Using Correct Pan Size an Important Ingredient in Successful Baking

Times Staff Writer

When baking, it’s essential to use the size pan that a recipe specifies to achieve optimal results.

Some manufacturers provide a pan’s size on their cookware; but if it isn’t noted, here’s the correct way to take a pan’s measurements.

For length, width or diameter, measure the pan across the top, inside edge to inside edge (Step 1). For depth, stand a ruler in the pan and note the distance from the bottom to the rim (Step 2).


The volume of a pan is measured by pouring in water (Step 3) and recording how many cups or quarts are needed to fill the vessel to the rim. Eliminate the need to retake measurements by scratching or otherwise marking the size on the outside of the pan.

There are occasions, particularly in cake baking, when a different shape is needed or desired. “The New Doubleday Cookbook” (Doubleday, 1985: $16.95) by Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna explains that there are some batters that bake successfully in pan shapes or sizes other than those recommended.

Most simple shortened cakes adapt well, but the authors warn against changing pans for poundcake, chiffon or other spongecakes and loaf cakes. The following information from the book may be used as a substitution guide. It is best not to fill pans more than half full. Any leftover batter may be baked into cupcakes.

Two (8-inch) round layers--1 1/2 to two dozen cupcakes.

Three (8-inch) round layers--two (9-inch) square pans.

One (9-inch) round layer--one (8-inch) square pan.

Two (9-inch) round layers--one (13x9-inch) pan, one (15 1/2x10 1/2-inch) jellyroll pan, two (8-inch) square pans, one (9-inch) tube pan or 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

One (13x9-inch) pan--two (8-inch) square pans, one (10-inch) tube pan, two (9-inch) round layers, two (15 1/2x10 1/2-inch) jellyroll pans or two (9x5-inch) loaf pans.

One (9x5-inch) loaf pan--one (9-inch) square pan or two dozen cupcakes.

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