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Easy lemon layer cake

16 of the best cake tins for showstopping bakes

Whether you're a keen baker or reluctant birthday-cake maker, we've tested the best to bring you the most practical and hard-wearing cake tins on the market.

Whether you’re constantly cooking tasty treats or you only bake occasionally, a good quality cake tin is a kitchen essential. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but are endlessly versatile – they can be used to bake cakes (of course), as well as sweet and savoury breads, cheesecakes or even used as moulds. 

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Baking is a real science. If you have a good recipe, follow it to the letter, including using the correct tin, and success is guaranteed. Read our guide to successful cakes for some tips to help you master the essentials. Then hop over to our guide to classic cakes for a fantastic breakdown of how to bake the perfect traditional Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle cake and much more. 

As well as cake tins, you’ll need a couple of extra pieces of kit to get you going. Although not an essential, a stand mixer really will make mixing, whipping and folding a lot easier. If you’re a traditionalist or short on space, a hand mixer is a great alternative. To ensure absolute precision you’ll need measuring spoons and kitchen scales. You’ll also need a mixing bowl and spatula to get every last drop of cake batter into your tin – no wastage here!

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How to choose the best cake tin

It seems obvious, but one of the first questions you need to ask yourself before you buy a cake tin is ‘what am I going to bake in it’? All of our cake recipes will outline the size and type of cake tin you need for the bake, so you’ll know exactly what you need to buy. Whilst we favour versatile tins, like loaf tins, springform cake tins and simple 20cm tins, we’re also big fans of those used to produce showstopping desserts, like bundts. 

What can a cake tin be used for?

Like most bakeware, cake tins are pretty versatile. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, but we’ve picked our most popular five to focus on. 

Loaf tin: these generally come in two sizes: 1lb and 2lb. They’re ideal for classic loaf cake recipes, like our brilliant banana loaf and easy pound cake. Or make an impact with our snowy coconut loaf cake and lemon curd and blueberry loaf cake. Not just reserved for cake, these tins are – unsurprisingly – ideal for loaves of bread, too. Try our simple seeded wholemeal loaf or our flavoursome honeyed carrot and thyme loaf.

Bundt tin: these ornate, highly decorative cake tins produce cakes that look fabulous straight out of the tin. Glamorous pans require equally glamorous recipes, like our banana and choc bundt cake with peanut caramel drizzle and our pineapple passion bundt. They also make great jelly moulds, so why not try our fresh raspberry jelly or fruity milk jellies recipe? The layers look really effective in a bundt tin. 

Springform cake tin: designed to make releasing a cake from a pan easier, springform cake tins have a mechanism that loosens the walls of the cake tin, allowing you to easily unmould the cake. They’re ideal for cakes like our easy caramel cake and chocolate and raspberry birthday layer cake, as well as cheesecakes. Try our no-bake chocolate cheesecake and white chocolate and raspberry baked cheesecake

20cm cake tin: otherwise known as sandwich tins, these cake tins are made from a single piece of stamped out metal. Cakes made in these tins need to be turned out from the mould. They’re ideal for sandwich cakes, like a Victoria sandwich. Riff on a classic with this summer apricot Victoria sponge recipe.

Square cake tin: ideal for traybakes and brownies, use these tins to make perfect bites for picnics or lunchboxes. They’re the best choice for blondies, flapjacks and old-school desserts like chocolate sponge with hot chocolate custard

Best cake tins at a glance

Loaf tins

  • Best loaf tin: KitchenAid non-stick loaf tin, £14
  • Best budget loaf tin: Circulon Momentum loaf tin, £12
  • Best loaf tin for wide cakes: Le Creuset non-stick loaf tin, £29
  • Best glass loaf tin: Pyrex Bake and Enjoy glass loaf tin, £12.99

Bundt tins

  • Best bundt tin: Nordic Ware Bavaria bundt tin, £41.60
  • Best swirled bundt tin: Nordic Ware Heritage bundt tin, £43.60
  • Best budget bundt tin: Masterclass Fluted cake tin, £13.25

