If the pan or mold is the wrong size. Often a recipe will call for a mold or a pan size you do not have. The following suggestions will help you solve this problem.
If the recipe calls for a 3-cup mold or for a 2-quart casserole, you can use any other container of another shape as long as it will hold the same volume. To determine the volume, fill the pan with water, using a standard 8-ounce measuring cup. As an example, a pan holding 4 cups of water will be equivalent to a 1-quart casserole.
If a baking recipe specifies a pan 13 x 9 x 2 inches, the surface area is important and not the shape. Measure the width and length of the pan you have available and multiply these two figures to determine the area in square inches. Do the same for the measurements given in the recipe. A pan 13 x 9 inches will have a surface area of 117 square inches. A pan 12 x 10 inches may look quite different, but its surface area is almost the same-120 square inches. If you have only small pans, use two or more to get the same surface area. Determining the specified 2-inch depth is not as important; the pan can be deeper, but not shallower. It is the surface area that counts.
Here is still another way to solve the problem. Cake batters should never fill a pan more than two thirds full. If you do not have a pan large enough to hold all the batter at this level, make cupcakes with the remainder.
When the recipe calls for a 9- or 10-inch tube pan, bake the batter in a flat pan 13 x 9 x 2 inches. If you do not know the size of your pie pan, measure from the inside edge to the opposite side with a ruler. For depth, measure perpendicularly, not along the sloping sides. The volume of a pie pan or any other baking pan can be measured by filling with water. A 9-inch pie pan 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep holds about 1 quart (4 cups) of filling; an 8-inch pie pan, about 3 cups.
Whenever a recipe calls for a casserole with a cover, use any heavy baking pan that is the right size and make a cover of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
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