Skip to main content
Menu
Search
Menu
Close

8-Inch Round Cake Pans

Published April 2020
More on the Best Cake Pans
We also love the 9-inch versions of these cake pans. Our full review of round cake pans with detailed brand comparisons is available here.

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.  


Methodology

Rating Criteria

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.  

3 Sites. No Paywalls.

Included in your trial membership

  • 25 years of Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and America's Test Kitchen foolproof recipes
  • NEW! Over 1,500 recipes from our award-winning cookbooks
  • In-depth videos of recipes and cooking techniques
  • SAVE all your Favorites for easy access
  • Up-to-Date reviews and product buying guides

Get America's Test Kitchen All Access — become the Smartest Cook you know, guaranteed.

Email is required
How we use your email address

The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*