Stock your shelves with these basic tools.
Classic Southern Pound Cake
Credit: Skyler Burt; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Karen Rankin

Veteran bakers know that the right tools are crucial for recipes' outcomes. Just like an electric stand mixer produces well-beaten batter, the proper pan helps make a perfect cake. Different pans should be used for baking different kinds of cakes—layer cakes, cheesecakes, pound cakes, and poke cakes all require specific types of pans. We suggest investing in three staples: a Budnt pan, a springform pan, and a sheet pan. These kitchen essentials are versatile and cover your basic cake-baking bases. You'll want to have them on hand when last-minute birthday parties or family gatherings pop up.

Bundt Pan

Bundt cakes are key recipes in Southern bakers' repertoires. Buy a non-stick, 15-cup pan to prepare these essential desserts. A great thing about Bundt pans is that they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, so bakers can get really creative with their presentation. Hand-washing this pan can lengthen its lifespan, and scrubbing it a toothbrush can help remove any stuck-on grime. Whip your trusty Bundt pan out for baking Classic Southern Pound Cake or a decadent Reese's Cake.

Springform Pan

Keep a springform pan in your pantry for making the delicious desserts like cheesecakes. This handy baking tool has removable sides and bottoms, ensuring perfect edges for a pretty presentation. This versatile pan can also be used for baking savory dishes such as quiches, pizzas, or even pastas. While some aluminum and stainless steel pans can be cleaned in the dishwasher, check with the manufacturer before cleaning or hand-wash to be safe.

WATCH: Do You Really Need to Grease and Flour Your Cake Pan

Sheet Pan

What can't be baked on a sheet pan? This go-to tool is a staple in home cooks pantries because of how versatile it is. A 9- by 13-inch pan can be used to make sweet sheet cakes or savory breakfast dishes. Over time, baked-on gunk and grime can seriously add up on its surface. To clean this hardworking tool, soak the sheet pan in a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide overnight, and wipe it off clean the next day.