Springform cake tins

  • Best springform cake tin: KitchenAid 26cm non-stick springform cake tin, £19
  • Best budget springform cake tin: Lakeland 20cm springform cake tin, £10.99
  • Best springform cake tin for ease of use: Pyrex Magic springform cake tin, £9.49
  • Best springform tin available in different sizes: Masterclass springform cake tin, from £9.12
  • Best easy to secure springform cake tin: Le Creuset non-stick springform cake tin, £26.78

20cm cake tins

  • Best 20cm cake tin: Pyrex Magic cake tin, £9.99
  • Best 20cm cake tin for tall sides: Masterclass Deep 20cm cake tin, £12.14
  • Best budget 20cm cake tin: Wilko Shotblast round cake tin, £6

Square cake tins

  • Best tin for square cakes and brownies: Lakeland 18cm deep square loose-based non-stick cake tin, £10.99

Best cake tins to buy in 2021

Best loaf tins

KitchenAid non-stick loaf tin

Best loaf tin

KitchenAid loaf tin

Star rating: 5/5

KitchenAid are well-known for their iconic and colourful stand mixers, so it’s no real surprise the brand have branched out to bakeware. The long, thin design of this tin caught our eye. It produces professional-quality results with clean, smooth, straight edges. 

It’s robust, has thick walls and doesn’t warp or pop in the oven. Our bake came out of the tin smoothly and, unlike most of our loaf cakes, there wasn’t a crack running down the middle – we suspect this is down to the shape of the tin. It’s dishwasher-safe, too. 

Circulon Momentum loaf tin

Best budget loaf tin

Circulon Loaf Tin

Star rating: 5/5

Featuring Circulon’s tell-tale circular design on the bottom, this loaf tin is squat and wide with large handles on the short sides for easy removal from the oven. 

Although the walls feel quite thin, this tin is sturdy. The loaf cake we baked came out with ease, nicely risen and golden. We did notice some sinkage in the centre of the cake, but it was minimal.

This tin is also dishwasher-safe and comes at a reasonable price. 

Le Creuset non-stick loaf tin

Best loaf tin for wide cakes

Le Creuset loaf tin

Star rating: 4/5

Another offering from an iconic kitchenware brand, this Le Creuset loaf tin is 13.5cm wide – the widest we’ve tested – and features silicone inserts in Le Creuset’s classic volcanic orange at each end for added grip and heat resistance.

Running the perimeter of this tin is a large lip that makes removing this pan from the oven a doddle. This tin isn’t dishwasher-safe, but it is freezer-safe for added versatility. 

We baked a fabulous looking loaf cake. It was easy to remove from the tin thanks to the non-stick interior with no sticking or tearing. The cake was evenly risen and consistently browned along the sides and base. 

Pyrex Bake and Enjoy glass loaf tin

Best glass loaf tin

Pyrex Glass Loaf Tin

Star rating: 4.5/5

From well-known bakeware brand Pyrex comes this glass loaf tin. Shape-wise, it’s not dissimilar to the KitchenAid model as it’s long and thin, producing professional-looking results. It only features two small lips on the short sides of the tin, so removing it from the oven isn’t the easiest.

We’d have liked to see Pyrex offer a little more information on baking in glass, as it cooks differently to metal. We followed our lemon drizzle cake recipe, baking it for the stated time, but the cake was still a little undercooked. Baking for 10 minutes longer helped us to achieve the results we were looking for. 

After baking, the cake had risen evenly was easy to remove from the tin. 

What can I bake in a loaf tin?

Victoria sponge loaf cake (2lb)
Snowy coconut loaf cake (2lb)
Brilliant banana loaf (2lb)
Marzipan chocolate loaf cake (2lb)
Simnel loaf cake (2lb)
Sticky banoffee loaf with toffee sauce (2lb)

Best bundt tins

Nordic Ware Bavaria bundt tin

Best bundt tin

Nordic Ware Bavaria bundt tin

Star rating: 4.5/5

This bundt tin from Nordic Ware features a unique pleated design that produces modern-looking cakes with minimal decoration, or you can add drizzles and icing to jazz it up. Made from cast aluminium, this pan is weighty and incredibly sturdy. We’d have liked to have seen a little advice from Nordic Ware on how to best prepare the pan, but found that a generous layer of butter and tapping it on the counter when full helped to achieve a clean release and a well-defined pattern. 

