Luckily, frosting can hide many flaws. But most of us would rather not have to put Humpty Dumpty back together if we can avoid it.
Cakes are full of ingredients that tend to stick — especially sugars and proteins. During baking, these compounds, individually and collectively, undergo chemical changes that make them more likely to bond to the pan. Older pans with scratches or other surface damage present an even greater opportunity for sticking, as do pans with cracks or intricate patterns, such as diamonds. B. Bundts.
Luckily, with the right preparation, you can ensure your next cake comes out in one piece. First, here are the protective layers that help guarantee success.
Whether or not your cake pan is non-stick, you will almost always want to grease your pan (see below for some exceptions). Whatever you use, make sure you apply an even coating that isn’t excessive.
A go-to for many bakers is plant-based shortening (what you’ll find at the store is trans-fat-free aside from the trace amounts permitted by law). “Shortening has no flavor, it’s inexpensive, it doesn’t brown or burn, and it’s always spreadable,” writes cookbook author Molly Stevens in Fine Cooking. “Butter imparts a sweet, rich flavor, but because it can brown or burn at a relatively low temperature, it makes a darker crust with a toasty flavor than shortening. In an article on Bundt cakes, PJ Hamel of King Arthur Baking notes that “milk solids in butter can act like glue, causing the cake batter to stick to the pan.”
Oil isn’t for everyone either, as it can also burn and create off-flavors. If too much is applied, it can pool at the bottom of the pan.
Non-stick cooking spray like Pam is often not recommended by manufacturers, especially in the case of non-stick cookware, as a sticky build-up can form over time. Cookbook author Stella Parks confesses to Serious Eats that she used Pam for her Bundt, with a few key steps: wiping away excess spray on the rim of the pan with a damp towel before baking, and then soaking the pan in hot, soapy water after turning it cake before washing it completely a few minutes later.
For butter, I cut a tablespoon off the stick, let it sit on the counter briefly, then rub it around the pan, the warmth of my hands softening it for easier application. You can apply almost melted butter with a pastry brush, a strategy that also works well with oil.
One exception: Don’t grease pans for mousse cakes or cakes like Angel Food and Chiffon that rely entirely or primarily on whipped egg whites for leavening. Fat can drain that foam, Shirley O. Corriher says in CookWise, though she notes that génoise is a type of sponge cake that should still use a greased and floured pan.
As Stevens explains, “flour, when dusted over a greased pan, creates a smooth, thin, sealed crust on baked goods that helps them slide out of the pan without resistance.” sides of a pan that has just been greased are more likely to slide down than climb up. For chocolate cakes, you can use cocoa powder, which prevents white or gray streaks from spoiling the dark color.
To flour a pan after greasing, add a tablespoon or two of flour and twist, turn, and pat the pan to get an even coverage. Pat excess flour over the compost or trash, or over a bowl or sheet of wax or parchment paper to reuse on another can. You definitely don’t want lumps of flour or cocoa, which is one reason Parks also recommends sifting the coating into the pan, e.g. B. from a fine-mesh sieve.
Not everyone likes flour. King Arthur’s Hamel emphasizes its potential for gunk, preferring finely ground nut flour or granulated sugar instead. If using sugar, be sure to use an adequate amount and remove the cake before it has completely cooled. “When warm, sugar is still semi-liquid, and your sugar-covered cake should slide right out of the pan,” says Hamel. Cook’s Illustrated recommends topping a bundt with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, then 1/3 cup sugar.
You can achieve the convenience of fat and flour in baking spray with flour, e.g. B. Baker’s Joy or Pam Baking. You can also make your own coating. In her Lemon Bundt Cake for The Post, cookbook author Cathy Barrow recommends a paste made with equal parts flour and shortening. Stevens offers a variant with equal amounts of flour, shortening, and vegetable oil that can be refrigerated if you’re making a larger batch (let it soften to room temperature before using).
For the ultimate protection, consider using parchment whenever possible, although it doesn’t work with all shapes of pans. At least greasing under parchment can help keep the paper in place, although in many cases you’ll still want to grease and flour the pan to keep the sides of the cake from sticking. Greasing and flouring the paper will ensure it comes off without ripping any of the pie crust. If you’re planning on frosting a cake, says Rose Levy Beranbaum in “The Baking Bible,” you can skip handling the paper because exposing the inside of the cake makes it easier to apply the syrup.
Parchment helps when you want to turn or lift a cake out of a pan by creating a sort of loop as long as excess material hangs over the edges. For round cakes, you can purchase parchment liners with tabs that you can use to lift the cake out.
It’s important to pay attention to the specifics of a recipe, but in general, most cakes are best demolded after 10-20 minutes of cooling. Try it too soon and it may fall apart. Wait too long and it can stick.
Here’s a quick rundown of more general pan-type advice.
Round cake pans. Grease and flour or use baking spray. Line the bottom with parchment or use a round of parchment with tabs for lifting. If desired, make a parchment collar for the sides of the cake.
Square cake pans. Grease and flour or use baking spray. Line parchment, leaving an inch or two overhang on each side to act as a loop for lifting the cake. If desired, use two sheets of parchment placed perpendicular to each other so that the whole pan is lined.
Bunch of pans. Grease well and flour, use baking spray or apply flour paste. Use a brush to ensure even coverage. Be aware of any crevices and center tube where sticking is likely. If the cake sticks, cookbook author Marcy Goldman suggests placing the pan over a medium-high burner very briefly to melt the fat and help release it. If it doesn’t work the first time, try heating the pan a little more. Other strategies Renee Schettler shared in The Post in 2005: Place the cake in a 325 or 350 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or cover a bath towel in the sink with hot water and set the pan for 10 seconds thereon.
Loaf or rectangular (9 x 13 inch) pans. fat or fat and flour. Line with parchment, leaving overhangs on the long sides of the pan to act as a loop. If desired, use metal (oven safe) clips to secure the parchment to the sides of the pan to get clean edges and prevent the paper from falling into the batter.
pipe pans. Do not grease or flour angel, sponge and chiffon cakes. To prevent the cake from collapsing as it cools, turn the pan over to cool using the built-in feet or place the tube over something to support it, e.g. B. the neck of a glass bottle.
Springforms. Use fats, flours and parchment for traditional cakes. For cheesecake, grease and line with parchment to taste. Serve straight off the bottom of the pan, or slide off the bottom or flip. For cheesecake, heat can aid in removal. Place the pan over a stove set on low or heat briefly with a kitchen burner, a warm and damp towel, or a shallow water bath.
sheet pan. Grease or grease and flour to serve sheet cakes straight from the pan. Or grease and line with parchment. Beranbaum suggests cutting notches in the corners so the paper sits more flush rather than protruding around the curved edges.