Why The Color Of Your Baking Pan Matters

When it comes to baking pans, inexperienced or simply uneducated bakers don't typically consider the depth, the material, and even the color of their pan. But unbeknownst to them, choosing which pan you bake your cakes, cookies, and pies in is just as important as picking the right oven temperature and mixing in the proper amount of sugar (via Tiger Chef). Baking is a science and can be affected by everything in the kitchen — even humid days will affect your bakes!

In a perfect world, we would all have a sweet little grandma who could tell us every tiny thing we need to know about baking, but sine we don't, we must begin educating ourselves more about the tools we use in the kitchen. That being said, make sure to read your baking recipes carefully to see which pans they advise you to use, and play around in your kitchen to see which of your pans allows your bakes to shine. Few novice bakers learn that the color of your pan has much more to do with how your bakes turn out than you might think.

The problem with your pans

TikTok creator Benjamin the Baker details the issues with dark-colored baking pans perfectly. Focusing on metal baking sheets and pans, Benjamin the Baker went on to bake side-by-side comparisons of cookies, cakes, and brownies with only one variable changed: the color of his pan. On the darker pan, his viewers can clearly see a darker bottom to his cookies, a browner and shorter cake, and unevenly baked brownies.

But why does such a small thing as the color of your baking pan make such a huge difference in how your desserts turn out? Bake or Break tells us that it all comes down to some basic science. In school, you hopefully learned about how dark colors absorb heat better and more quickly than light colors. Well, the same rules apply in the oven! Baking pans made with dark metal will heat up and bake faster than light-colored pans. Now, you may be asking yourself, why is this a bad thing? Won't this just make my food bake faster? The answer is: No. Dark pans will only bake the edges of your desserts faster and will leave the middle raw. Using the wrong pan may be one of the biggest mistakes you make while baking.

What you can do

Do you find your bakes turning out wacky even though you've followed the recipe to a T? Do you find that when you bake your tried-and-true Death by Chocolate Cake recipe it turns out perfect sometimes and tragic every other try? The problem may not be you or your oven, but your pans! The darker the pan, the more uneven the bake can be from the edges to the center. But before you throw out your dark-colored baking pans and grumble about wasting money, there is a workaround for the problem.

King Arthur Baking suggests that if you are committed to using dark baking pans that you reduce your recipe's recommended baking temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing so will protect the edges of your bake from potentially burning and allow the food to cook slowly in the pan and therefore more evenly. It is easier for heat to travel through a soft crust rather than a set crust, so we want to put off cooking off the edges of the bake too early so the center of it will finish baking.

Also, if you are planning on going baking pan shopping any time soon, Chatelaine recommends using aluminum pans because they conduct heat evenly and allow your desserts to keep their attractive pale-golden color. Good luck and happy baking!