Our bundt cake was well cooked and evenly browned all over. This pan isn’t dishwasher-safe, so it does require some attentive cleaning to get into all the nooks and crannies. 

Nordic Ware Heritage bundt tin

Best swirled bundt tin

Nordic Ware Heritage bundt tin

Nordic Ware’s sturdy tins come in a variety of beautiful shapes, creating architectural cakes that require no additional decoration for that wow factor. We love this 2.4-litre classic design. The non-stick finish ensures the shape holds perfectly on release. Available in 2.4 litres and 1.4 litres in different designs.

Masterclass fluted cake tin

Best budget bundt tin

Masterclass fluted cake tin

Star rating: 4.5/5

Although this Masterclass bundt tin doesn’t achieve as defined results as the two Nordic Ware tins above, the cake it produced was no less impressive. It comes at a fraction of the price of the others and produces bakes with a subtle ridged design. 

It’s a lot thinner than the Nordic Ware tins, but still bakes exceptionally well. We removed our cake with absolute ease and nothing stuck to the pan. It was evenly baked and moist and fluffy on the inside. 

What can I bake in a bundt tin?

Banana & choc bundt cake with peanut caramel drizzle (2.4l)
Blood orange & olive oil bundt cake (2.4l)
Chocolate & almond marbled bundt cake (1.4l)
Soured cream bundt cake with butter glaze (1.4l)

Best springform cake tins

KitchenAid 26cm non-stick springform cake tin

Best springform cake tin

KitchenAid 26cm non-stick springform cake tin

Star rating: 4.5/5

This large springform cake tin from KitchenAid wins the top spot thanks to its super secure walls and easy-to-release springform mechanism. It features a long lip that makes securing and releasing the pan a breeze. 

It produced a beautifully baked cake. None of our batter seeped through the tin and we enjoyed a perfectly risen, moist cake. It’s dishwasher-safe, too. 

Lakeland 20cm springform cake tin

Best budget springform cake tin

Lakeland 20cm springform cake tin

Star rating: 5/5

We always expect great things from Lakeland and their bakeware, and this springform tin is no exception. The seal is secure and the release lever has a silicone cover for easy grip and release. 

The cake we baked in this tin was exceptionally good. It was evenly risen and moist and fluffy inside. The non-stick coating meant we were able to release the cake cleanly, and the tin could go straight into the dishwasher to save on washing up.

Lakeland offers an entire bakeware and roasting range in the attractive blue colour.

Pyrex Magic springform cake tin

Best springform cake tin for ease of use

Pyrex Magic Springform Cake Tin

Star rating: 5/5

This Pyrex springform cake tin has an impressive non-stick coating – nothing sticks to it. The clasp is easy to secure and release, though we did notice the tin popped open quite forcefully when undone, implying the seal was very tight. On the plus side, this tight seal did stop any raw cake batter seeping through the gaps.

Our cake was well risen and evenly baked, though there was a crack in the centre. Despite this, the cake was spongy and moist. The tin is dishwasher safe and was the easiest to use and cook with. 

Masterclass springform cake tin

Best springform tin available in different sizes

Masterclass springform cake tin

Star rating: 5/5

Masterclass’ springform cake tin is available in six sizes: 15cm, 18cm, 20cm, 23cm, 25cm and 30cm. Ideal if the recipe you’re using is calling for an obscure size or you just want a range of sizes on hand. Plus, all these tins are dishwasher-safe. 

This pan produced a super moist cake that was well risen and evenly baked. Usefully, the size of the pan is embossed onto the tin too. The mechanism is straightforward to secure and undo, it’s also ergonomically shaped for added ease of use. 

Le Creuset non-stick springform cake tin

Best easy to secure springform cake tin

Le Creuset non-stick springform cake tin

Not all springform cake tins are created equal – some have hard-to-align bases, while others have a clunky mechanism. Not so for this Le Creuset tin, which has a heat-resistant silicone clasp to make unclipping that bit easier. Worth spending the money for a tin you’ll be able to use over and over again. Available in 20cm, 24cm and 26cm.

