One way to bake a pie in a cake pan is to bake a pie inside a cake. You end up with a pake — soft, spongy cake surrounding a crusted fruit dessert. If you only want to make the pie, a cake pan is still an option. The best types of pies to bake in a cake pan are those that have thick, juicy fillings — such as deep-dish apple pies or peach versions.
A pie pan usually refers to a round, slope-sided baking dish. It’s relatively shallow when compared to a cake pan and often has a fluted rim to accommodate the pie crust. Pyrex glass pans are considered the best by many cooks because they heat evenly, but you can also use pie pans made of fired clay, tin, black steel and disposable aluminum. Standard pie pan size is 9 inches by 1 1/4 inches, but variations exist. Deep-dish pie pans measure 1 1/2 or 2 inches deep.
Cake pans are typically made of aluminum, not glass. They usually measure 8 to 9 inches in diameter as well. However, cake pans are noticeably deeper than traditional pie pans — ranging from 1 1/2 to 3 inches when measured from the inside base to the top of the rim. The round 8-inch size cake pans work best for baking pies because it best accommodates the volume of most pie recipes. An 8-inch spring form pan also works.
Choose an appropriate recipe for your cake-pan pie. Any recipe that specifies a deep-dish pie pan, such as this pumpkin meringue option, works.
Make the crust according to the recipe. A rolled, flaky pie crust, or a graham cracker or cookie crumb crust are all convertible to baking in a cake pan.
If you are using a pie crust dough, roll it out to about 12 to 13 inches in diameter. Place it in the 8-inch cake pan and press into the seams. Crimp the edges decoratively. If you make a cookie crumb crust, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the cake pan.
For pie crust dough, chill the lined pan for 20 minutes or longer. Most pie recipes call for blind baking the crust to ensure it comes out flaky and flat, rather than soggy or puffed. Blind bake when using a cake pan by lining the dough-lined pan with parchment paper and filling with pie weights or dry beans for the time specified in the recipe. Cookie-crumb crusts don’t need to be blind baked.
Make the pie filling and place it in the pie crust. Bake for the amount of time specified in the recipe. Check the pie and, if the filling isn’t quite set, in the case of custard pies, or bubbling hot, as in fruit pies, bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer.
If the edges of the crust are browning too quickly, crimp foil around them to prevent them from burning.
Allow the pie to cool to room temperature or refrigerate, if called for in the recipe. Cut into slices and serve. Getting the slices out may be unwieldy, especially for fruit-filled pies, because of the depth of the pie and the shape of the pan.
Make a deep-dish pie with a top as well as a bottom layer crust in a cake pan. Cut slashes in the top layer to allow steam to escape as the pie bakes.