A pound cake pan traditionally is either a rectangular loaf pan or a tube or Bundt® pan. Some common features to look for when choosing the best pound cake pan are the weight of the pan, which should not be overly light in most cases, and handles on the side so it can easily be taken in and out of the oven. The material from which the pan is made also can make a difference, with some pans having a non-stick coating and others being made from unique materials such as flexible silicon. Pound cake is a versatile type of cake and choosing the best baking pan for one really involves knowing how the final cake will be served, because some pans — such as Bundt® pans — usually are difficult to use for making layered cakes, while a thin sheet pan might be perfect for the same situation.
Choosing the best pound cake pan starts with knowing how the final cake will be assembled. Most often, a loaf pan is used to present the cake without any toppings. A Bundt® or tube pan makes a pound cake with a shape that is suited to glazing or covering in other toppings. Some pans have multiple wells so several single-serving pound cake loaves can be made at the same time. For a layered cake, a sheet pan can be used to make layers separately, or a tube pan can provide a single cake that can be easily cut into layers.
Whatever the shape of the pound cake pan, the material from which it is made can make some difference in how it bakes. Plain aluminum pans are inexpensive and readily available, but they need to be very well greased before being used. Aluminum pans that have a non-stick or anodized surface will help the cake release when it finishes cooking but might have a shorter lifespan than an uncoated pan. Silicon pans — made from a rubbery, flexible material — provide excellent non-stick and heat-distribution qualities, but they can be expensive and can only be used a certain number of times before having to be replaced. It is possible to use a disposable pound cake pan, but it requires special attention, because the outside of the cake can easily burn if care is not taken.
Some of the features that can help make it easier to use a good pound cake pan are handles, sturdy walls and, sometimes, a removable bottom. Pans that have basic handles or tabs on the sides or rim are much easier to move around and to flip over when unmolding the cake. A pound cake pan that is made with sturdy but not overly thick walls will help to distribute the heat around the cake while baking, although walls that are too thick can retain too much heat and brown the outside of the pound cake too quickly. With tube pans, a removable bottom can help to release a large, dense cake, especially when the bottom is coated in a non-stick material.