Cake molds are cake pans in fun or functional shapes, used to make specialty cakes. Cake molds are especially popular for kids' birthday cakes or for various holidays.
You might see cake molds referred to as cake forms or cake shapes. They are designed to make it easier to bake and decorate a complex cake without having to do all of the shaping and designing yourself. Generally, a cake mold is made out of metal or silicone. Silicone can be helpful because it bends more easily, making it easier to remove the cake from the pan without damaging it.
A cake mold might also refer to a cake pan used for a specific purpose, such as a bundt cake pan, a muffin pan or a loaf pan. They are generally fairly inexpensive and last a long time. There are virtually limitless possibilities for cake molds. You might buy a cake in the shape of a castle for a princess birthday party, or in the shape of a football for a sports enthusiast. Animal shapes are fun to make and decorate, and the kids can help. For the holidays, you might make a pine tree-shaped cake, or for graduation, a cake in the shape of a graduation cap. There are shapes available for a new baby, for Halloween, or for popular cartoon characters.
It can be difficult to remove a cake from a cake mold without damaging it, especially if it has a lot if small details. Even if the pan is non-stick, which most are, you should still make sure to grease the pan well before baking. Allowing the cake to cool fully will also aid in the process. When you are ready to remove the cake, place a plate underneath the pan and flip it over so the cake can slide out neatly onto the plate. Then, be sure to let the cake cool completely before frosting it.
You can use cake molds with cake mixes, such as those found in the grocery store, or with homemade cake -- it makes no difference. Frosting a specialty cake can often be more difficult than making the cake, as you will probably need various colors of frosting to create any details. If you aren't too concerned with the perfection of the cake, kids can have a lot of fun helping to decorate and frost the cake.