2-inch vs 3-inch deep cake pans


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It seems like this has been a point of debate forever, so I'm wondering what do people here have to say on the matter? I've seen some peple say that the extra height on the 3" pan reflects heat onto the top of the cake, causing it to brown more, but Stella Parks, who I always trust as a reliable source of information, writes that the extra height instead shields the cake and reduces the browning. Of course, the 3" depth also adds flexibility in being able to use them for applications that need the extra height, but the main point of interest here is how they compare in baking the same recipe (assuming that it's for a 2" cake layer).

As a side note, the 2" tall pan that I'm looking at is aluminized steel (26 gauge), while the 3" tall pan is aluminum (not anodized). They're both similar prices, so that's not a consideration here.

Or alternatively: just forgo cake pans and get cake rings instead? Would be a bit more expensive, but they can then be used for entremets or other molded desserts.
 
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It seems like this has been a point of debate forever, so I'm wondering what do people here have to say on the matter? I've seen some peple say that the extra height on the 3" pan reflects heat onto the top of the cake, causing it to brown more, but Stella Parks, who I always trust as a reliable source of information, writes that the extra height instead shields the cake and reduces the browning. Of course, the 3" depth also adds flexibility in being able to use them for applications that need the extra height, but the main point of interest here is how they compare in baking the same recipe (assuming that it's for a 2" cake layer).

As a side note, the 2" tall pan that I'm looking at is aluminized steel (26 gauge), while the 3" tall pan is aluminum (not anodized). They're both similar prices, so that's not a consideration here.

Or alternatively: just forgo cake pans and get cake rings instead? Would be a bit more expensive, but they can then be used for entremets or other molded desserts.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect Stella Parks, but I do not like her choice of pans. She uses Fat Daddio anodized aluminum. Cakes below are from the same batch of batter; baked in the same oven, at the same time. Top cake was in a Fat Daddio; bottom cake was in my Chicago Metallic. What cake would you prefer? The brown dried out crusty Fat Daddio cake or the moist Chicago Metallic cake with no crust?

Now, regarding the depth of the pan, its not the depth of the pan per se, its the amount of the batter in the pan. If you use a 3” deep pan AND fill it accordingly, it is going to take longer to bake than than a a 2” deep pan that is filled accordingly. So a 3” deep pan is going to produce a drier tougher cake because the cake is going to be in the over longer. The work around is to use a heating core.

Likewise, the larger the diameter, the longer the bake time. Even a 12” that is 2” deep will take longer to bake. So when you go up in size, you need to think about using heating cores. In square pans too.


E553E030-A153-402F-960D-199A97094F82.jpeg


This was a test cake, it was a chiffon layer cake. You can see there is no brown crust.

C1B51015-B675-405A-93E1-EF78BBAF22DE.jpeg




Now look at Stella Parks white cake—note the brown crust. No cake should have a dry brown crust, especially a white cake.

 
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Don’t get me wrong, I respect Stella Parks, but I do not like her choice of pans. She uses Fat Daddio anodized aluminum. Cakes below are from the same batch of batter; baked in the same oven, at the same time. Top cake was in a Fat Daddio; bottom cake was in my Chicago Metallic. What cake would you prefer? The brown dried out crusty Fat Daddio cake or the moist Chicago Metallic cake with no crust?

Now, regarding the depth of the pan, its not the depth of the pan per se, its the amount of the batter in the pan. If you use a 3” deep pan AND fill it accordingly, it is going to take longer to bake than than a a 2” deep pan that is filled accordingly. So a 3” deep pan is going to produce a drier tougher cake because the cake is going to be in the over longer. The work around is to use a heating core.

Likewise, the larger the diameter, the longer the bake time. Even a 12” that is 2” deep will take longer to bake. So when you go up in size, you need to think about using heating cores. In square pans too.


View attachment 2836

This was a test cake, it was a chiffon layer cake. You can see there is no brown crust.

View attachment 2837



Now look at Stella Parks white cake—note the brown crust. No cake should have a dry brown crust, especially a white cake.

