Let me share my thoughts on cake pans. Do you need to own 500 of them? The short answer is no. That being said, I do have my fair share squirled away in my cabinets. Many of them I rarely use and probably should have saved that money for something else. The pans I use the most are my round pans and my favorite sheet pan.
The round pans I have in several sizes ranging from 5" to 14". The graduated sets are exactly what you need to make tiered cakes. You can get similar sets in square, petal, hexagon, etc. I have only used the largest pan once when I made a 4 tiered wedding cake. Most often I use the 5" and 8" or the 6" and 9". These two combinations make a great size for birthday or baby shower cakes. Someday I want to get a set of square pans. What shape you choose really depends on what you think looks great. I started with round because that is the most common.
My favorite sheet pan is an 11" X 15" aluminum pan. I also have the standard 9" X 13" pan that lives in most kitchens. I use these, of course, for making sheet cakes. When I first started decorating I made these more often. Now I use the sheet pans for making my 3-D cakes. I'll post more on making those in the future.
I have learned that not all pans are created equal. If you plan to make traditional cakes with beautiful, straight, smooth sides then get a pan that has straight sides. It is not a must, but it will just save you time. I have a nesting set of two 9" pans that I use from time to time and they work. However, because they nest, their sides are not straight. It is much easier to make the frosting straight on the sides if the cake starts out that way.
If you happen to have nesting pans or any pans with angled sides, don't throw them away. I still use mine, it just takes a little bit longer to get the sides looking pretty. My favorite brand I've used so far is Magic Line. The pans are very sturdy and have nice straight sides. They run a little higher than some of the other brands, but these babies should last forever. You can check out some of the pans that Magic Line offers in the link below.
Check out the new poetry corner for another contribution by A. Poet.