of flour over the greased tin but this can result in a crispier texture at the edges, so skip this stage if you prefer a softer finish. Some cakes, including sponges, require the tin to be lined with greaseproof paper.
How to line round cake tins
Lining a round tin, such as a spring form cake pan, requires some dexterity. After greasing the tin, cut a length of baking parchment long enough to line the full circumference of the tin and overlap slightly. The paper should be a couple of inches taller than the tin and folded back about an inch from the bottom. Place angled snips around the folded piece so it will sit nicely in the tin.
Place the paper around the edge of the tin, with the folded edge laying around the base and overlapping slightly along each snip so it fits snugly. Use the bottom of the tin to mark a piece of paper in the same size, then cut and fit the circle to the base of the tin.
Having chosen and prepared your cake tins carefully and provided you follow the recipe accurately, your cakes should come out perfect every time.