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I got a question today from someone who’s thinking of baking a cake — a first-time caker! — but was not keen on the idea of using aluminum cake pans. “I’m a bake-in-glass gal, is there such a thing as glass cake pans?”

Great question, and sure there are: Those familiar Pyrex made-in-the-U.S.A. glass dishes that we’ve been using for lasagne and brownies for years. The deal with these is you trade the ease of pre-shaped round layers for the thrills of post-baking production.

Here’s what I’d suggest: Try the Cordon Bleu basic cake recipe. Set the oven temperature to 375°F instead of 400°F. Bake the cake in a 9-by-13 Pyrex (or other oven-safe glass) baking pan. Use the same pan-prep and cooking time, and watch for that telling gap at the edge of the cake. (I would definitely still use parchment-paper lining with tab handles to make it easy to get this cake out.)

When the cake comes out of the oven, you have at least two options: Let the cake cool a bit, then slice it in half across the long side. Put one “cake” on your serving plate, ice the top, and then layer the second “cake” on top and ice the whole thing. If you’re a stickler, slice off the short ends to get rid of the gently rounded corners — you’ll end up with a fashionable rectangular two-layer cake, with icing to spare. Option two is to lift the whole cake out of the pan and place it on a monster platter or cookie sheet covered with foil. Ice the whole darn thing, and dig in.

And if that seems not as much fun as circular layers, Norpro makes round stainless steel cake pans. Sur La Table also has All-Clad stainless circular bakers, and silicone cake pans. I’ve tried silicone bakers for muffins and they’re pretty good. I haven’t tried a cake-size version, nor have I tried steel pans for cakes, and would be curious to know how they work.

Tell me what you do, will you? Would love to know that there is one more cake baker in this world.


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