Who's up for a little weekend baking?
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Lemon-Orange Buttercream Frosting
Credit: Jennifer Davick

As an aspiring baker, one of the questions I always ask bakery owners and pastry artists is what makes a good cake. When it comes to even cake rounds; layers of buttercream; and clean, sharp angles – the answers vary. One local baker told me to make sure that all of my ingredients (even milk!) are at room temperature before making cake rounds so that they rise identically. Another told me to freeze my rounds before frosting so that the cake layers stay together more firmly when adding my buttercream. And, as it turns out, clean cake angles on the finished product just takes practice (and, occasionally, a damp paper towel).

One thing that seems to be consistent among bakers, however, is the pan that they use. They are loyal to what they know works – meaning, they're not usually going out and testing new rounds when they've got ones that have yielded 1000 perfect layers in their cabinets. I, on the other hand, am just starting to build up my collection of baking gear. When shopping for cake rounds, one pan seemed to stand out above the rest – and, as it turns out, this pan's been around for quite some time.

Meet the Chicago Metallic Round Cake Pan. At just $11.99, this baking tool hails from Chicago's South Side, as the name suggests, and comes from a background of 100 years in the baking business–the company started all the way back in 1898. Chicago Metallic prides itself in durability and reliability, selling thousands of round cake pans every year – so it's no wonder that this pan has five stars on Amazon.

Amazon Chicago Metallic Round Cake Pan
Credit: Chicago Metallic/Amazon.com

One of the secrets to picking out a great cake pan is the coating. You don't want a chunk of your cake layer to end up stuck to the bottom of the pan (which, has happened to me many, many times). So, the nonstick coating on this Chicago Metallic Round Cake Pan really stuck out. According to the brand, the coated bakeware uses "specially formulated coatings that are engineered to provide release to the stickiest and most adhesive foods–without affecting cook times." When you're trying to adjust a recipe for a glass, shiny metal, or dark nonstick pan, this perk of the Chicago Metallic pan is key.

WATCH: How To Make Perfectly Flat Cake Layers

As any Southern baker knows, consistency is necessary for beautiful cake layers. One awesome perk to choosing this round cake pan? It's backed by a lifetime warranty. According to the company, "for the life of the item, if there's any problem with materials or workmanship under normal use, we'll send a replacement–free of charge." And, although the pans don't completely nest within one another, they do stack. So, why not try out three rounds and finally get around to baking that Hummingbird Cake?

As one Amazon reviewer said succinctly: "Does the job. It's non-stick and easy to clean. Also very light-weight. I'm happy with this."