About Baking Pans and Sizes


If you are familiar with all the recipes I have shared, you will see that the most common pan size I make for my cake recipes is the 8″ Round.

Almost all of my recipes will divide up evenly amongst 2- 8″ pans

This is the most popular pan size for the home baker, which is why I choose to show that size.

Typically if the recipe yields 2-8″ then you will get about 24 standard sized cupcakes out of that same recipe. Or 1- Half Sheet Pan.
I don’t really follow charts, I have an “EYE” for this type of thing, not to mention in the commercial baking industry we make tons of cake batter at once, so figuring out which pans to use is never the problem. We just use ALL of them!


the basic rule of thumb though for figuring out how much batter for each pan; typically cake batters will rise to about half their original volume, so fill the pans half way.

Don’t get confused with 3″ tall pans and 2″ tall pans.  Just fill half way and you are good!

I find that the 3″ tall pans are best for cheesecakes and not much more. But that is just my opinion.

I feel they confuse people more than anything while allowing folks to over fill the pans with batter causing an over baked cake on the outside and a raw center.

I understand the home dilemma and how important it is to make exactly what you need to accommodate your pan sizes.
I will give you the following chart to reference when you need to figure out if Grandma’s bundt pan will be sufficent for my Butter Cake recipe!

Basically what we need to know is how much VOLUME can the pan hold, and how much batter is in the recipe? This way we can make the switch from pan to pan with ease.

To determine the pan’s dimensions always measure inside edge to inside edge of the pan so that you do not include the thickness of the pan in your measurement.
To measure the depth, place your ruler straight up from the bottom of the pan.
To determine how much batter it will hold (volume), pour pre-measured water by the cupful until the pan is filled to the brim. If your pan holds 4 cups of water, you have a 4-cup capacity baking pan.

However, do no be confused that this is the amount of batter you will pour into your pans! This is simply a measure used to determine how much ‘capacity” a pan has total- and we never fill cake batters to the brim!

So let’s say you are baking a recipe that yields 2- 8″ layers. Most likely the entire recipe will give you about 6 cups of batter. You will divide that batter between 2 -8″ round baking pans.

Because each 8″ pan will hold approximately 3cups of batter per layer, that 6 cup capacity bake pan gives you lots of room for rising with no overflow.

Check the table below for pan substitutions. The ideal pan substitution is one that keeps the same batter depth as in the original recipe; this way you do not have to make any drastic changes in baking times and temperatures. Remember in baking, those are the two most important factors!

Deeper batter in your pan means thicker cake, and more baking time, but with lower baking temperature so you bake it all the way through without burning and drying out the top and edges.

Shallow batter in your pan means thinner cake and you will need less baking time and keep a close watch on the temperature so you don’t burn your thin cake that way too!

REMEMBER: Do no be confused that this is the amount of batter you will pour into your pans! This is simply a measure used to determine how much ‘capacity” a pan has total- to the BRIM! And we never fill cake batters to the brim!

Round Cake Pans:
6 x 2″ 4 cups (948 ml)
8 x 1 1/2″ 4 cups (948 ml)
8 x 2″ 6 cups (1.4 liters)
9 x 1 1/2″ 6 cups (1.4 liters)
9 x 2″8 cups (1.9 liters)
10 x 2″11 cups (2.6 liters)

Bundt Pans:
7 1/2 x 3″ 6 cups (1.4 liters)
9 x 3″9 cups (2.1 liters)
10 x 3 1/2 inches 12 cups (2.8 liters)

Square Pans:
8x 8 x 1 1/2″ 6 cups (1.4 liters)
8 x 8 x 2″ 8 cups (1.9 liters)
9 x 9 x 1 1/2″ 8 cups (1.9 liters)
9 x 9 x 2″ 10 cups (2.4 liters)
10 x 10 x 2″ 12 cups (2.8 liters)

Rectangle Pan: (Yes, the infamous The Glass Baking Dish for Lasagna that we all bake our cakes in at home!)
13 x 9 x 2 inches 14 cups (3.3 liters)

Sheet Pan (this is what I call the Half Sheet Pan Layer)(Also known as Jelly Roll Pan)
12 1/2 x 17 1/2 x 1 12 cups (2.8 liters)


Glass baking dishes, cakes will bake faster. Glass transfers heat much better than metal. It is recommended that you lower the oven temperature 25 degrees F / 14 degrees C when baking in glass

Aluminum– My preference and the preference of most professional bakers. They come in all types, price ranges, gauges and sizes. The high end ones geared towards bakeries are coated with a non-stick glaze. Buying a good sturdy pan will give you many years of service.

SteelUsually cheaper pans. May have a non-stick coating. Usually thin.

Stainless Steel– Very expensive. Thin gauge.

Silicon– Seems to be the latest craze. Most require the support of a baking tray. Food does not brown as well. Can be hard to get out.


  1. Mary says

    I’m making a heart shape cake for a friend for her wedding–can I freeze a small one for their 1st anniversary using the swiss buttercream frosting?

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