Mihai Aurel
Cake tins: a basic guide for bakers


The golden rule for filling tins:

To prevent cakes and cupcake cases from overflowing and making a mess of your oven, only fill your tins two-thirds full and this will leave plenty of room for the cake to rise.

How to line a circular tin:

Place the tin on top of the rolled out baking paper, bottom-side down. Using a pencil, draw around the tin.

Using scissors, cut the circle out. Dab a little butter or spray some oil over the base of the tin and line with the baking paper circle. If desired, lightly grease the sides of the tin, but this isn’t necessary.  

There are other methods, including fixing a pin to the centre of the paper with a measured piece of string attached and tying a pencil to the free end of string to draw the exact diameter.  

Or if you don’t want to use a pencil, you can fold your baking paper into a triangle by folding it in half several times, lining the point of the triangle up with the centre of your tin and trimming the edge of the folded paper triangle at the outside edge of your tin.

When unfolded, you are left with a circle of parchment to line your tin with.

How to line a loaf tin, square tin or rectangular tin:

Cut your baking paper to a rough length that will more than generously line the tin.

Once you have your baking paper cut, lightly grease the base with a few dabs of butter or a spray of oil.

Press the paper into the tin with your fingers making sure it reaches into the corners.

Using a pair of scissors cut from the corner of the paper into the corner of the tin, then stop. This will allow you to overlap the paper neatly, so your cake, bar or loaf can reach the corners. Trim any excess paper to avoid it scorching in the oven.

How to prepare a Bundt tin or shaped cake tin:

Using a little butter on a piece of folded clean kitchen towel, carefully grease the inside of the tin, taking care not to over-grease and leave lumps of butter as this will make your finished cake greasy.  


What other options are there for preparing tins?

If you bake regularly, ready-made cake tin liners or pre-cut greaseproof baking paper circles are a good option.  

Non-stick cooking sprays specifically for baking are also handy if you are a regular baker as you simply have to spray the tin and you’re ready to pour the mixture straight in. The only downside is that they are a little pricier than the traditional baking paper method.

How do you prepare tins at your bakery?

We use circles of baking paper which our bakers cut themselves. We don’t grease the sides of the tins.  


What tins should I bake Hummingbird Bakery recipes in?

Our recipes have specific tin sizes in mind so it’s worth using the correct ones for the best result.

If you have a different tin you’d like to bake in, fill two-thirds full and bake at the same temperature as the recipe suggests until a metal skewer can be removed cleanly from the centre.  

Tins we recommend are:

Muffin tin Use a deep, 12 hole muffin tin, rather than a shallow cupcake tin.

Cake tins

A loose-bottomed or springform tin is preferable to help release the sponges easily. We are also big fans of non-stick, although we’d still recommend you line your cake tins with a circle of baking paper.  

The sizes we usually suggest for our layer cake recipes are 20-25cm/8-10in diameter.   It’s handy to have up to four of these in your cupboard so that you can bake layer cakes quicker, but this will also depend on the size of your oven and the number of oven shelves you have available.

Tins for bars and slices

Specialist cake shops have disposable foil tins, which are perfect for tray bakesas they can be sliced easily without scratching the tin base and they also make it easy to remove the bars by peeling away the foil corners.

Otherwise, a baking paper lined rectangular tray will do.

Ring/Bundt tins

We recommend a good quality, hard-wearing non-stick Bundt tin, like one from Nordic Ware.  

We generally recommend a 25cm/10in tin.

Loaf tins A non-stick 900g/2lb loaf tin will work for our loaf cake recipes.

Tart and pie tins

Generally, you can use a 23cm/9in diameter loose-bottomed tart tin for tarts (the loose bottom will help you to remove these delicate pastry creations carefully) or you can use a 23cm/9in diameter pie dish for pies.

As far as materials for your pie dish goes, you can use whatever you like, so long as it is a sloping sided American-style pie dish.

Pie dishes come in all sorts of designs and it is simply a matter of preference.

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