There are all kinds of pans out there in different colors, shapes and finishes. Does it even make a difference which one you use?
Absolutely! I know it sounds crazy but when it comes to baking, the kind of pan you use is actually just as important as your recipe.
Choose the wrong one and you might end up with a cake that's lopsided, cinnamon buns that are burnt on the outside and raw on the inside or some corn bread that never comes out of the pan and sticks everywhere. No bueno.
The best kind of pan has 3 main characteristics:
1) Squared off corners. Those are not as common as the round cornered pans but so much better! They ensure your batter bakes evenly on the outside and inside so you don't get a crisper edge and raw middle.
2) Lighter finish. Darker finish pans bake faster so, again, your outsides (which are touching the pan) will cook faster than the insides. In a sheet cake that might lead your cake to have a dome and in brownies, it will mean the outsides will burn before the center sets.
3) Non-stick finish. But I suggest going ahead and greasing any pan — whether it has a non-stick finish or not — just for good measure. It can't hurt!
Bonus: If you want to save yourself the headache of remembering whether you need to turn down the oven temperature or leave your cake in for longer when using one pan or the other, I recommend using the same type of pan across the board. That way you know exactly what to expect every time.
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