8-Inch Round Cake Pans
How we tested
In the test kitchen, we primarily use round cake pans for baking layer cakes, though we also use them to bake cinnamon rolls, pan pizza, upside-down cakes, and other treats. After reviewing seven 9-inch cake pans, we found that we liked pans with nonstick coatings because they release cakes easily. We also liked pans with tall, straight sides because they’re deep enough to hold upside-down cakes. Both our winners, the Nordic Ware Naturals Nonstick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan and Chicago Metallic Non-Stick 9" Round Cake Pan, are available in smaller, 8-inch round versions. This size is often called for in layer cake recipes as an alternative to a 9-inch cake pan. (All the layer cakes in our cookbook The Perfect Cake can be baked in either two 9-inch or three 8-inch cake pans.) We decided to test these two 8-inch versions, using them to bake Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake and scaled-down versions of Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing and Pepperoni Pan Pizza. We then evaluated the color and shape of the baked goods, as well as how cleanly the pans released them.
During our original testing of 9-inch cake pans, we learned how a pan’s color affects browning. These 8-inch pans performed just like the larger versions—foods in the darker-colored Chicago Metallic pan baked faster and achieved deeper browning, while foods in the lighter-colored Nordic Ware Naturals pan needed slightly more time in the oven to achieve doneness and didn’t brown as well. We also noticed some differences in the shapes and textures of the foods we baked in each pan. The yellow cake baked in the lighter-colored pan was slightly more level than the cake baked in the darker-colored pan, which was slightly domed. The darker pan radiated heat more intensely, setting the edges of the cake quickly and causing the center to rise. The crusts of the pan pizzas we baked in each pan browned, but the one in the darker pan had a crispier edge, while the one in the lighter pan remained slightly doughy.
Both pans had remarkable nonstick properties. We had no problem removing delicate cake layers or sticky, sugary cinnamon buns. The pan pizzas slid out easily onto cooling racks, too. Those nonstick coatings also made cleanup a breeze. And they were durable: After lots of baking and washing the pans a total of 10 times, they had only a few light scratches.
These pans performed at the same level as their 9-inch counterparts. We recommend using the darker-colored Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick Round Cake Pan, 8-Inch when making foods that would benefit from deep browning, such as pan pizza. Foods baked in the 8-inch version of our lighter-colored winning pan, the Nordic Ware Naturals Nonstick 8-Inch Round Layer Cake Pan, might need a few extra minutes to achieve good browning. However, if you want to invest in only one pan, we highly recommend the golden-hued Nordic Ware pan for its superior cake-baking abilities.
Test two 8-inch versions of our winning 9-inch cake pans, one priced at about $12 and one priced at about $14
Bake Pepperoni Pan Pizza
Cake: We considered if the pans could produce tall, level, evenly baked cakes.
Cinnamon Buns: We evaluated the cinnamon buns each pan produced, looking to see if they were well browned but not too dark.
Pizza: We noted if the crusts of the pizzas baked in each pan were well browned with crispy edges.