What can I bake in a springform tin?

Chocolate marble cake (20cm)
Pineapple upside-down cake (20cm)
Raspberry Bakewell cake (20cm)
Ultimate chocolate cake (20cm)
Gluten-free lemon drizzle cake (20cm)
Chocolate courgette cake (24cm)

Best 20cm cake tins

Pyrex Magic 20cm cake tin

Best 20cm cake tin

Pyrex Magic Cake Tin

Star rating: 5/5

Another from Pyrex’s Magic range, this 20cm cake tin is ideal for sandwich cakes. It features a small lip for easy removal from the oven and our cake released cleanly from the non-stick surface with ease. The cake itself was well risen and evenly baked. There were no rips or tears anywhere. 

Although the pan is thin, it’s sturdy and robust. The tin is oven-safe to 230C and dishwasher-safe. 

Masterclass deep 20cm cake tin

Best 20cm cake tin for tall sides

Masterclass deep 20cm cake tin

Star rating: 4.5/5

Masterclass’ 20cm tin is the deepest we’ve tested. Featuring high sides, it’s ideal for taller cakes. If you’re into cakes with lots of layers, the pop-up base means you could use it as a mould to build a layer cake, then simply pop it out. The silicone seal is very secure, so you do need a bit of force to release it – just as we’d expect. 

Although it was soft and moist inside, we did think the cake looked a little lopsided and wasn’t quite as dark in the centre as we’d have liked. We solved this by another five minutes in the oven. This tin is dishwasher-safe. 

Wilko Shotblast round cake tin 20cm

Best budget 20cm cake tin

Wilko Shotblast Cake Tin

Star rating: 4.5/5

At just £6, this is a good choice if you’re on a budget or are looking to bake a couple of cakes at the same time. The lip around the top of the tin means it’s easy to remove from the oven. It has a slightly rough non-stick interior that made it easy to upturn our cake – we noticed it had risen unevenly so looked a little lopsided. It also needed an extra five minutes of cooking time. A good option for those on a budget. 

What can I bake in a 20cm tin?
Classic Victoria sandwich (20cm)
Cherry bakewell cake (20cm)Cherry bakewell cake (20cm)
Easy chocolate cake (20cm)
Parsnip & maple syrup cake (20cm)
Coffee & walnut cake (20cm)
Cappuccino cake (20cm)

Best square cake tins

Lakeland 18cm deep square loose-based non-stick cake tin

Best tin for square cakes and brownies

Lakeland 18cm deep square loose-based non-stick cake tin

A loose base really helps for ease of release, especially when you’re dealing with gooey brownies, and the non-stick surface on this tin made removing our best ever brownies a doddle. We liked the weighty carbon steel structure – built to last yet still reasonably priced. Available in 18cm, 20cm, 23cm, 25cm and 30cm.

What can I bake in a square tin?

Yummy scrummy carrot cake (18cm)
Best ever brownies (20cm)
Lemon drizzle slices (20cm)
Peanut butter brownies (20cm)
Gingery plum cake (23cm)

Selection of cake tins in piles

How we tested cake tins

We chose our most popular recipes to put these cake tins to the test. We tested a range of brands including high-end that focus solely on making cake tins, to budget-friendly offerings for those not looking to spend lots of money. 

To test the loaf tins, we baked our lemon drizzle cake. For the bundt tins, we made BBC Good Food’s banana and choc bundt cake with peanut caramel drizzle. In the springform cake tins, we made this chocolate and raspberry birthday layer cake and for the 20cm cake tins we baked our classic cappuccino cake. And what better recipe to try out a square cake tin than with our top-rated best ever chocolate brownies?

We reviewed a representative sample of cake tins of different shapes and sizes and scored them against the following criteria.

Practicality: we tested the tins we use most frequently in the BBC Good Food kitchen, as well as showstopper tins for special occasions.
Sturdiness: we chose hardy and robust tins that could withstand frequent use.
Easy release: non-stick surfaces, springform release and loose bases were all given extra points.
Even cooking: tins that conducted heat effectively came top of our list.
Cleaning: tins with smooth curves, rather than sharp edges and folds, for ease of cleaning.

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