Whether you are a beginner or a budding Mary Berry, choosing the right baking tins for cakes is critical. You can make or break the success of your cake by selecting a tin the wrong shape or size. If the cake tin doesn’t behave like you (or the recipe!) expect it to, then you seriously run the risk of a soggy bottom or burnt edges. No-one wants those.
If you’re a beginner, chances are you don’t have any baking tins for cakes yet. Perhaps you are an experienced baker, maybe you are replacing some or need to expand your collection. If you are – or intend to become – a seasoned baker (pun intended) you’ll need a range of cake tins. Some recipes can be very particular about the requirements in size, depth and shape of tin – even the material it is made from.
Chances are you will need to invest in some new baking tins for cakes if they need some serious persuasion to leave the tray, they are beginning to rust or they just won’t clean anymore.
We’ve selected ten of our favourites which we would recommend to you. Before we get to those, let’s look at what factors you should be considering.
What to consider when buying baking tins for cakes?
A basic cake tin will be flat on the bottom with solid edges. This might be round, square, rectangular or shaped like a loaf. These are the tins everyone will have baked with at some point in their lives. A springform baking tin has removable sides which make it easier for removing after baking. Similarly a loose-bottomed tin allows you to push the cake up and out. We personally love the premium Silverwood tins which allow panels to be inserted together to make different shaped cakes. You can even cook 4 small cakes at once! For specialist cake recipes you may require a specialist tin – for example, you can now buy madeleine baking trays and bundt cake tins for those times you want to push the boat out and bake more than a basic lemon drizzle cake!
Baking Tins for Cakes: Materials
A traditional cake tin will be made from metal, probably tin, aluminium or steel. It may have a non-stick coating on the inner surface. There needs to be an even distribution for the bake to work well, so it pays not to scrimp on quality. Baking tins of a poorer quality may have hot spots or warp, causing a calamitous cake. You may opt for a loose-bottomed baking tin, or where the sides release to be able to take the cake out with ease.
In more recent times, silicone cake tins have become popular. This material is flexible and strong. This means the tins can be turned inside out to release the cake in one piece. No need to battle with a pallet knife! They can handle some serious temperature fluctuations, and can be taken from the oven to the freezer with ease. They are easier to keep clean, can be put through the dishwasher and can also be used in a microwave. This is a real advantage over metal. You’ll only put metal in a microwave once, as the result is scary! Last but not least, for lovers of funky colours, you’re going to fall in love with silicone cake trays!
Copper, glass and ceramic baking tins are also available.
Baking Tins for Cakes:
The recipe will specify the size and shape of the cake tin for a reason. Following the advice is sensible. Timing for a recipe depends on the ingredients being cooked in a very specific tin, usually so the mixture is at a certain depth. You can improvise if you like, but the end result won’t be guaranteed! If the tin is too large the mixture will be spread too thinly and likely to burn. In a smaller tin the mixture may not cook all the way through.
For baking layer cakes, you’ll probably need several shallow baking tins to create those thin layers which look amazing, particularly with rainbow cakes.
You may think that the shape of the tin may not seem important. However square and round tins will distribute heat differently. There are a huge number of novelty cake tins of differing shapes and sizes available. These may require a little more judgement on the cooking time. If you are planning on baking some interesting shaped cakes, we’d recommend choosing a silicone cake tin. It will make removing your (possibly odd-shaped and thus more fragile) cake much easier.
The more you bake, the more you will develop your own preferences and favourite tins. Square baking trays are great not just for cakes but also brownies and bake trays. Loaf tins are good for bread but also loaf-shaped cakes like ginger or courgette cake.
If you are a beginner, then a round cake tin for the humble Victoria Sponge will get you started. But if your budget can stretch to it, try and buy two sets of baking tins for cakes so that you can cook both at once halving the time in the oven!
What are the different types of baking tins for cakes?
Deep cake tins
Usually has high sides which will allow your cake to rise fully without burning or catching on the top. Available in a range of shapes with round or square being the most popular. They can either come as one tin with a solid base, or alternatively as a loose-bottomed cake tin which makes it easier to remove the cake after baking. Deep tins can take more weight – a heavier mixture – so good for your fruit or Christmas cakes!
Sandwich cake tins
These tins have shallow sides and are great for even bakes. They are typically used to make sponge layers for traditional sponge cakes – with the classic Victoria Sponge cake being an obvious choice. If you want to halve your baking time and increase your chances of an even-looking cake, buy double of these so you can do two bakes at once.
Does what it says… makes loaf-shaped cakes. This is a rectangular tin with high sides, used for baking bread, fruit loves and pies. A loaf tin isn’t usually measured in size dimensions, but by the amount of pounds of weight mixture it can take.
Springform cake tins
This is a cake tin with a solid base and removable sides, available in a range of sizes. Great for sponges and cheesecakes.
Tray bake tins
“Traybakers” should be a staple in your baking tin repertoire. These rectangular or square tins usually have sides of 2-3cm high, and are great for flapjacks and brownies etc. They are also perfect tins for roast potatoes, so the oil doesn’t leak out and plenty of space to have air between the potatoes for extra crispness.