I double checked the 2"-deep pan that I was looking at, and it turns out that it's actually also a Chicago Metallic pan, specifically #49025 listed on their catalogue. On Amazon, there's also the Commercial II Uncoated (#49029) and the non-stick (#59629) versions available, but for some reason they're not listed anywhere on the Bundy catalogue. Do you know which line you have? The 49025 and 49029 pans are both similar prices for me, with the difference being that the 49025 version has a silicone coating. I'm honestly not sure whether that's actually appealing for me though, because while it may help in getting cakes out of the pan, from what I've read it also creates much more work in the care and cleaning of the pan.
 
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I double checked the 2"-deep pan that I was looking at, and it turns out that it's actually also a Chicago Metallic pan, specifically #49025 listed on their catalogue. On Amazon, there's also the Commercial II Uncoated (#49029) and the non-stick (#59629) versions available, but for some reason they're not listed anywhere on the Bundy catalogue. Do you know which line you have? The 49025 and 49029 pans are both similar prices for me, with the difference being that the 49025 version has a silicone coating. I'm honestly not sure whether that's actually appealing for me though, because while it may help in getting cakes out of the pan, from what I've read it also creates much more work in the care and cleaning of the pan.

I don’t know what the product number is. But I have a couple with coating on it. And I purchased some over the Christmas holidays for my DIL and baked a coconut cake. so I know you can get a good result even with the coating using Chicago Metallic. Bake at 325°F.

wilton makes cloth baking strips and I highly advise using them. You’ll get a beautifully level cake. The top of your cake will brown, as it’s exposed to the hot air, but no side or bottom crust If baked in the right pan. Cake should be very moist once cooled. And the top crust easily removed simply by rubbing over the top with a gloved hand.

Chicago metallic coated pan with Wilton Cloth baking

D7FD948D-7B6B-4FF0-9270-04F2B2C98C32.jpeg


white cake baked in that coated Chicago metallic pan with Wilton baking strips. White cake should be white. Also noticed that my cakes are level. They come out of the oven that way. Also note that my cakes are the full height of the fepth of pan. That is a properly formulated cake that has baked properly. The cake batter did not set too quickly allowing the batter to rise and bake evenly. When the crust is dry and brown on the edges and the center is domed and cracked that is an improperly baked cake. Cutting off the tops of cakes and throwing them away is a waste of product. It’s also a lousy tasting cake when the crust is dry.
AA5DCDB3-0589-47CC-BF2B-E34F64C3BAE5.jpeg


This is an Orange chiffon cake. The top crust browns because it’s exposed to the hot dry air. But the cake is so moist, and the crust stays soft. So once the cake cools I remove the top crust. Notice the sides are not browned.
97204780-77AE-4637-9B9A-196D967539C5.jpeg
 
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I don’t know what the product number is. But I have a couple with coating on it. And I purchased some over the Christmas holidays for my DIL and baked a coconut cake. so I know you can get a good result even with the coating using Chicago Metallic. Bake at 325°F.

wilton makes cloth baking strips and I highly advise using them. You’ll get a beautifully level cake. The top of your cake will brown, as it’s exposed to the hot air, but no side or bottom crust If baked in the right pan. Cake should be very moist once cooled. And the top crust easily removed simply by rubbing over the top with a gloved hand.

Chicago metallic coated pan with Wilton Cloth baking

View attachment 2839

white cake baked in that coated Chicago metallic pan with Wilton baking strips. White cake should be white. Also noticed that my cakes are level. They come out of the oven that way. Also note that my cakes are the full height of the fepth of pan. That is a properly formulated cake that has baked properly. The cake batter did not set too quickly allowing the batter to rise and bake evenly. When the crust is dry and brown on the edges and the center is domed and cracked that is an improperly baked cake. Cutting off the tops of cakes and throwing them away is a waste of product. It’s also a lousy tasting cake when the crust is dry.
View attachment 2838

This is an Orange chiffon cake. The top crust browns because it’s exposed to the hot dry air. But the cake is so moist, and the crust stays soft. So once the cake cools I remove the top crust. Notice the sides are not browned.
View attachment 2840
Wow, I didn't even know you could bake a cake with absolutely no crust like that white cake. And that top is so flat too - I thought that leveling the tops was just an inevitable part of the cake making process. You just convinced me to get some baking strips too along with the cake pans. Do you have a specific main go-to source for your cake formulas?
 

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