We’ve all been there. We measured and mixed and poured and timed and baked and cooled, and when the time came to tip the cakes out of their pans, the unthinkable happened. It wouldn’t budge, and we were left to remove our carefully baked cake in pieces. Why oh why did my cake stick to the pan?
Kind of sounds like an old country song, doesn’t it?
The truth is, baking is all about preparation. We should have all our ingredients measured and laid out ready to go. We should have our oven preheated. And we should have our cake pans prepped and ready to receive cake batter as soon as it’s mixed.
There’s a familiar instruction in cake recipes that says to “grease and flour” your pan.
If you skip this step, guess what. Your cake is not coming out of the pan without scraping it out no matter how much you tilt and tap and smack and slam it on the counter.
Fortunately, prepping a cake pan properly is not difficult.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Lay clean parchment paper on a flat surface and trace around your cake pan. Cut out that traced circle, and put it to the side. Make one for each cake pan you will be using.
- Using a clean paper towel, liberally, but evenly, butter the inside of your cake pan. Smear it neatly all over the bottom and sides of the pan, and make sure you get it into all the corners.
- Sprinkle a teaspoon or two of all purpose flour into the pan and tap it around, coating all the surface area inside the pan. (if you are making a chocolate cake, use cocoa powder instead of all purpose flour) Make sure to include the sides. When you’re done, turn the pan upside down and tap it on a hard surface. The excess flour will come out and you are left with a beautifully buttered and floured can pan. I generally do this in the sink so the excess flour is easily cleaned up.
- Lastly, put one of those parchment rounds we cut out in the beginning into the bottom of each cake pan. Lay it right over top of the bottom we buttered and floured. This piece of parchment is your insurance.
Some people say the parchment is redundant. That you don’t really need it.
You know what I call it? Insurance.
I like a little insurance when I’m baking cakes. They are time consuming, and depending on what you bake, they can be quite expensive. So why not have the extra insurance of the parchment round. It’s an extra 3 minutes on the front end to pretty much guarantee your cake will practically fall out of its pan when the time comes.
Cool your cakes on a rack for about 10 minutes after they come out of the oven. Run your offset spatula around the edges to make sure the sides are clean and then carefully tip your cakes out of the pan.
I like making 6″ cakes, so I tip them into my hand and then let them finish cooling on a clean tea towel on my cooling rack. This way, the cake cools without taking on the pattern of the rack. It’s nicer for frosting if the surface of your cake is smooth all the way around, and absolutely crucial if you are considering a naked cake.
This setup works for layer cakes as well as Bundt style cakes. I even do something similar for quick breads and cookie bars.
Next week I’ll be sharing my amazing cake recipe for the cakes you see in this post, so make sure you sign up for my newsletter list. There is a signup form at the very end of the post! I don’t want you to miss the rest of this series demonstrating how to make pretty layer cakes at home.
This is designed for you, the home baker. This is an adorable layer cake made in a home kitchen, and it’s something YOU, the home baker, can make in your kitchen. Frankly, I’m fatigued on the over the top cakes all over social media, and wanted to share something for us regular people.
Because not all of us aspire to be professional cake decorators, and that’s ok!
I encourage you to take your time, and make something nice, but for heaven’s sake, don’t lose sleep over getting your frosting perfectly smoothed or setting up a 7 layer monster cake. Regular people really don’t need to do that for Sunday dinner or toddler’s birthday parties. Stop buying into the ridiculous hype, and embrace normalcy. Your anxiety will improve tremendously when you step off the instagram crazy train and embrace the authenticity of a home baked cake.
Because what’s NOT to love about that?
Here’s my video on how I like to prepare my cake pans for baking.
- Bake 6″ layer cakes using cake mix
- How to make a layer cake at home
- My original Cake Mix Hack Recipe
- How to make American Buttercream Frosting
Hi there, I’m Patty.
Sewist, Baker, Maker
I love figuring out new ways to use pom poms, where I can stash more fabric, and I’m always wondering what to bake next…chocolate or lemon? When not dreaming up new things to make (or bake), I love riding my beach cruiser on the Boardwalk, escaping to mid week movie matinees, and planting new things in my tiny but mighty container garden.