Kitchen Geekery | Cake pan prep

Kitchen Geekery cake-making


Clearly, I have very strong feelings about baking in general, and one thing is sure: I am still learning. But there is one aspect of cake-making that I feel particularly passionate about and that is cake pan preparation. I used to be an aerosol grease spray kinda girl. I was lazy. The spray was convenient. Then I started to spray grease the pan, followed by brushing all that grease around to even it out before tapping on some flour. Eventually I switched to towelling off the excess spray grease before flouring the pan, until I decided melted butter brushed on pans was even better because I love butter. Plus, to be honest, spray-on grease tends to leave a yucky residue on some bakeware, and I have invested too much of my hard-earned money on quality bakeware to have it all turned to a sticky mess. Today, I don’t use spray-on grease, and I don’t brush on melted butter either. What do I do? I rub room temperature butter over the entire surface of the pan with my hands. It’s just so even when you do it this way! Then I flour the pan, tapping off the excess in a most satisfying process, revealing a perfectly smooth, evenly-powdered cake pan that is ready for cake. And because there is no room in my life for cake wrecks, I also line the bottoms of my cake pans with parchment. It’s not necessary, but I like the extra insurance.

Prepping a cake pan is such an important, yet overlooked step, and if you have ever stood over a crumbled mess of a cake that has stuck to the pan in a most frustrating tear-jerker of a disaster, then you truly understand why I say cake-pan-prep plays such a pivotal role: prepping your cake pans can literally make or break a cake. Literally! So if you have grand future cake plans that involve stacks of cake & gorgeous exposed cake edges, or if you prefer not having your guests eat family-style from a pan of cake, then may I suggest you head on over to my Kitchen Geekery article on Food Bloggers of Canada for more on why we prep pans the way we bakers do? Because prepping your cake pans is important. It deserves a full article and all that extra time in the kitchen. It’s worth it. Trust me!

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4 Responses to Kitchen Geekery | Cake pan prep

  1. Lynn January 15, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    I usually start by using a piece of the butter wrapper to spread the butter around a cake pan ( like my mom taught me!) but then I make a mess and just use my hands. I like to think of it as being good for my skin.

  2. Kevin February 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    Grease, flour and parchment, eh? Reminds me of the joke “Show me someone who wears both a belt and suspenders and I’ll show you a person who’s not wearing underwear.”

  3. Elizabeth February 18, 2019 at 7:08 am #

    I have a homemade and shelf stable “pan release” that professional bakers use, and it works like a charm!

    Mix together in your mixer 1 cup each sifted flour, vegetable oil and Crisco shortening until completely smooth. Store in cabinet or in refrigerator if you wish. Stir with spoon before brushing a thin layer onto the bottom and sides of any baking pans.

    Can also use when baking meats in casserole dishes, or baking sticky foods in glass or metal pans.


  1. Bob's Red Mill Everyday Gluten-free Cookbook | Kitchen Heals Soul - February 24, 2015

    […] For the cake, I used dried cranberries in place of the dried sour cherries because I can never find dried sour cherries. I also used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet chocolate chunks because that’s what I had on hand. I was really impressed with this cake because it rose nicely in the oven and it didn’t collapse, which often happens when you take away the gluten from a recipe. My favourite part was that the cake was NOT made with xanthan gum, an ingredient I detest. In fact, none of the recipes call for xanthan gum and instead use ground chia or ground flax. I loved that and I learned something new: you can use ground chia added directly to your dry ingredients instead of xanthan gum! Even though I was impressed with the rise of the cake, I still had a few issues. The dried fruit and chocolate sank to the bottom and formed a chocolate cranberry layer under the cake. A few stayed afloat, but most sank. I think the lack of gluten is to blame here, which means there isn’t enough structure to the cake to support the mix-ins. My other issue is that the author discusses extra virgin olive oil in the blurb next to the recipe, so I assumed I should be using extra virgin olive oil for the cake. Perhaps I misunderstood. Extra-virgin olive oil is much too flavourful for a cake, I think. Next time, I’d use a milder oil (canola or very light, mild olive oil). I also think this cake would have benefited from a little vanilla extract and maybe some grated zest. I’d also line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment (you know how much I love to line my pans!). […]

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