Muffin Pan Buying Guide
What is a Muffin Pan?
Cakes and muffins have an interesting culinary history, and muffin pans in particular have an interesting past. Today, everyone loves a good muffin or cupcake, and there are a number of different kinds of pans on the market that help bakers to make these pastries to perfection.
It can seem daunting when you’re looking for the right muffin pan, because there are so many out there on the market, but in this buyer’s guide we’re going to help you take the guesswork out of the process.
Muffin baking has been around for ages, but the cakes of ancient history were unlike the ones that we enjoy today. In fact, cakes used to be a bit more like bread in consistency, and the first actual cake baking happened in ancient Egypt, where the first advanced baking took place.
There is evidence of more modern-style iced cakes that came about in the mid 17th century in Europe. Historians have found that cakes from that time period were the first to be baked with sugar, but they were still different from the cakes that we find today.
Throughout history cakes have contained fruit, and icing was made from a combination of egg whites, sugar, and flavorings that were then poured on the cake and baked into a glaze. When it came to baking, a cake hoop was used, which was a round mold similar to the kind that you find today. These hoops were made of metal, wood, and sometimes even paper.
It wasn’t until the mid 19th century that refined flour came into use and yeast was replaced with baking powder. This gave the cakes a much fluffier and lighter consistency. This was also around the same times that cake hoops came into being.
Essentially, a muffin pan is a specialized kind of cake pan. Muffins are, after all, mini cakes of a sort. We’re going to highlight the various kinds of cake and muffin pans so that you can narrow down exactly what you’re looking for. Cake pans have come a long way since they were first introduced into the culinary world, and now you can find them in all different kinds of sizes, shapes, and materials. Some are even specially designed for various different kinds of cakes.
- Rectangular Cake Pans: One of the most common cake pans that you will find today is rectangular in shape, and these pans are usually made from aluminum, glass, or tin. They also come in various different sizes, with the most popular being 13 x 9 inches. This is a popular style of pan because it’s easy to use, but sometimes it can give your cake an irregular appearance. It’s not uncommon for the center of the cake to rise higher than the sides of the cake. This isn’t going to affect the taste of the cake, so it’s only a problem for aesthetic reasons. It’s possible to level the cake by slicing off the high spots with a knife.
- Square Cake Pans: This kind of pan is quite common and is perfect for brownies or other kinds of bars. The most common size of square pan is 9 x 9 inches. Although similar to a rectangular pan, the square pan is different in terms of shape. You’re still going to get some of the same irregularities in the baking process, but you can trim the cake before icing to level it off.
- Round Cake Pans: These are common for making layer cakes, and they’re usually made from aluminum with a non-stick coating applied. They come in various different sizes, and it’s popular to purchase many of these to make a layer cake. Of course you could just buy one and make the cake layer by layer, but this takes considerably more time than buying multiple pans to make all the layers at the same time.
- Bundt Cake Pans: This is a uniquely shaped pan that is used for making a traditional bundt cake. These are usually made from aluminum, cast iron, or aluminum that is treated with non-stick coating. This is the ideal choice for making cakes on special occasions. This style of this pan is perfect for those who don’t have a lot of experience with baking because the shape is quite forgiving and naturally aesthetically appealing. Make sure that you grease the pan well before you add the batter so that the cake does not stick.
- Angel Food Cake Pans: This is a kind of tube pan that has a detachable center cone and detachable sides. This type of pan will not need to be greased because you want the cake to have direct contact with the sides of the pan so that it will cook properly. You can loosen the cake from the edges by running a knife around the sides, but be careful to not damage the cake.
- Springform Cake Pans: This kind of pan is like an angel food cake pan in that the sides and the bottom will be detachable. This is a kind of pan that is usually made from shiny tin, but it is often colored. There are enamel-coated aluminum models as well, and these have been gaining in popularity. This is the most common type of pan used for cheesecakes or mousses.
- Savarin Cake Pans: This is another ring-style pan that is made from aluminum, but you can also find non-stick versions on the market as well. This is typically used for molded items, such as rice rings and sponge cakes. With its wonderful ring shape, these pans are popular for gelatin molds as well.
- Loaf Pans: This is a common type of pan used for breads, but it’s also possible to cook cakes in this style of pan. Loaf pans are commonly made from cast iron, aluminum, tin, glass, or ceramic. They’re shaped like a loaf of bread and they come in various sizes that you can choose from.
- Muffin Pans: And now we come to the pan that is the topic of this article: muffin pans. These are used for making cupcakes and muffins, and you can find them with traditionally-sized cups or in mini-muffin size. You can place any kind of cake batter into a muffin pan to bake it to perfection. The standard size muffin pan is going to hold about a cup of batter for each muffin. You can find muffin pans that are made from tin, cast iron, or aluminum, and they can be used with or without cupcake liners. When you do not use liners, be sure to grease each individual muffin cup so that the cupcakes won’t stick.
There are a lot of cake and muffin pans out there so you need to do a bit of research to find the one that is right for you. With so much to choose from, it’s best to understand what kind of muffin baking you’d like to do, how big you want the muffins to be, and what materials you’re interested in.
No matter what kind of muffin pan you buy, you’re going to see that they all are quite similar and share a lot in common, but the top rated pans that we discussed above are really the ones that stand out among the rest. These are the pans that customers swear by because they’re made from durable materials and come at a price that most consumers can afford.
When you’re ready for a high-quality muffin pan in your kitchen, then you can definitely purchase one of the top rated pans with confidence. Not only are they going to stand the test of time, but they are also going to make it easy to bake delectable muffins that the whole family is going to enjoy.