It is not always easy to prepare cake pans in a way that makes beautiful cakes. That is why pan preparation is crucial if you want your cakes to come out cleanly without sticking or tearing. In most cases, people prepare their pans to create attractive, tear-free cakes. How you prepare the pans can also influence the shape of the final product.
The primary considerations when preparing cake pans are the type of pan and the type of batter to use. In some cases, baker’s preferences can also play a role in the kind of preparation needed. If you are a good baker, you should be able to tell the kind of preparation needed just from the recipe.
Typically, cake pan preparation falls in three basic methods or categories. For a better outcome, you can use parchment paper to amplify these methods. If you are ready for faultless baking, here are some hacks and considerations you need to consider as you prepare your pan.
Ungreased Pans (no flour and grease)
A bare-pan, or a pan without flour and grease, are usually used to bake sponge cakes such as genoise and chiffon. The fact that these cakes raise by climbing on the walls of the pan means they need a dry surface to cling. For this reason, bare-naked is more suitable for such baking jobs. You can also use a bare pan for baking some batters such as soufflé-type chocolate because it gives them a better shape. Instead of tapered inwards, you will bake cakes with relatively straight edges.
To detach a cake from ungreased pans, you need a slim spatula, but a flexible plastic spreader can do a better job. Make sure to slide it inside the pan while pressing against the edges of the pan to avoid damaging the cake.
Unless you are using a suspended tube pan or a pan with a removable bottom, you can spread a parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. This will help to prevent the cake from falling out of the pan. To line the cake pan, cut a parchment paper that is slightly larger than the surface of the pan then fold it into quarters before folding it in half.
These pans are best for baking non-sponge cakes such as devil’s food, butter cakes, and quick bread. These pans let the cake to detach from the edges of the pan without tearing or sticking when it has finished baking. Whenever necessary, you can use a slim spatula to detach the cake, especially from the sides of the pan. Before lining the cake pan, use a pastry brush to spread a layer of soft butter bottom and sides of the pan. Use parchment paper to on the bottom of the pan and spread it tight to remove any air bubbles and excess greases.
Greased and floured pans (flour and butter sprayed on the pan)
In this type of cake pan preparation, you need to add flour and grease. You can use these pans for baking the same types of non-sponge cakes like the one mentioned earlier. The purpose of flour in this preparation is to seal the batter, which in turn create a cake with an even crust. Another importance of flour is that it allows for smooth un-molding without sticking to the pan. In this type of pan preparation, you still detach the cake without damage even if you don’t have a spatula. In fact, people relied on grease and flour to help them detach cake from the bottom of the pan before the parchment paper was introduced.
Some bakers prefer to prepare their pans this way when they want a slight crust, except for when they are making sponges. Others prefer to use this preparation for specific cakes only. In most case, the decision on the type of cake to bake with this type of pan depends on whether the cake will be served bare or covered with frost. Sometimes, this pan is used for cakes that are prone to sticking.
When you are not sure if a cake will come out without sticking, or when you don’t want to frost the surface of the cake, you can always rely on flour and grease.
To grease and flour the cake, line the bottom with parchment paper then add flour and grease the sides of the pan. Use melted shortening or softened butter and a pastry brush to brush the sides and bottom of the cake pan then sprinkle a little bit of flour. Non-stick cooking spray is best for this job.
When do you use oil, butter, or shortening for greasing?
What to use for greasing is usually a matter of personal preference. While each person has what he or she likes best, there are some cases where one greasing type is better than the other. For instance, you will find that some cakes are best greased by clarified butter or oil rather than the normal butter. Plain butter has water that can make your batter to stick.
If you are using a cooking spray, make sure that you spray over the sink or trashcan to avoid unnecessary spills on the floor or counter. Sometimes, commercial spray makes it difficult for the cake to hold onto the surface of the pan when raising. So, keep this in mind as you bake, especially if you want a consistent outcome.
While culinary schools tend to advocate for greasing before adding parchment liner, it is not necessary. The only time you must grease under the liner is when the parchment is rumpled. Likewise, you don’t have to flour or grease the top of the parchment. It is only necessary when you are making a cake sheet or a thin sponge. This will prevent it from sliding. But, as you become a pro, you will use less and less greasing.
Does Your Pan Still Stick?
If after trying the above preparations, you still cannot bake your cake without sticking or tearing, then consider cleaning the pan in between batches. This problem often arises when you are making multiple batches. So, remove any leftover that may make your next cake to tear.