As Bake Off returns to our screens, we're getting out our baking kit in anticipation. Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood will be returning as judges, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig will be hosting, and we'll be dreaming about making those fantastic creations.
To get you in the spirit, we’ve narrowed our excessive cake tin collection to 10 high-performers that will work for all your baking exploits.
1. Lakeland 2lb Loaf Tin: £10.99, Lakeland
A loaf tin is easily my most-used piece of baking kit, because works for simple, unfussy cakes that don’t require ke a lot of effort to ice once they’re out of the oven – think banana bread or lemon drizzle – and it’s also great for shaping a classic loaf. This one is made from 1mm-thick carbon steel, giving it a lengthy lifespan.
2. Silverwood Deep Cake Pan Multi Size: £29.99, Sizzle
In the interests of saving on cupboard space, this clever adjustable number covers all your square-tin needs. It’s slightly more expensive than most because it’s made from Alsil, which is apparently an anodised alloy – I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I do know that its heat distribution is excellent.
3. Waitrose Cooking Non-Stick Loose Flan Tin: £10, Waitrose
You can make cheesecakes and tarts in a standard cake tin, but only a fluted edge gives that pretty French bakery look. Place the tin on top of a can or glass and lower the outside for the most risk-free way to release the tart.
4. Sous Chef Non-Stick Brioche Mould: £7.50, Sous Chef
A piece for the more experienced baker, these brioche moulds (12cm round) are ideal for making brioche à tete: gorgeous little buns with fluted edges and a classic ball on top. Ensure you grease the flutes of the tins well before sitting your dough in them to rise.
5. John Lewis Non-Stick Baking Sheet: £5, John Lewis
A flat baking sheet is incredibly versatile, and the lack of rim allows you to make best use of the space. This one has a lip on one side for easy removal from the oven, and its non-stick material matches the quality of far more expensive products.
6. Nordicware Heritage Bundt Pan: £39, Selfridges
A really easy way to turn a simple cake into a showstopper, this non-stick aluminium bundt tin creates a ring cake with beautiful patterns around the edges. The result is regal, finished with a drizzle of icing and a scattering of nuts or crystallised petals – and can be quite festive too. Just make sure to grease all the crevices well.
7. Mastrad Madeleine Baking Pan: £13.18, Amazon
This is another for the more committed baker, as a madeleine tin isn’t a versatile purchase. That said, if do you want to turn out these delicate, shell-shaped sponges, you can’t go far wrong with Mastrad’s superior silicone. It’s dishwasher-friendly, too.
8. Mary Berry with Lakeland 20cm Sandwich Tin: £9.99, Lakeland
If you only buy one cake tin (well, two) it has to be the standard 20cm round: the size of just about every sponge recipe. These are loose-bottomed for versatility – turn your sponges out upside-down the classic way if they can handle it, or make use of the loose bottom for more delicate desserts. It’s deep enough to be used alone or sandwiched together. Oh, and did we mention that the one-and-only Mary Berry had a hand in the development?
9. KitchenCraft Master Class Non-Stick 12-Hole Friand Tin: £17.63, Amazon
Friands are similar to the French financier – made with almonds, butter, egg whites and icing sugar – and, baked with a little fruit pressed into the top and then dusted with icing sugar, are elegant and delicate while quite simple to make. But you can also use this carbon steel mould to make classic sponges, brioche, muffins, and more. Almost everything looks fancier when made in an oval shape.
10. Le Creuset 12 Cup Muffin Tray: £26, Le Creuset
If you’re anything like me, your muffin tray is going to get quite a lot of use, so it’s worth investing in a more expensive piece that will last longer. The British muffin is actually about the size of American “cupcakes” – you won’t have much luck making them in shallow fairy cake tins. The two short edges of the tray have heat-resistant silicone grips, which are handy when manoeuvring.
The Verdict: Cake tins
If you’re new to baking and building a kit from scratch, a loaf tin and 20cm round cake tins are your basic essentials, and the options from Lakeland featured here are excellent. For the more experienced baker, branch out into brioche or friand tins and get creative with baking in elegant shapes.