Do you hold your breath and say a prayer every time you have to turn a cake out of a pan? I’ve got a simple step-by-step guide for how to get the cake out of the pan easily every time. There are plenty of pictures, so you can bake and decorate your cakes with confidence. It’s gonna be awesome.
My child loves to bake, but they’re always scared when it comes time to flip over the cake pan and release the cake. I’ve seen a few ragged looking cakes coming out of their kitchen. The cakes still taste amazing, but maybe they’re just not as pretty as they’d hoped.
There are a few different options that you can sort of layer on top of each other to build in that insurance. I’ll take you through the process. It may seem like a bit of work, but if having a broken cake is really going to stress you out, then it’s worth it.
Preparing your pans
If you’re feeling really daring, you could just trust to your non-stick pans to do what they say and not stick. But even the slightest scratch can sometimes cause problems, so I like to take some precautions. If you’re baking cakes from scratch, you’ll already have everything you need.
You can start by just greasing your pan with butter or whatever fat you’re using in your cake. I use a paper towel to apply a thin layer of butter to the bottom and sides of the pan. Make sure you get right into the corners.
You can also use a non-stick spray. Just as an experiment, I did one layer with the works and one layer with Wilton non-stick spray. You’ll see the results further down. And to be honest, I just use the spray all by itself if I’m feeling lazy, which I mostly am.
If you want to go further, the next step would be to flour the pan as well. Just add a spoonful of flour, then tilt and tap your pan to evenly distribute the flour. I usually knock the excess into the next pan and continue this process until I have them all lightly floured. Knock any excess flour out of the final pan into the sink.
Your buttered and floured pan will look like the photo above. Quite often, this will do the trick. If you’re making a chocolate cake and want the cake to show through, I’ve also seen people use cocoa powder. I’ve never tried that myself, so I can’t testify to the results.
If you’re still nervous, add a layer of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan. Just cut a shape that will fit in the bottom, then pour your cake batter over this and bake. You’ll see the results below.
After the cake comes out of the oven
When your cakes are fully baked and have cooled for about 5-10 minutes, they’re ready to turn out. They will have pulled away from the edge of the pan ever so slightly. Run a knife around the inside edge of the cake pan to make sure it’s fully released, then place your cooling rack on top of the cake, and flip the rack and the cake over together. If you’ve got two cake layers but only one rack, you’ll just have to flip the second one really quickly.
Peeling the parchment off a cake layer is oddly satisfying. It will pull away a very thin crumb layer on your cake, but that’s not a problem. You can just flip it back over and make that the bottom of your finished cake if you’re worried about how it looks. I usually make the bottom of the cake the actual top when I serve it because it’s flatter. That’s just personal preference. If you’re frosting your cake, it all gets covered up anyway.
So that’s what your buttered, floured, and parchment-lined cake layer will look like. Everything came out all in one glorious piece with no cracks or sticking. It’s ready to be frosted, decorated, and gobbled up.
Oh yeah, the back of this photo shows that second cake layer where I just used the non-stick spray. It’s fine. A couple tiny pieces stuck to the pan this time. It’s not quite as perfect as the other one, but close enough. If you’re willing to risk it, I think non-stick spray is usually enough.
Now go forth and bake cake
I hope you find this helpful. If you have any more baking questions, no matter how daft you may feel, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to help if I can.
And if you’re looking for awesome layer cake recipes to try out now that you know how to get the cake out of the pan, here are a few to get you started.
- Practically Perfect Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Orange Frosting
- Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake
- Vanilla Cake
Don’t forget to share your photos with me on Instagram. I’d love to see your awesome cake creations.