It has come to my attention that I often refer to certain processes like preparing cake pans without really saying how to do them. I sometimes take for granted that my mother taught me how to do these things, so I thought I'd make a little tutorial to show you how, too!
So, here's how to prepare cake pans!
The best way I have found for making sure your cake comes out just about perfectly is to prep your pans with butter, flour and parchment paper. It takes a few extra steps, but always saves a lot of hassle in the end.
First, choose your cake pan.
When it comes to round cakes, there are basically three types of pans. Nowadays, most cake pans are coated with a non-stick surface, but if you have older cake pans they may not be. Either way, you still need to prepare your pans. The three sets below are the ones I use most frequently.
2. 9 inch round, light, coated non-stick cake pans: These are the two I use most often when I make the basic cakes posted on this blog like the Cherry Coke Chocolate Cake or the Pink Almond Party Cake. The slightly tapered edges are easily covered up by frosting.
3. Tiered round, dark, coated non-stick spring-form pans: I use these whenever I make a three-tiered cake, like the one I made for Ellie's first birthday party. However, dark coated pans tend to bake cakes that have a rounder top, as the dark coating attracts more heat, cooking the outside faster than the inside. This means you end up needing to cut off a lot of cake in order to get a flat surface for frosting. These spring-form pans are easily removed, but are really intended for use with pies, tarts, tortes and ice cream cakes.
So, the best cake pans are light and coated non-stick rounds. But anything you have available will also do the trick.
Now that you've chosen your pans, gather your supplies for preparing them. You will need:
- Pans, obviously
- Parchment paper
Now you're ready to prepare your pans:
A. Take your pan and lay it on a piece of parchment paper. Use a pencil to trace around the outside of the pan.
B. Cut inside the line you just drew to create circle of parchment paper that will fit inside the bottom of your cake pan. Set aside.
C. Butter your pans. The easiest way to do this is to use the wrappers for the butter you will use in your cake batter. If you don't have these, you can use a paper towel or a scrap of parchment paper to spread your butter. Use about a 1/2 tablespoon of butter to fully coat your pan, bottom and sides.
D. Flour your pans. Drop a spoonful of flour into the buttered pans and gently shake it around until flour coats the bottom and sides. You will have excess flour, which you should tap out either into your next pan or into a bowl to use in the next step.
E. Now place the parchment paper circle into the bottom of the pan. Butter and flour the parchment paper like you did the entire pan earlier, being sure to tap off all extra flour into another pan or into a bowl to use it in your cake batter.
And there you have it! Prepared cake pans, ready for your batter. It seems like a long process, but you will get the hang of it pretty quickly. Once you have baked your cake, you will be able to easily flip these over onto a wire rack to have the cakes cool. They will slide right out of the pans and then you can just peel the parchment paper off.
P.S. You can also use wax paper in place of parchment. No need to butter and flour the top of your wax paper (step E), but steps A-D are still important!
If for some reason you are having difficulty getting your cake out of the pan, let it cool for 15 minutes and then use a plastic knife (not metal, as that will scratch your non-stick coating), to loosen the edges. Flip it over onto a rack or plate and gently shake it to loosen the bottom.
If you'd like to see more cake-making supplies besides the pans listed above, check out this post with my top cake making essentials.
Have any other questions about baking processes I refer to? Feel free to ask! I'd be happy to post a little demo on the how-to.