I always make a mini loaf of any cake I make so I can have the cake unfrosted. It always bakes great, so I thought I’d get a couple of 8x4 bread pans (the size Rose recommends for her pound cake), as I think I might be able to bake a 9x2 round recipe in two of them. Figured I’d give it a shot, anyway.
However, I noticed that all the loaf pans are steel rather than aluminum, and there were no loaf-shapes among the ‘actual’ cake pans.
I’m figuring it won’t matter for a copule of reasons:
> Normally, I let the loaf sit on the counter while the ‘real’ cake bakes to ‘increase’ its leavening for a domed top. If I use the 9x2 round leavening for the 8x4 loaf pan sizes, I can pop them right in the oven since the steel heats more slowly than aluminum—letting it ‘leaven’ and making cake strips unnecessary.
Make that one reason.
Anyway, any thoughts as to the aluminum vs. steel thing or opinions as to whether this will work? I like loaf shapes. They’re easier to store, cut and weigh, plus I’ll have pound cake pans, too.
I wanted to get a savarin ring for this purpose—it’s almost loafish and makes a ‘plain’ cake pretty, but isn’t as big as a bundt-type—but I got two 8x4 loaf pans and three more mini-loaves for $20, and the savarin pans were $23-$28. I mean, give me a break. I’m ordering one from Amazon, though, where it’s only $13.
Normally, I let the loaf sit on the counter while the ‘real’ cake bakes to ‘increase’ its leavening for a domed top.
... that’s “decrease” i.e., letting chemically leavened batter sit on the counter allows part of the leavening to activate, mimicing the effect of less leavening. Since leavening weakens structure, less would increase structure and allow the cake to dome.
Most cake recipes will bake well in an 8x4 loaf pan (appropriately scaled). With cake strips, the shape will be flatter as they will allow the sides to rise more before the heat sets them. Without cake strips, the shape will be more domed.
I have gone totally brain dead on this. I think I have isolated my confusion. I keep thinking that, because when going from a 1.5” pan to a 2” you decrease leavening—and the only 1.5” pans I have are 8” (and my 2” pans are 9”)—I get the small pan diameter tied up with the lower height. So I keep thinking that as the pans get smaller, you increase leavening WHICH IS WRONG. I mean, it makes perfect sense that it sitting there decreases it.
Don’t you just hate it when you get stuck in a groove like that? I didn’t used to be. It just happened suddenly one day.
Anyway, many thanks! I think I’ll get this straight (again) yet!!!!!!!!!
So I keep thinking that as the pans get smaller, you increase leavening
Acutally, that’s correct, if you’re talking about pan diameter getting smaller while height remains constant- is that what you meant? The proportion of leavening to total batter weight goes up as the pan diameter decreases.
I’ll dredge up my “bridge across the river” analogy in case it helps, but just ignore me if you’re already seen it. If you think of a bridge going across a river, it needs to be stronger to span a wider river than a narrow one, right? Cake batter is the same- it needs to be stronger to hold itself up across a wider expanse (i.e., a longer distance between the pan sides) and less strong to hold itself up across a shorter expanse (smaller pan). Since baking powder weakens the structure, add more when going to a smaller pan.
In practice, it’s more important to adjust leavening when sizing up than when sizing down. A little doming in a smaller pan might not be perfect, but it’ll still be a pretty darn good cake. A fallen cake is less rescue-able.
1. Going from 9x1.5” to 9x2” (1.33x batter, same diameter, taller height)- decrease leavening to strengthen the structure to acomodate the deeper batter
2. Using a recipe for a 9x1.5 and baking in an 8x1.5 [+ a mini loaf] (same height, smaller diameter, same batter proportion)—> Theoretically, increase to weaken and you lessen the chance of doming, but it’s okay to leave it alone with some doming (or make whoopies out of the levelled dome parts)
3. Using a recipe for a 9x1.5 and baking in an 8x4x2 loaf pan + 2 mini loafs (smaller, but taller pans)—> Normally, going from lower to taller pans, you decrease to strengthen. But going from larger to smaller pans, you increase to weaken. So make the recipe as is and see what happens.
I realize many of these pan arrangements are untested for precise answers, so I’m only speaking theoretically.
I use Baker’s Secret loaf pans but I want to get the gold loaf pans sold at Williams Sonoma. They are highly rated by Cook’s Illustrated. I was there on Saturday but didn’t buy it because the measurement was 10” instead of 9 1/2”.
IMO, Baker’s Secret does a good job for the money
I also use the professional version of Chicago Metallic. What I don’t like about it is water gets trapped in the seams and the loaf browns in spots as you can see by this bread I baked in it. However, I don’t have that issue with their round cake pans and like them the best, so far. But, I do want to get a gold round pan from WS too.
Yes, this recipe domes like that every time but I cannot take the credit..It is Rose’s Many Splendid Quick bread but do you see the over-browning in the corner? That never happened in the Baker’s Secret pan
Darn! I should have bought the pan when I was in the store. I won’t be going back anytime soon-it is a 2 hour ride, one way, to that store.
Do they have the 10” loaf? IF so, does the recipe need to be adjusted?
The ones I got are Sur La Table brand. They have the rounded corners so you don’t have the water/crease thing and were way cheaper than the others, but looked quite heavy duty. With their special, I got two 8x4s and three minis for $20.
In the small pic of your loaf, if you look at it quickly, it looks like a punk cake, with the chair thingies being the sort of vertical pointy baked hair segments.
Anne, your leavening conclusions are spot on!
MJ, that’s a beautiful loaf- the darker part looks like a hot spot in the oven- you didn’t bake it in a different place, did you?
Not to my knowledge. I always put the pans in the same place. This one baked alone, though, because this recipe is for 1 loaf. But, this is the only recipe I use for this pan. Most other recipes I make are for two pans or a larger bread pan.
I notice in Bed Bath & Beyond they have those 1.5 inch deep pans that Rose likes,
and Michaels has 6 inch round aluminum cake pans..that fit in my crock pot and I use for crock pot bread.
Target has pans for “Monkey” bread.