Usually rectangular with shallow sides – great for bakes like cheese scones, swiss rolls or biscuits.
Fluted flan tins
These are cake or pie tins with a fluted edge – and often make out of glass or ceramic. They are available in several sizes, with loose or solid bottoms. You’ll want one of these if you’re into tarts, quiches or flans so you get that lovely fluted edge to the pastry.
Muffin or cupcake tin
This tin really should be a staple for every baker, usually with six or twelve cavities to bake cupcakes or muffins. Once you have cracked your Yorkshire Pudding batter mix, this tin also makes an excellent receptacle for yummy Yorkshires.
Bun or fairy cake tin
The younger sibling of the cupcake tin, this also has six or twelve indents which tend to be shallower for buns or fairy cakes. You can also use this tray for Yorkshire Puddings or Crispy Dumplings.
Madeleine baking trays
We’re starting to get into the specialisms now. These trays can’t really be used for anything other than their intended purpose due to their mouldings. Madeleines are a delicious French almond sponge cake which are set as smallish scalloped shapes. Not for the baking novice, that’s for sure. After your holiday to France where you pick up a bag of madeleines in the local supermarket to keep the kids quiet, you will want to recreate them!
Bundt cake tins
Again these tins have one purpose which is to make the elegantly shaped and delicious bundt cake, which has seen something of a resurgence with home bakers over recent years thanks to appearing on the Great British Bake Off. Definitely one to tackle once you reach ‘intermediate’ baker level.
After much consideration, our Top Ten Baking Tins for Cakes are as follows, in no particular order:
There is nothing easier than to bake fresh bread with this robust 2lb loaf tin which is built to a very high standard and should last for years if looked after. It has a think 1mm electro-plated carbon steel construction, so you shouldn’t suffer any warping or corrosion. The tin also has not one but two layers of non-stick coating, which is 100% BPA-free. Caring for the loaf tin is easy, with a wipe down afterwards (never wash!).
There aren’t any sharp edges or tricky corners where your bake will get stuck. The heat distribution is very even.
A brilliant piece of kit. If you want a baking tin which is strong and versatile, look no further. This multisize cake tin is not only great for making multiple cakes at the same time but it can reduce the cooking time and make your baking more efficient. Less time in the oven means lower utility bills!
Using the dividers takes practice. It can be a bit tricky at first but all things are easy when you know how. Remember it is worth lining the base with greaseproof paper, and the slides will come out with no issues. For making batches of the same kind of cake – and same thickness of mixture – this multisize cake tin in perfect. A cake will lift out easily.
The quality build means the tin will never rust, blister or peel, and has an inert, scratch-resistant surface. Its’ robust build means it can the temperatures in the oven, fridge and freezer. Not that when it comes to cleaning, it is not suitable for dishwashers. It is also very practical for storage, as the tray comes apart and folds flat into its’ box.
Further dividers can be bought to make a greater number of smaller cakes.
Usually bought as a pair, this allows you to cut your teeth on the Victoria Sponge or Victoria Sandwich cake, a rite of passage. These tins are 8-inch in diameter and sturdily built. This particular tin has a decent non-stick finish and is suitable for oven temperatures up to 230-degrees C. It can be used for baking or roasting.
Madeleines (mentioned above) are feather-light, shaped, embossed and airy French sponges with a hint of almond. If you fancy baking a batch yourself at home, you’ll need a specialist madeleine baking tray.
With this non-stick tray you will be able to effortlessly bake 12 cakes at a time. The heavy-duty tray is made from 1mm thick commercial-grade carbon steel, and has been designed for maximum strength and durability. The tray won’t warp in high temperatures (safe up to 220 degrees Celsius), and is also fridge and freezer safe. It has a high-quality, PTFE and BPA-free non-stick coating, and will allow you to remove your little beauties quickly and easily.
Thanks to its’ electroplated finish the tray is rust-resistant. After using just wipe down or pop it in the dishwasher.
Overall this is a good-quality, heavyweight baking tray which produces delicious madeleines. We have used it several times to make batches for family, friends and for the local village fetes – everyone loves these yummy French fancies!
An increasingly popular material for cupcakes, this silicone cupcake (or muffin!) tray can cook 12 cakes at a time. Available in a range of attractive colours, silicone can withstand temperatures from freezing through to 200-degree celsius, and is microwave, oven, dishwasher and freezer proof.
This cupcake tray is excellent value, is thicker and less floppy than expected (this can sometimes be an issue with cheaper silicone baking trays). Whilst the tray is, in theory, non-stick, you can always use liners or lightly grease the cups before use. The cupcake moulds themselves are smooth, whilst the top of the tray has a slightly textured finish.
These trays are really versatile. Not only can they be used for cupcakes and muffins, but yorkshire puddings work well in these tins (and mini toad-in-the-hole, which is a revelation!). We have used them to freeze pulped fruits and vegetables for use later on in bakes and soups – super practical, and husbandry at its’ best.