Shopping for a shaped cake pan is much different now than it used to be. There was a time when you could find all of the popular ones at a great price by just heading to the grocery store, but that’s changed quite a bit in the last ten years and now finding shaped cake pans is tough and getting them cheap is even tougher! In this post I want to show you some ways that you can find them in your town as well as where to always get the best price for them online.
The flat-out best place to get a cheap shaped cake pan is at a store like Target right after the holiday season. Big-box retailers will buy these to sell for the holidays then try their best to liquidate them once the new year rolls around. You can get incredible deals by going this route. I picked up a Nordic Ware mini dino cake pan (that’s usually around $35) for less than $15, and I saw the Wilton Giant Cupcake for under $20 (it’s usually around $40).
I know that this doesn’t help you at all if you’re reading this in any month other than January, so there are some other options. If you live in a city that has lots of restaurants, there are probably some restaurant supply stores. You probably won’t be able to find a Spongebob cake pan there, but the standard shaped cake pans should all be there for local bakeries to shop for them. You may need to have someone with you that has an account with the store, or do what we did and use a website (like this one!) to get yourself an account.
Buying a shaped cake pan online is a whole different story. They are everywhere, and usually at a great price. I’ve learned that it’s almost always cheaper to not buy directly from the manufacturer (Wilton or Nordic Ware) since they’ll charge full price and won’t have any good shipping deals.
Instead, I buy all of my cake pans online from Amazon or eBay. I use Amazon when I need more than one or other stuff since they usually have shipping deals (free is me!) when you reach a certain dollar amount. eBay is the best choice when all I need is the cake pan, or if the pan I’m looking for is retired. They will almost always have the lowest price, but compare between the both to see.
To see all of Amazon’s shaped cake pans, click here.
Here are the current listings for shaped cake pans on eBay. Use the arrows to scroll through the list, or use the search bar at the top to track down the exact pan that you’re looking for.
Click on any of the pictures below for more information. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, check out the entire collection here.
There are quite a few things to consider when buying a shaped cake pan. It might seem like you just buy one, take it home and bake, but there are some other things you need to think about first. Most importantly, the cake has to match the theme of what you’re baking it for. Also, your skill level must be in line with the cake. There aren’t a lot of things that are more frustrating than staring at a cake that you’re having trouble finishing!
Where’s The Party?
Choosing a shaped cake pan for some types of parties is extremely easy, you match the cake to the character that the kid is in love with. Other situations aren’t so easy.
This is especially true with grown-up parties. If you’re hosting a bachelorette party, your first thought is to probably find an “anatomical” cake pan that would be a hit with the ladies, but consider where the party is going to be and if there will be other people around to make sure that’s appropriate. I’ve actually been at a party where there was a penis shaped cake pan and they were asked to get rid of the cake by the manager of the bar! It’s pretty embarrassing! Obviously, not everywhere is going to be that conservative, just know your audience.
Also, consider how much cake you’re going to need. If one cake is not going to be enough, don’t waste your time decorating two cakes! Find a rectangular cake pan that will fit your shaped cake on top of it, smooth icing onto the square cake, and put your shaped cake on top. Secure them together with straws, but be sure to put the straws in before the top cake is decorated. This makes for a huge cake that also looks really professional.
Is This Your First Time?
Poorly decorated cakes are embarrassing. The worst thing is that no one will tell you that it doesn’t look right! Finding a shaped cake pan that matches your skill level is extremely important. If the cake is way too hard to decorate, you’ll become very frustrated and not happy with the final outcome.
Cartoon character shaped cakes are a good place to start. They have large areas that are the same color and not a lot of detail. Spongebob is just a big yellow block with eyes and pants! Gaining confidence with these easier cakes will help you out a lot down the road.
If you’re new to icing cakes, take a piece of cardboard or thick paper, draw out a rough sketch of some of the trickier parts of your cake, and ice those with the bag. This is a great way to learn how to use icing bags and what each tip does, all without risking the cake!
Remember what your audience is like and find a shaped cake pan that matches your skill to get the best results from your cake. It’s not hard once you get the hang of it, and you’ll have a new skill that you can use the rest of your life!