However, I noticed that all the loaf pans are steel rather than aluminum, and there were no loaf-shapes among the ‘actual’ cake pans.
Many of the loaf pans are “aluminized” steel pans…they have a thin coat of aluminum on the surface to improve the thermal conductivity, so that you get the structural strength (and cheapness) of steel, but the baking performance of aluminum. Personally, I don’t like them because the layer of aluminum is thin and the metal can start to rust if water is left standing in the pan.
The Gold Touch pans of Williams Sonoma are the aluminized steel, but I have had any problems with their rusting, and I’ve had them for years. Run them through the dishwasher, too.