Sink your fork into something sweet while staying home

By Megan Soll
Updated June 11, 2020
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Credit: Sur La Table / Con Poulos

Even before these social distancing times, a good cake is the surest way to brighten your day. If you’ve found yourself baking more than ever during quarantine, you’re not alone. As more and more beautiful recipes pop up on social media, we need the right pans and dishes to execute those delicious cakes and treats. Think of them as an investment for time spent at home as well as for the re-opened future—these are the key pans you need for baking every kind of cake. Try them out with some of our favorite recipes, from bountiful bundts to sheet cakes you can snack on throughout the week.

Loaf Pan

Credit: Sarah Bolla / Sur La Table

The ever-adaptable loaf pan is a kitchen essential for any baking enthusiast. Use it for breakfast breads and pound cake, ideal for slices with morning coffee or afternoon tea. (That viral peanut butter bread will work here too).

To buy: Platinum Pro Loaf Pan, $15 (was $22) at amazon.com or surlatable.com

9-by-13-Inch Baking Pan

Credit: Sur La Table / John Kernick

Arguably the most underrated in the world of cakes, a snacking cake is aptly named, made in a single layer and cut into brownie-sized pieces you can nibble on all day. It’s perfect for parties, great for sweet breakfast or dessert through the week, and versatile for just about every flavor combination. Try a devil’s food snacking cake, a carrot almond with cream cheese version, or even maple pecan pumpkin.

To buy: Platinum Pro Rectangular Cake Pan, 9x13, $25 at amazon.com or surlatable.com

8-Inch Round Pan

Credit: Williams Sonoma

The classic size for a classic tiered cake, like chocolate, coconut, or red velvet layered with frosting. It’ll also work for olive oil cake or even brownies if you’re lacking a square pan.

Get the recipe: Mom’s Chocolate Cake

To buy: Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick Round Cake Pans, Set of 2, $43 at williams-sonoma.com

Bundt Pan

Credit: Sur La Table / Con Poulos

We tested several bundt pans and found that Nordic Ware takes the cake (so to speak). Use it for bundts of course, as well as recipes like monkey bread and

To buy: Nordic Ware Gold Anniversary Bundt Pan, $38 at amazon.com or surlatable.com

9-Inch Round Pan

Credit: Sur La Table / Nicole Franzen

9-inch round pans work for layer cakes, of course, but they’re ideal for upside-down cakes with more room for the stacking and weaving of seasonal fruits. Try classic plum or pineapple, a beautiful lemon version, or mix it up with bumbleberry buttermilk, ginger pear, or maple apple.

To buy: USA Round Cake pan, 9”, $15 at amazon.com or surlatable.com

Baking Dish

Credit: Fredrika Stjärne / Sur La Table

If you love to bring your dessert from the oven or stovetop straight to the table, a pudding cake or spoon cake is perfect. Avoid the issue of using a knife or spoon and scraping up your nonstick pans when serving up things like mixed berry spoon cake, maple bourbon banana pudding cake, or rhubarb pudding cake.

To buy: Staub Ceramic Baker, $35 at surlatable.com or amazon.com

Cupcake Pan

Credit: Christina Holmes / Williams Sonoma

The obvious usage, cupcakes may have fallen from their trendy resurgence but for those who delight in a mini cake treat, love to make muffins regularly, or plan on hosting plenty of kids parties in the future, this pan is for you.

Get the recipe: Black-and-White Cupcakes

To buy: Calphalon Signature Ceramic Nonstick Muffin Pan, 12-Well, $25 (was $35) at amazon.com or williams-sonoma.com

Springform Pan

Credit: Sur La Table / Charissa Fay

Anything you’re worried about crumbling or deflating, the springform pan is here to help. It’s ideal for cheesecake recipes, allowing them to set and pop out of the pan without ruining the crust or rippling the surface. Try it with a pecan praline cheesecake, a dulce de leche version, or a classic New York-style.

To buy: Nordic Ware Leak-proof Springform Pan, $22 at amazon.com or surlatable.com

Ramekins

Credit: Jennifer Causey / Sur La Table

Lastly, but certainly not least, is the pan that makes America’s favorite cake. Petite and powerful, decadent and memorable, the molten chocolate cake has won the hearts of restaurant menus and dessert-lovers alike. Jean-Georges Vongherichten pioneered the recipe and it still stands as the best. All you need are those 6-ounce ramekins.

Get the recipe: Molten Chocolate Cakes

To buy: Porcelain round ramekin, $3-$4 each at amazon.com or surlatable.com