Who Says You Have to Bake a Cake in a CAKE Pan?
Baking doesn’t always have to be done in specially designated, expensive pieces of bake-ware. For instance, cakes can be baked in stainless steel or Pyrex® bowls (well, any oven safe bowl). This approach forms a domed shape that lends well to making all sorts of themed and unique cakes:
CAPS AND HATS, and so on.
To bake in a mixing bowl, just be sure to lower the oven temperature from 350°F to 325°F. You’ll also need to extend the baking time so the middle gets thoroughly cooked. My experimenting has shown me an extra 10 to 15 minutes in my oven turns out a perfect domed cake.
Before baking, it’s important to grease the bowl thoroughly to ensure nothing sticks to the sides. I prefer butter over shortening (who wants any more trans fats in their diet?) for the bowl prep. And while most cookbooks advise coating the fat with flour, coating in sugar turns out a tastier and prettier end product. You’ll find a sugar-encrusted, rather than a flour-encrusted shell on a cake is a lot easier to ice, as well.
Since the cake is so deep, a toothpick isn’t too effective for testing for doneness. Use a wooden or metal skewer instead. Lightly push it into the center of the cake, and if the cake is done, as with the toothpick, the skewer will come out clean. (And notice in the picture, how the crust of the cake looks firm and shiny. That’s because the bowl was dusting in sugar rather than flour.)
Be sure to let your baked cake cool thoroughly before removing it from the bowl. If you’ve greased and sugared your bowl really well, it should slip right out onto your serving plate.
Give this cake-baking idea a try. You’ll appreciate how this technique will save you time and effort—there’s no carving your shape. And one other idea: oven-safe cereal bowls would also work if you’re wanting smaller domes. Let your creativity take over with this idea.
Besides cakes, mixing bowls work well for baking vegetables. They can be baked to a golden brown, right in the well-buttered bowl.
Breads also do well when baked in a mixing bowl. Again, though, be sure to extend your baking time by 10 minutes or so.
Finally, one day I discovered (quite by accident, actually) that I could bake my meatloaf in a mixing bowl. All my loaf pans were tied up in bread-baking, and my cast iron skillet had gone camping with my husband, so in desperation I turned to a medium sized oven-safe bowl, and it worked just fine. Great cooks are also inventive cooks, so next time you bake a cake, remember: nobody says you have to bake a cake in a CAKE pan!
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