These Throwback $20 Cake Pans Prevent All My Cakes from Sticking

published Apr 20, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Grandbaby cakes carrot cake on cake stand.
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Recently my friend Alana texted me, “These are the best cake pans I’ve ever used! What a dream! Nothing stuck!” along with a triumphant shot of the cooling layers for her daughter’s birthday cake. A couple of days earlier, I had discovered my pal was scrambling to bake a cake for her daughter’s birthday after receiving an eye-popping quote from the local bakery. When I learned that she didn’t own cake pans of her own, I insisted she borrow mine.

At first I think Alana was unsure why I was so emphatic that she borrow my pans and not another friend’s, but once I showed her how they work, she got the drift. However, it wasn’t until she tried them that she really understood.

What’s So Great About Easy Release Cake Pans?

I’ve had these easy release cake pans for a long time, but it wasn’t until Alana borrowed them and promptly texted me that I remembered how much I love them. These easy release cake pans are truly the best because they feature a rotating cutter bar along the bottom of the pan that prevents cakes from sticking. Once your cake has cooled, you simply rotate the bar around the circumference of the pan to release the cake and then just flip the cake out. So simple, yet so ingenious. 

Credit: Laura Fenton

I grew up with a set of these cake pans, so I didn’t know they weren’t the norm until I went to buy cake pans of my own in my early 20s. I never saw them anywhere other than my mother’s collection, and there are definitely vintage models out there. A few years ago, I scored my own set after spotting them in the Vermont Country Store’s catalog (which is a semi-embarrassing personal indulgence), but I’ve since seen them on Amazon and other sites, so it’s much easier to shop for them now.

I love making homemade layer cakes, and I adore these pans because they make baking a little bit easier. I never worry about my cake getting stuck in the pan and I never have to cut fussy parchment paper circles either (thank goodness!). I’ll still use a springform pan for a flourless chocolate cake or another single-layer dessert, but any time I make a layer cake, I always reach for these easy release pans. 

Credit: Laura Fenton

There really aren’t many cons to these amazing pans, but I should note that the sides aren’t 100% vertical like a springform pan. As a result, the bottom of each layer is ever so slightly smaller than the top. If you’re planning to frost your cake, it’ll be covered up by frosting so you’ll never know, but if you want to make a naked-style cake with no or minimal frosting on the side, the slight angle will be visible, so this style of pan might not be for you.

Maintenance is another mild drawback. If cake crumbs get stuck beneath the cutter, it can be a little tricky to clean, but if you use a soapy brush, the bristles will whisk away the debris pretty easily. You also need to dry the pans after washing because the aluminum can start to rust if you leave them wet (although this is true of many other cake pans).

Would I Get the Cake Pans Again?

I would absolutely buy these cake pans again, and my friend is planning to buy some of her own after her recent test drive. One tip, though, for anyone who might have a vintage set: I ordered two sets of two thinking that I could keep three for myself and give one to my mom, so she’d have enough pans for a three-layer cake. However, I discovered the modern-day version is ever so slightly wider than my mom’s vintage ones, so I kept all four for myself. Having four might sound excessive, but it’s definitely worth buying multiple sets if you often make cakes with three or more layers — that way you can bake them all at the same time. 

Buy: Easy Release Cake Pan, $19.05 (originally $19.97)