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cast iron skillet question

I probably should know the answer to this question; but i'm stumped.
I have a recipe that I want to try for an upside down pear cake to be baked in a cast iron skillet. It says to bake in a 10 inch skillet and reviewers say the skillet it critical. I have two skillets. One mearures 10 inches across the bottom and one measures 10 inches across the top. I want to use the one that measures 10 inches across the bottom - right?
thanks to anyone that can take time to give me the confidence I'm on the correct path.

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  1. the standard is to measure across the top actually...and many cast iron skillets say the size on the bottom btw. better in these instances to go "smaller" than larger..send along the recipe if it turns out great

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mdee2

      I have always wondered about this as well. So for example an omelet or frittata pan do you use the top measurement? They generally have sloped sides so there is some room for horizontal expansion but the base is often different for pans with the same top measurement.

    2. Unlike cake pans with straight sides, I'd opt for the bottom measurement. Either way, your handy dandy tooth pick will tell you when it's done. Remember cast is a great conductor of heat so, don't let it set in the pan too long after coming out of the oven.

      1. the recipe is from Bi Rite market in San Francisco. Looks yummy. My husbands pear tree went crazy this year and he's tired of canning so I commandeered the last of the pears to bake with.
        I'll let you know how it turns out - making for my book group.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chocchic

          In bocca al lupo (Good luck)! That's the sincere way of saying 'good luck' in Italian. Believe it or not, saying what directly is the Italian expression 'buona fortuna' is considered sarcasm.

        2. My guess is that the bottom measurement is the way to go. I have seveal old-fashioned cast iron skillets of varying sizes. The 2 largest ones are 10.5", but of different manufacturers.

          I assume the recipe suggests coating the skillet with some non-stick lubricant (oil or butter) unless it has be pre-seasoned by the manufacturer.

          My other skillets are 6" and 8". None of them are pre-seasoned by the manufacturer.

          1. I agree that the standard is normally to measure across the top of the pan!

            1. Actually, unless your pan diameters are radically different, either one would probably work. For instance, I have two that are about 9" across the top, but one has steep sides and an 8 1/4" bottom, while the other has shallow rounded flared sides and a 6" bottom … but I use either one for the same cornbread recipe. The only real difference is that the steep-sided pan cooks the cornbread faster because the batter is more spread out and shallower.

              However, if you're concerned about how critical the size is, my instinct would be to go for the one that's 10" at the top, just because your cake will be a bit deeper. You can always bake it longer if it's not quite done when the time is up, but you can't un-bake an overdone one!

              1. Always the top diameter unless otherwise specified in the recipe. ALWAYS.

                1 Reply
                1. re: greygarious

                  My pan that says 10" measures that across the bottom, 10.5 across the top

                2. I ended up using the smaller of my two pans that measured 8.5 on bottom and 10 across top. When I dumped cake filling over pears and all of the butter came up around the sides it looked awfully buttery and I was afraid I had made mistake but it turned out great (according to my husband). I thought it was ok while warm and a little doughy when cooled but everyone else liked.
                  Here is link to recipe. http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/mo...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chocchic

                    The measurement is interesting but doesn't matter

                    Your skillet is fine , no matter