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Nov 21, 2008 02:10 PM

cake baking pans

are my non-stick springform pans the reason my cakes are really too crisp on the edges? if so, can i get a suggestion on pans that won't cause this problem?

i'm going to get an oven thermometer to see if my oven temp is off but last night i lowered the baking temperature and watched very carefully. however my cakes were totally crispy on the edges before the insides baked. is it because the pans are non-stick?

i think these are the exact pans i have:

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  1. How full are you filling the pans? If it's too full, the edges might cook before the centers do. Is the recipe made for 8" or 9" pans? You don't want them more than half full with the deeper pan. An oven thermometer would be a good idea, too. This might be helpful:

    3 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      the first time they were only 1/3 full and they didn't rise above the top rim. then second time they were 1/2" full, rose above the rim but i lowered the oven temp and had better results.

      thanks for the link..

      1. re: midtownDiner123

        It sounds like the temperature is too high if the edges are crisping but the center isn't baked. How much did you lower the temperature? With dark pans, I do it 25 degrees. I don't think being nonstick matters in this case. What are you baking in them?

        1. re: chowser

          i was baking a cake that was intended to be cupcakes. the recipe served 12 regular sized cupcakes and i made ~4 mini cakes. the recipe said bake 20-22 minutes at 350. after seeing the results from the first batch, i lowered my temp to 325 but had to extend the baking time slightly to allow for additional batter that was in my cake pans. i watched it very closely and the middles weren't set at all when the edges were starting to brown.

          the baking 911 chart is useful but doesn't have any details for pans less than 6"... hmm...

    2. Buying an oven thermometer is a good way to go. Perhaps you're baking your cakes too close to the heating element? I always bake my cakes, no matter what the recipe says, one rung below the middle. What are you using to grease/flour your pan? Maybe the combination you're using is crisping the sides? I always use transfat free shortening and flour, just enough to coat pan. Even non-stick pans, I"ve found, need to be greased/floured. Some people do well with cooking sprays, but I haven't. I have Kaiser La Forme (nonstick) and Wilton (a cheapie, but it does the job, nonstick) springform pans and I haven't had problems with the edges crisping before the inside is done. I love Williams Sonoma cake pans. Everything I bake in them always comes out beautifully.

      11 Replies
      1. re: addicted2cake

        I 2nd the Williams Sonoma pans, I use their commercial line and it works better than any of the others I've tried. I have had problems with Bake-Kleen(sp?) flour spray causing edges to crisp up more than I'd like. Greasing and flouring the old fashioned way seems to yield more even results (in my experience)

          1. re: midtownDiner123

            MidtownDiner - Those are the ones, they're "aluminized steel" (according to the label on the mini muffin tin I just picked up) they darken after a few uses and seem to improve with age(only had mine about 18mo so far).

            Did you use a spray with your non-stick springforms? If so, yes I think that could be an issue...I recently used a spray on a nonstick muffin tin (which has been replaced now) and the edges were super crispy...and not in a good way.

            1. re: maplesugar

              hi maple,

              yep, i've been using an oil spray with my pans and i'm pretty certain that's the issue. should i buy baker's joy or use the trans free crisco vegetable oil (liquid) + flour?

              you've seen the edges i'm talking about then. it didn't ruin anyone's enjoyment from the frosting but it was a big loss for me!

              1. re: midtownDiner123

                Unfortunately I've had the same over-crispy results with Bake-Kleen (similar to Baker's Joy) I should add I've only used the Bake-Kleen with non-stick pans so maybe that was the issue? I've used plain ol' Pam when making banana bread in my W-S commercial pans and the edges are always perfect.

          2. re: maplesugar

            i'm beginning to think it's the cooking spray causing the problem. on baking 911 she says never to use a spray vegetable oil when using nonstick pans.

            can i use coat?


          3. re: addicted2cake

            Do you know what the Williams Sonoma pans are made of? I've had their stainless steel (I think it is) baking sheets for over 10 years and love them.

            1. re: addicted2cake

              good tips and thanks. i baked in the middle of my oven and used a canola cooking spray. could that be causing the problem although you did say some people do well with cooking sprays?

              what are the steps to flouring and greasing? just coat w/veg. oil and then dust with flour (tap out excess)?

              the kaiser ones that i have are colored a dark black around the outside ring. could the dark black be causing that area to cook too quickly? would you mind linking me to the williams sonoma pans you have?

              also, i like baking with springform pans bc there's not a huge risk that the cake will get stuck inside but i suppose that if my batter is very runny i won't be able to use them, right?

              1. re: midtownDiner123

                I take a small glob of shortening out of the tub (I use Spectrum Naturals Organic; I get it at Whole Foods) and coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Then, I take a small amount of flour (AP flour), put it on the bottom, and over the sink, tilt the pan to coat the sides while tapping out the excess. I've used cooking sprays in the past and my cakes never released well. Maybe I was stingy coating the pan. But the grease/flour method that I just described works like a charm. I have the Williams Sonoma goldtouch nonstick cake pans as well as the dull gray nonstick pans (I can't recall if they have a specific name, I didn't see them on the site, but they're in the store) and they are wonderful! I also have half baking sheets that I love and their cookie sheets are THE BEST!! (Just my humble opinion). I'm not sure about the black ring on your springform causing the crisping problem. My kaiser pan works very well. Maybe there's a defect in your pan? I think it's a combination of temp, greasing and flouring, and just maybe there is something wrong with your pan.

