Can You Bake a Cake In a Glass Pan?

Most of the glass that we use today for kitchenware or for baking is made by a 19th-century process.

It was invented by German scientist Otto Schott as a process to make glass for industrial and scientific applications.

However, today, that same industrial process has been tweaked and modified, which is then used to make kitchenware.

This includes all sorts of glass pans and pots which can stand the thermal shock and extreme heat.

Hence, they’re made for baking and for cooking dishes, which would’ve otherwise required metal or wooden pans. Hence, there are glass pans today that you can bake cakes with.

Can You Bake In a Glass Pan?

Today you can find tempered glass that is sold for baking and cooking in stores around the world.

Some cooks still wonder about the strength and the thermal stability of that glass kitchenware.

That caution isn’t unwarranted though since glass does have a breaking point. However, you should know that for the range of a normal oven or stove, glass pans are fine.

The reason that most people still prefer metal pans is because the metal is designed to withstand heat.

Metals pans can reflect heat from the cake to produce a light brown crust as well. Hence, they’re more suited to creating a certain type of cake that many would enjoy.

The glass looks great in comparison and can retain heat for longer as well as heat faster.

It’s also convenient since you don’t have to worry about it rusting or cleaning it with salt instead of soap.

If you’re wondering what you can use between glass and metal, the answer is either.

By practicing good kitchen sense as you do with your other appliances and cooking ware, you will come out unscathed.

The entire point, after all, is to improve your chances of not being hurt or not ruining your cake.

How Hot Can Glass Pans Get Before Breaking?

As a rule of thumb, you should know that glass pans can withstand about 350-400F of heat before they shatter.

However, it depends on the kind of materials the glass contains when it comes to its structural integrity.

You should also know that the range of temperatures that the pan can withstand is different from thermal shock.

Thermal shock is the immediate transition to a much hotter or colder temperature.

This can cause the structural integrity of any material to falter and thus, shatter. So make sure that you never subject your glass pans to that.

Pyrex Glass

Pyrex Glass, which is used for anything from industrial to cooking to scientific equipment, shatters at 500 C (932 F).

That’s much hotter than what you would cook at (450 F) or what your oven is capable of generating.

How to Bake a Cake in a Glass Pan?

The first thing you need to do is look at the instructions for your glass cookware or bakeware. More than likely the manufacture will have given you guidelines on how to use the glass pan.

There will be a warning that will show you the extremities that the pan can handle.

Either that or the box the pan came in will list the kind of material it is made of. Either way, you can look up the guidelines for handling that material online.

Certain instructions you should watch out for include the maximum temperature it can withstand.

For most glass pans, they can withstand 450-500F. Most cakes can bake at about 400-450F so you needn’t worry about that.

You should, however, take nothing for granted. Glass pans, like anything else, lose their structural integrity with prolonged exposure to heat from the oven.

If the instructions aren’t clear, you can call or email the manufacturer for some additional guidance.

Precautionary Measures

  • Make sure that you reduce the temperature from your cake recipe by 25 F in your oven. This will barely make a difference in how your cake turns out. However, it may make a world of difference to your glass pan. It may also increase the shelf life of the glass pan as well.
    The lower temperature will also counteract the glass’ effect on cakes that causes them to brown and bake faster. This is to mainly improve the taste and texture of the cake when it’s finally ready.
  • The cake should be removed from the oven and placed on the cooling rack once it’s done. You could also use a warming pad or a trivet. Never place the glass pan on a damp towel or a cool surface. This subjects it to an abrupt temperature change. This is also known as thermal shock. While most modern glass bakeware is insulated from this kind of shock; there’s no need to test its ability.

Baking the Cake

Make sure that you place the glass dish at the center of the oven. Most ovens usually need about 10 and 15 minutes to reach the desired temperature, so wait until you do this.

When the heat is evenly distributed around the oven, then place the glass dish inside.

Make sure to use mittens or insulated gloves when handling the glass. This will ensure that your hands don’t burn or get cut in case the glass breaks.

Don’t use a wet towel, however. That may result in the glass shattering.

Safety Tips for Glass Pans and Other Bakeware

  • If you’re buying glassware from either Europe or the US, choose the former. A study conducted by Consumer Reports showed that a 12-month investigation yielded results in favor of European glass bakeware manufacturers.
    The study showed that the Consumer Protection Safety Commission concluded that US glassware would shatter more often. This was determined under certain conditions of course.
  • New bakeware made of glass comes with instructions for careful use and care. This obviously varies with brands, however, we discard the label too often and it’s forgotten. However, if one bakeware works for you, you should stick with it.
  • Make sure that you don’t put glassware in very extreme temperature conditions too often. This damages their structural integrity and reduces their shelf life.
  • Make sure that you’re not transferring the glassware between hugely varying temperature environments. This will subject it to thermal shock and it may shatter.
  • Don’t ever add liquid to hot glassware.
  • Don’t place hot bakeware on cold or wet surfaces or a countertop or a stovetop. Glass can easily slip off such surfaces and shatter. Instead, use a towel or cutting board, or cooling rack to reduce the coefficient of friction and keep it sturdy.
  • Don’t use the glass bakeware on a stovetop or under a broiler or inside a toaster oven.
  • You should also allow pans to cool completely before you immerse them in water. Otherwise, they may shatter as you’re washing or scrubbing them.
  • Don’t scratch or poke or bump the glass with utensils otherwise, you can damage it.
  • The oven should be preheated before you add the glass bakeware. Heating the oven gradually as the glass sits inside will damage its shelf life.
  • Don’t ever bang the glass against hard surfaces, specifically when it’s hot. This will greatly reduce the structural integrity of the glass pan. It may shatter right in your hands.

Alternatives to Glass Pans for Baking

If you’re a novice at baking, you may not have everything you need. That, or you may not even know where to get a glass pan.

Either way, there are a lot of alternatives to glass pans that you can use for this.

  • You should always select a slightly larger pan than what is required for the recipe. When baking a cake, know that anything can happen with regards to volume. Depending on how long you heat the pan or how much you put into the pan, the cake can balloon. Baking time can also vary so make sure that you check for signs while baking.
Recipe calls for this pan: This pan can be used:
8 x 4-inch, loaf 8-inch, round
9-inch, round 8-inch, square
8-inch, square 9-inch, round
9-inch, square 20 – 24 muffin cups
9 x 5-inch, loaf 16 – 20 muffin cups
11 x 7-inch, rectangle 9 x 5-inch, loaf
Two 9 x 5-inch loaf 13 x 9-inch, rectangle
10-inch Bundt pan Two 9-inch, round
  • You can use a dark metal baking pan in the place of a glass bakeware pan. This will retain the heat better than the light metal pan. It will also heat up better and you can be done minutes before.

Metal Pans

Metal pans are the default for use when it comes to baking a cake or muffins. However, there’s more than tradition at work here.

Above, it’s mentioned that metal pans can cause the browning of cakes on the surface much better than glass pans.

It’s also mentioned that you can heat metal pans faster than you can glass pans. There’s also less chance of metals shattering than there is of glass when it heats up.

However, there are disadvantages to metal pans as well. For one, metal is harder to stop the cake from sticking to it.

That probably is nonexistent when it comes to glass if you oil it properly.

Also, metal rusts over time, something that glass doesn’t do. There needs to be proper and regular cleaning of metal, especially with a wire brush, in order to prevent rust.

Baking a cake in a glass pan is commonplace in most homes today. However, taking these precautions is much more important to your own safety.

Hence, be wary of how you cook with glass pans and how you protect yourself against injury.

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