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Cake baking can be intimidating.
You begin with an image of perfection, followed closely by pressure and memories of cakes that went south. We’ve all been there, and we at ATK are going to share our secret of cake baking success: a great recipe and great equipment. We have worked out all the details during our exhaustive recipe and equipment testing process, so you can be sure that cupcakes, a layer cake, or even a simple pound cake will turn out just right. With our exclusive perfect cake kit you’ll be baking and decorating show stopping cakes in no time.


Included in your kit

KEY: GOOD ★★★ FAIR ★★ POOR ★
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Nordic Ware Naturals Nonstick 9-Inch Cake Pan

WINNER - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
CAKE ★★★
PIZZA ★★½

Published October 2013
Solidly built, with a light gold nonstick coating, this pan produced tall, fluffy, level cakes. Layers shaped up perfectly, no matter how the pan was greased. Upside-down cake and pizza released and browned well, but cinnamon buns were too pale.

MATERIAL Aluminum, with galvanized steel-reinforced rim
NONSTICK/COLOR Yes, Light
HAND WASH ONLY
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OXO Good Grips 11” Balloon Whisk

WINNER - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
SPEED/EFFICIENCY ★★★
COMFORT / EASE OF USE ★★★

Published June 2012
With an ergonomic Santoprene rubber handle and a balanced, lightweight feel, this whisk was like an extension of a hand. It whipped cream and egg whites quickly, thanks to 10 wires that were thin enough to move through the liquid quickly but thick enough to push through heavy mixtures and blend pan sauces to smoothness.

LENGTH 11 Inch WEIGHT 3.7 oz
CONSTRUCTION 10 Wires, 1.43 mm thick
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Libertyware Half Size Sheet Pan Cooling Rack

WINNER - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
CLEANUP ★★★
STRENGTH AND STABILITY ★★★
BAKING SHEET COMPATIBILITY ★★★

Published November 2016
Testers gave top marks to this rack, which has six feet on three support bars for extra stability. Cookies cooled evenly on this rack, and pork emerged from the oven with crisp, browned surfaces. It fit perfectly in our favorite rimmed baking sheet (and other standard-size baking sheets) and is safe to wash in the dishwasher. It’s sold in packs of two, making it the best value in the lineup.

MATERIAL Chrome-Plated Steel DIMENSIONS 16.5” x 12” BROILER-SAFE Yes DISHWASHER-SAFE Yes MAXIMUM HEAT-SAFE TEMPERATURE 500°F
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The Perfect Cake Cookbook

240+ RECIPES
432 PAGES, HARDCOVER
FULL-COLOR PHOTOS THROUGHOUT
ITEM NUMBER: CL21

Cakes are the all-occasion dessert—the center of attention at birthdays, holiday celebrations, and dinner parties, and the most welcome brunch, after-school, or teatime snack. America’s Test Kitchen’s first all-cake book, The Perfect Cake, is the definitive guide to any cake you crave from Classic Pound Cake to enjoy anytime to a stunning and impressive Blueberry Jam Cake with brilliant jam stripes and ombré frosting.

In addition to foolproof recipes are features that make towering 24-layer Hazelnut- Chocolate Crêpe Cake as approachable as Applesauce Snack Cake. Sidebars include step-by-step photography for cakes with more advanced techniques like piping the ribbons of frosting that help give beautiful Rhubarb Ribbon Cake its name. Our years of test kitchen knowledge on the art and science of baking cakes provide all the tips and tricks you need for executing perfect cakes every time.

Know Your Frosting

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A American Buttercream

The sweetest option—a timeless fluffy, ultracreamy combination of butter and confectioners’ sugar.

B Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Less sweet than most frostings and one of the easiest buttercreams to make; starts with a cooked egg white meringue.

C French Buttercream

Richer than Swiss meringue buttercream because its egg base is made from yolks rather than whites.

D German Buttercream

Starts out like American buttercream but then an egg-based pastry cream (that has already been cooked and cooled) is added for a super-creamy texture.

E Seven-Minute Frosting

Playful, simple, and sweet; if you like marshmallows or meringues, this one’s for you. Egg white base, no butter.

F Ganache

A decadent, truffle-like mixture of melted chocolate and cream.

G Whipped Cream

Make it in a food processor for a denser, creamier consistency that’s ideal for spreading over a cake (it will keep its dense texture for 2 weeks!).


Cake Pan Preparation

Cake recipes call for different pan preparations (greasing, flouring, papering). Which is best?
Greasing the pan before baking a cake ensures that the cake won’t stick. To figure out the best greasing method, we baked nearly 30 cakes in pans greased alternately with butter, vegetable oil spray, and baking spray (vegetable oil spray with flour added). Next, we dusted some pans with flour, lined some with parchment paper, and left some alone, trying every possible combination of grease, flour, and paper.

What did we discover?
Greasing alone works well for ordinary layer cakes baked in pans that are in good condition (cakes are more likely to stick and break when pans are scratched). Flouring provides a little extra protection for delicate cakes or those that are prone to sticking (say, a moist gingerbread or molten chocolate cake). But for a foolproof regimen, grease the cake pan (vegetable oil spray, baking spray, and butter all work fine), line it with a parchment circle, grease the parchment, and then flour it. Also, most cakes benefit from cooling in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes after they’ve come out of the oven before being turned out.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If you’re going to the trouble of baking a cake, prevent it from sticking by greasing the cake pan, lining it with parchment paper, and then greasing the parchment and flouring the inside of the pan.

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