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Old 02-07-2007, 10:37 AM   #1
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Shape of baking pan

This sounds like a stupid question but I'm going to ask it anyway. Does the shape of the baking pan affect the rise of a cake?

I've baked this heavy cake twice using a square pan and it had came out beautifully flat on top both times. Then because I had to bake the same cake in smaller portions, I used round pans about 5 inches in diameter. The cakes rose in the center like mountains towards the end of baking. After I took them out of the oven, the mounds subsided but continued to settle lower and lower until a crater permanently formed in the center.

I thought it was because I overbeat the batter and therefore aerated it unnecessarily. I tried two more new batches, gingerly mixing the batter both times. I used the same round pans and they all came out with craters! I'm thinking maybe it's because the round pans, unlike the square pans, don't allow for cake expansion on the sides? (Duh, scratching my head here.)

Or could it be the texture of the walls of the pan and not its shape? The regular hard aluminum square pan had smooth walls whereas the round pans were of the soft disposable aluminum type, and therefore had rough crimped walls. Maybe the smooth walls allowed uniform rise of the cake while the rough walls made the cake stick on the sides while the center rose?

I hope somebody out there has an answer. Thanks!

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Old 02-07-2007, 11:06 AM   #2
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Chopstix, I will try to help you with your cake rising problem. The fact that your cakes rose and collapsed could either be due to the cake pans being too small or the oven too hot during baking. This being the case, can you let me know at what temperature they were baked and for how long. Also how much cake mixture was put in the pans before baking.
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:26 PM   #3
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The shape of the pan should not affect the rise. You mention it is a heavy cake and tried adapting to 5" pans from a rectangular (my guess - the retangular is larger & leaves more room to grow & spread out, rather than 5" ramekins?). The size of the pan, texture of batter, amount poured into the pan, over aerating and adjustment to cooking temps could be the problem. (Guessing this is not a souffle.) The batter should be evenly distributed among the pan(s). Re the craters - bubbles in the batter might be the problem. Try tapping the baking pan on the counter to knock out the bubbles and level the batter.

Re the rise -- when I have time, I would like to try adapting my souffle dishes - prepared in a 2-2 1/2 qt round dish, to little ramekins. I may run into similar problems with the rise etc., but it's worth reworking a recipe you like to achieve the results you want. Keep us posted. :-)
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Old 02-07-2007, 09:02 PM   #4
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Hi Boufa and Mish, my dear friends! Thank you both for your insights. Now that you both mention it, it could be the temp. I remember it took about 40 min to bake in the bigger square pan whiereas in the smaller round pans it took just 25 min. I was baking at 350F all the time. I'll try 300F next time! Will certainly get back to you about what happens!

No mystery about what I was baking -- it was Cassava Cake, from Cassava root (a.k.a. Yuca, Manioc) and coconut milk. It's a Philippine delicacy that I've been craving. I finally learned how to make it!
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:42 AM   #5
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Chopstix, if Cassava Bibingka is what you were preparing, then 300/325F is sufficient as there was no baking soda/powder in the mixture and that the pans were made of soft aluminium. By the way this dessert is similar to Kueh Bingka, one of my favourite desserts!! If however, you decide to bake it in ramekins or small pie moulds, you can stick to 350F but reduce the baking time. Good luck to your next baking and don't forget to share a piece with me!!
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Old 02-08-2007, 08:13 AM   #6
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Thanks Boufa! You're right. The square pan I originally used was thick and industrial grade, that's probably why it withstood 350F, and the cassava cake came out perfect. Will remember to lower the temp when using thin pans in future. :-)
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Old 02-08-2007, 10:16 PM   #7
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Here is what Baking911.com says are the reasons a cake falls.

Since the only thing you changed the first time was the size of the pans and you reduced the baking time ... I would bet my money on under baking being the problem - especially since you cut the baking time by about 40%. As you said, "The cakes rose in the center like mountains towards the end of baking." I'm thinking you pulled them at the peak of the rise but before the batter had a chance to set.

Assuming you used the same recipe, and the original square pan was 9x9 inches - you would need to use 4 5-inch round pans the same height as the square pan to maintain the same thickness of the batter, and the same depth proportion - pans which are filled more than 1/2 - 2/3 can also cause the cake to collapse in the center (ref: Shirley O. Corriher, CookWise) - but they generally need to be filled to at least 1-inch deep.

Something else to consider about your pans - reflectivity. Commercial pans are generally thick and have a dull finish - cheaper thinner pans usually are "bright and shiney". The shiney surface actually "reflects" heat away so they have to be thinner in order to bake comparably to the thicker dull finished pans.

If I were trying this I would start with mixing the batter as you originally did, reduce the oven temp 25ºF (no more), and bake for the original time ... but check with a bamboo skewer or toothpick after 35 minutes if they look done.

Please keep us posted on what you try and how things turn out!
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Old 02-09-2007, 12:55 AM   #8
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Michael, you're so smart. I used 3 round pans only for the batter that used to be baked in one 9x9 square pan. The batter was indeed thicker in the round pans. I'll see what happens next time after my adjustments and report back. Thanks for the link too. It's invaluable!
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Old 02-24-2007, 06:11 AM   #9
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Speaking of backing pans:

What purpose does the core of a bundt/tube/angelfood pan serve, and are there any dishes which can be baked in ONLY such a pan?
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Old 02-24-2007, 08:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushy
Speaking of backing pans:

What purpose does the core of a bundt/tube/angelfood pan serve, and are there any dishes which can be baked in ONLY such a pan?
The hollow central tube lets heat get into the center of the cake allowing for more uniform baking. Such a pan is used for baking angel food cake, pound, and sponge cakes. For easy removal of the cake from the pan, it is best to go for non-stick with a loose bottom.
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