                1. re: addicted2cake

                  thx addicted. i'm going to get some trans free solid shortening and us ethat instead of my cooking spray. i'm pretty sure that's the issue. glad to hear about the quality at williams-son. i bought my pans at a professional baking store and i doubt that's the issue.

                  1. re: midtownDiner123

                    The sprays also do funny things to your pans and can make them gummy. I use butter and flour and it works fine. Volume-wise the conversion from cupcakes to 4 mini 4" cakes should work. I don't know that the spray would make that big of a difference. I use spray w/ dark bundt pans for the crevices and haven't had that problem. I would start w/ the oven temperature.

            2. For what it's worth, my oven is off by 50-60 degrees. It's shocking how much they can diverge. I went through this phase where, like you, I lowered the temperature and watched carefully, and everything still baked up too fast. Getting the thermometer and realizing just how far off my oven was made all the difference.

              5 Replies
              1. re: chloe103

                Same here. Mine tends to be off about 25 degrees, and even then there can be wild variation. I was noticing that my pies weren't baking properly. Pot roasts weren't simmering like they should. Etc. An oven thermometer made all the difference. (And for the record, my cake and pie pans are just the cheap ones from the hardware store. It was the oven temperature that was ruining things.)

                1. re: weem

                  thx chloe and weem.

                  did both of you have your ovens serviced after you realized that the temperature was off? how often do you test the oven (assuming you don't use a thermometer at all times)?

                  1. re: midtownDiner123

                    I didn't have my oven serviced as I rent rather than own, and that really isn't in my purview. I do keep my oven thermometer in the oven all the time, though - it is hooked onto the back of the middle rack, and I always make a point of checking it after I've preheated and before I put anything in.

                    1. re: chloe103

                      well, my oven seems to have checked out ok which is really good news since i rent too. i set the oven to 350 and after 20 minutes, the thermometer read 350.

                      i bought shortening to use instead of the cooking spray.

                      i'll leave the thermometer in. thx for the tip.

                      1. re: chloe103

                        Same situation here as with Chloe. I rent, so I didn't have it serviced. My oven thermometer hangs from the rack in the middle of the oven at all times. I need to keep checking it throughout the cooking process since my crazy oven seems to have a mind of its own.

                2. Sorry to chime in late, but I've had that problem with dark-colored pans, and I'm pretty sure I've read that the color of the pan can make a difference. I find that my cakes come out best in plain aluminum pans, the kind you can find really cheap in shops that sell professional kitchen cookware. You want good, substantial ones, but they shouldn't be expensive. I butter and flour them, then line the bottom with parchment and butter and flour that, too.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Kagey

                    kagey, thanks. these particular pans have a black band around the circumference and on the bottoms as well.

                    now that i need to shop, i have a question:
                    i want to bake 4" cakes. what's a better investment - mini springform pans (like the ones i have by kaiser that aren't black) or do you suggest aluminum or nonstick? springform seems to make everything so easy but i want to make sure it's versatile for different types of batters.

                    1. re: midtownDiner123

                      If you have a W-S store in your area, ask one of the sales people for their recommendation. I've found them to be very knowledgeable about their products and they have always steered me in the right direction re: baking equipment. My purchases from this store, while a little pricey, have stood the test of time and always yield excellent results.

                      1. re: addicted2cake

                        to eliminate another variable, i experimented with the grease. i poured batter in two different baking pans- one with a dark rim and another without - and greased both with trans free shortening. i left the oven thermometer in. the results? the dark cake pan absolutely is definitely browning the edges way too much.

                        i'm attaching photos of both. the photo with the chocolate icing coming out was baked in the pan with a dark black band around the circumference.

                      2. re: midtownDiner123

                        Sorry, I can't remember whether you said you have the same problem with your non-black pans? Like I said, I go with simple, basic, and cheap. It works for me.

                        I've tried to avoid nonstick in recent years because of the reports about harmful fumes if they're heated to a certain temperature. Plus, I've found that over time, some non-stick coatings can start to flake off, and I don't like the idea of that stuff in my food.

                        I think it's ultimately about your own needs. Mark Bittman wrote a really good bit about this recently--it's the things you find yourself constantly wishing you had that you really need. And that's another reason why I go with the good sturdy (but cheap) aluminum: if I bought a fancy pan every time I needed a new size or shape for a new recipe, I'd be broke. And I don't think my cakes would be any better.

                    2. The one, perfect solution to all this are Magic Cake Strips. They are soaked in water and put around the circumference of the pan so that the edges don't cook before the center of the cake. They also prevent cakes from dome-ing. I also use them with cheesecake around the spring form pan and they prevent the cake from cracking. Wouldn't be without them!