Creating a cake from scratch takes a lot of time, effort and money. And the last thing you want is for that amazing homemade cake to stick to the homemade cake and stick to the cake pan when it comes out of the oven. There are several ways to prevent a cake from sticking once baked, but few are as foolproof as adding a layer of parchment paper to the pan before baking.
Parchment alone can be difficult to fit perfectly inside a can. If you tear off a long strip of parchment paper, you’ll end up with sides that are too long and a wrinkled bottom (which will leave an imprint on the baked cake). The best way to effectively line a pan with parchment paper is to cut out a circle the same size as the bottom of the pan, creating perfectly sized rounds of parchment, which is easier than it sounds if this is done correctly.
Read more: Top Tips for Choosing Butter When Baking
How to Cut a Circle of Parchment
A perfectly sized round of parchment requires only a pair of scissors and some simple craft skills. Start by tearing off a piece of parchment paper slightly larger than your cake pan. Next, fold the paper into a rectangle and then again into a square. Once you have a small square, fold that piece into a triangle moving from left to right, then fold that triangle into a smaller triangle until you have a cone-shaped piece.
Once you have a small triangle (or cone), place the tip of the triangle in the center of the cake pan and trim the excess paper hanging over the edge with scissors. You should have a perfect sized circle that you can place in a greased cake pan; use cooking spray to quickly adhere the parchment paper to the pan. (Alton Brown has an excellent illustration of how to cut out parchment circles.)
If you have a little extra time, cutting a stack of rounds to fit the pans you use most is a great way to prepare for any upcoming baking project.
Other Ways to Grease a Cake Pan
Parchment paper rounds are the best way to prevent cake from sticking to any pan, but there are other methods you can use if you don’t have parchment paper. Grease a pan with butter then coat it with flour is one way to prevent a cake from sticking (move the pan to distribute the flour evenly until the bottom and sides are covered with the flour and butter mixture ).
You can also use cooking spray to prevent a cake from sticking, although this may be trial and error, depending on the brand of spray used. Regardless of the method (including parchment), you’ll want to carefully run a butter knife around the sides of the baked cake before attempting to invert the pan – just to be sure nothing will stick. It’s also important to remember to let cakes cool slightly before removing them from a cake pan (a warm cake is more likely to stick).
Don’t spend extra money on pre-cut parchment paper rounds unless you plan to use the same size cake pans for every baking adventure. It’s easy to cut a circle out of a larger piece of parchment and purchase a larger roll of paper. Finally, note that this method won’t work on a Bundt pan with ridges instead of a flat bottom, but there is another trick to ensure Bundt cakes turn out great: simply grease the pan with shortening .