All about cake tins
Loaf tin? Sandwich tin? Delia explains what to use, how to line them, the mysteries of greasing and flouring – and where to buy the best!
Cake tins are of paramount importance. The reason for so many failed cakes is that the size of tin was incorrect for the mixture. Whenever I hear a tale of woe, it's the first question I ask and often the asnwer is, 'Oh, I didn't have a tin that size.' Even a half-inch difference all round can often upset both the timing of a recipe and the finished size of the cake. It is therefore important to use the correct sized tin. In my recipes I usually try to keep to 7 or 8 inch tins (which metrically are approximately 18 or 20 cm – the difference in volume is minimal). These are fairly standard sizes, though some manufacturers come up with some very strange alternatives in the name of metrication.
Types of cake tin
The more solid the better, and the longer they'll last. The depth is important for sponge tins, because if there isn't enough depth the cake won't rise: use a sponge tin that is at least 1½ inches (4 cm) deep. The cause of many a flat sponge is a sponge tin that is too shallow.
These too come in a confusing array of sizes, and again I have kept all my recipes to two sizes – either the 2 lb (900 g) capacity loaf tin, or else a slightly narrower tin with a base measurement of 7½ inches (19 cm) by 3½ inches (8.5 cm).
Normally I use non-stick bakeware simply as an extra aid, never relying on it exclusively. In practice I use it as I would normal bakeware, greasing and lining it by the traditional method. I just find this more reliable.
In my experience, so-called non-stick tins sometimes do! So I recommend that you always grease cake tins regardless. The best thing is to use some of the same sort of fat as is used for the cake mixture. Smear it evenly all over the inside of the tin (making sure you get into the corners) using a piece of absorbent kitchen paper.
Some recipes state that the tins should also be lightly dusted with flour. This is unnecessary unless for some reason the cake needs to be extra crisp at the edges.
Care of cake tins
Some people have a theory that cake tins shouldn't be washed. I do always wash mine thoroughly and dry them thoroughly afterwards, because I find they get dirty even stored away in a cupboard – and I'm happy to say they haven't suffered in any way.
How to line a cake tin
Methods of cake-making
The science of cake-making
How to store cakes
Essential cake-making equipment
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