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Jun 19, 2005 12:44 PM

How thick can you bake a cake?

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This is probably a dumb question to the veteran bakers here, but....

How thick can I bake a cake? Usually, cake pans are only two inches deep and you have to bake two or more layers to make any kind of impressive cake.

Yesterday, I saw some 5-7" rounds that were really tall, maybe 5 inches. Can I use the same batter as usual and bake them in these pans, then cool the cake and slice into layers? It occured to me that small cakes would be the perfect way for me to practice cake making.

My fear is that something special needs to be done or that middle will remain runny. I know the reason Bundt cakes have a hollow center is to allow heat to reach the middle. But if that's the case, why do they even make these extra tall small cake pans?

I did notice that the tall cake pans only came in small sizes. Maybe it's fine to have them that tall as long as they're not too wide?

I would have asked at the store, but the sunny Saturday crowds were out in full force and I couldn't get anyone's attention!

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  1. I can't answer your question (though I'm interested in the answer), but why not just use 2 5" pans of regular depth? Halve the recipe for a two-layer 9" cake, and there you go. Did it myself tonight - serves 8.

    Whoever answers the tall-cake-pan question might also know why my cutting cake recipes in half has worked fine without any baking-soda-proportion alterations?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tatania

      I'd rather buy one pan than two, both because of cost and storage space issues. My cooling rack is also rather small, allowing me to only cool one thing at a time without crowding.

      I also would rather wash one pan than two, though that's just pure laziness.

    2. Most of my cake pans are about four-five inches deep. That's the deepest I've ever seen. I've never had a problem baking cakes in them. Certain recipes might get a little bit overcooked on the very edges, but that's never been a problem for me, as I always trim my cakes after they're assembled, so the browned edges are removed anyway. With most recipes, this doesn't happen anyway. If you're worried about it, you could consider Magicake strips. But I would just forge ahead. When I worked in a bakery that made huge numebrs of cakes each day, all they used were the deep pans, for all recipes from the densest chocolate cake to the lightest genoise.

      You're right that larger sizes cause more trouble - I have a deep fourteen inch square pan that does require a little fiddling with the time and oven temp and so forth. But up to say a 10 inch and with standard recipes, I think you're fine. Bundt cakes are quite deep (five inches or more) and 12-14 inches across and are often pound cake, a particularly dense cake that is a little fussier in some respects than most batters.