Whether you are an avid baker or not, there is nothing worse than going to the trouble of making your own, only to find that your lovely cake has stuck to the sides of the tin and you have to use a pallet knife to release it - and then do a balancing act trying to get a plate over the top and then tipping it upside down in the vain hope that it might just pop out. One slip and your hard work ends up on the floor. Sound familiar?
Add to this, loose-based bakeware is notorious for allowing the mixture to leak out around the base itself, meaning you either have to think ahead and place on a baking tray, line the tin or worse still, risk it and then have to clean up the oven with burnt on cake mix welded to it. Too much like hard work!
Thankfully, along has come Wham® Products with their patented PushPan® technology range of bakeware - the only watertight and leak-proof loose-based fast release metal bakeware on the market. Simply position your cake on a tall tin or similar, push the outer part of the tin downward, leaving your cake on the base and ready to serve!! The mantra is "position, push, serve" - bakers out there, amateur or professional - we are saved!
On receiving my testing samples, the first thing which impressed me was the excellent packaging, clearly spelling out exactly what you can expect from this innovative bakeware. Remember that these products can be used to cook many things - cakes, cheesecakes, desserts, flans, quiches - the list goes on. So how does PushPan® work and why am I getting so excited about a cake pan? Read on..............
Into my testing lab I go and the first thing I do before I even start cooking is to have a good look at the loose bottom. The high quality silicone seal is integrated into the loose bottom and it is this clever patented gasket that does the job of making the pan watertight.
Now to test the watertight and leak-proof claims. Filling one of the tins with water, I placed it on a piece of kitchen towel. After 10 minutes there was absolutely no signs of liquid and the paper was completely dry. To double check, I left the same tin filled with water overnight and the result was the same - just dry paper towel. So if water can't get through, then it is pretty impossible for anything thicker, such as a cake mix, to seep out. This is a real boon if you are making a dish which requires a water bath, for example crème brulee, as you do not have to worry that a) your custard will leak out or b) the water will get in. I was suitably impressed by this ingenuity.
Before I go any further, I should point out that there are two versions of the PushPan®, the first being silver anodised aluminium and the second choice a high quality Whitford non-stick heavy gauge carbon steel. Both are equally good in terms of performance, the only differences are how to care for it.
Take the first option, the silver anodised version. Aluminium is naturally a soft metal but put it through a manufacturing process that changes its' molecular structure and the once soft material becomes stronger than stainless steel, yet it still retains it's superb heat distribution. This is so important, particularly in baking as hot spots and burnt bottoms are something us bakers all dread! The great thing about anodised is that the non-stick properties are "built in" so there is no non-stick to peel, blister or wear off. You can even use metal utensils on the surface without fear of damaging it and there is no doubt that this anodised range will last a lifetime if treated well (dishwashing is not recommended as it will cause discolouration).
If you prefer a more traditional type of non-stick, you can be confident of the excellent quality of the renowned Whitford coating which will give many years of service. In terms of performance, it does everything that the anodised does though it just needs a little care in the way you treat it. Best to use only plastic or silicone tools as if the surface gets scratched, the non-stick surface will weaken so is best avoided. Although it is dishwasher safe, I would always wash my bakeware in the sink as it will prolong its overall life.
All items are temperature resistant to 230°C, with the exception of the aluminium 12 cup cavity moulds which due to them having fully encapsulated silicone bases, should only be used up to 200°C. Many of you reading this may already be using a halogen as well as a conventional oven and it is good news that much of the range is round and will fit easily into most halogens and airfryers with excellent results. If you want to put your bakeware into the freezer, go ahead as it is freezer-safe and a real asset if you want to prepare dishes in advance.
From experience, I would recommend that before the very first use that you wash and dry the pan and with a piece of kitchen roll, coat the inside and base with a small amount of cooking oil. This primes the surface and will enhance the pan's natural non-stick, resulting in a flawless performance. Then after the first bake, just wash as normal.
Now at last, onto some cooking, the best way to see if these products really work. Firstly, using the anodised version, I made a deep Lemon Cheesecake with biscuit base. Not only did it slide out of the tin perfectly without a blemish when I did the "position, push, serve" moves, it had cooked perfectly throughout, light and fluffy, again proving the excellent heat distribution.
As halogen ovens are becoming more and more popular, I thought it was important to not only test the PushPan® in a conventional oven but also in a halogen so my ultimate test was to make a cheese soufflé, not the easiest of things to make at the best of times. The problem I have always found is finding a piece of bakeware that will just release my soufflé without sticking but I had no need to doubt, watching as my masterpiece puffed up and turned golden brown. I then simply nudged the base loose very gently and out it came leaving not a bit of residue behind.
Finally the big test - a traditional fruit cake made in the anodised deep 12" cake tin - no liner used, not a piece of greaseproof paper in sight. Result? A delicious fruit cake, clean release, once more using the "position, push, serve" move (by now I had this off to a tee, very slick movements) and no sticking, cooked perfectly within and to the sides and bottom.
PushPan® ranges come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, deep or shallow (3" or 1.5"). Choose from a basic cake tin to a 12 Cup PushPan® there is one for every job - I recommend that you take a few minutes to take a look at the Pushpan PDF brochure to discover just what is available and start to build your own collection of this fabulous range which really is in a league of its own.
I give 10 out of 10 to the PushPan®. It is already a firm favourite in our kitchen.
For more information regarding stockists, please go to the website www.pushpan.com or www.whamproducts.co.uk.