Cake pans are pretty sturdy, but from time to time, something unexpected happens. Perhaps you let a friend borrow yours, or it got dented and ruined somehow. If you want to bake a cake and all you've got is ceramic pans, you're in luck -- it can be done. However, you'll have to make some adjustments to your usual way of doing things. To avoid unnecessary frustration, don't try this if you're in a hurry.
It's possible to bake a cake in a ceramic baking pan, as long as you allow extra time for the cake to bake through. Most cake pans are made of aluminum or stainless steel, and take much less time to heat through than ceramic baking dishes. You don't need to alter the temperature your cake recipe suggests; simply allow an extra five minutes in addition to the time listed in your recipe. Then check the cake to see if it's ready to be removed. If it isn't, give the cake another five minutes before checking again. If this is a recipe that you anticipate baking in a ceramic dish often, write down the total time it takes to bake the cake in that pan once the cake is done. This will save you time in the future.
Prepare your ceramic pan the same way you would for any other cake pan. Grease and flour it, and if possible, add a piece of parchment paper that covers the entire bottom of the pan. Greasing and flouring prevents the cake from sticking to the pan -- as does parchment paper. By using both techniques in tandem, you make it incredibly difficult for your cake to stick to the inside of your ceramic baking dish. As with other baking dishes, grease ceramic ones under bright light and turn them constantly as you grease. That way, you can more clearly see what areas you have covered, and what areas you still need to cover.
Test for Doneness
When your cake is done, no matter what type of pan you're baking it in, it will begin to pull away from the sides of that pan. The middle will look firm, and should not jiggle as you pull it from the oven. Poke a skewer into the middle of the cake, then pull it out to observe whether any wet cake batter clings to it. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If it's gooey, put the cake back in the oven for another five minutes. Some exceptions include any cake that incorporates chocolate or other flavored chips or chunks in the batter, as these will be gooey no matter what. If the cake you're baking is one of these, look closely to see whether any goo is batter or flavored chunk or chip.
Ceramic pans are usually a lot heavier than their stainless steel or aluminum counterparts. Where you may usually have no trouble flipping a cake out of a normal cake pan and onto a cooling rack one-handed, be careful trying the same technique with a ceramic pan. Run a sharp, thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it. Place the cooling rack, upside-down, over the top of the cake pan. Wear oven mitts on both hands, then flip the ceramic pan and rack over with both hands. The cake will land on the rack. If you used parchment paper, pull it away from the top of the cake so that it does not trap steam. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting. Also, allow the ceramic pan to cool completely before cleaning; sudden temperature changes can damage ceramic pans.
- "Wedding Cakes You Can Make"; Dede Wilson; 2006
- "The Professional Chef (Eighth Edition)"; The Culinary Institute of America, 2006
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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