Perfect Cake Release [Every Time]

There is nothing worse than toiling away in the kitchen, anticipating beautiful cake layers, then prayerfully flipping your pan over only to get a pile of cake or only a portion of your cake. [The rest being stuck in the pan.]

It’s the worst! So how do you ensure a beautiful and perfect cake release every time? Let me explain my methods for perfect cake release!

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Two Methods for Perfect Cake Release

There are two methods I use and both are fantastic! Determining which one works best for you largely depends on how often you bake.

The first method is to grease and flour your pans on an as needed basis. The second method is to mix a batch of DIY Cake Release to conveniently store and access quickly.

Both of these methods also benefit GREATLY from using another secret weapon I will mention later on! So keep reading!

Method #1: Grease and Flour

It really is as simple as that. Just don’t cut corners!

When you’re greasing your pans make sure you use a paper towel to spread your grease into all of the nooks and crannies of the pan. Every edge and corner should be adequately covered. I use vegetable oil, but butter and shortening will work well too! You can also use a non-stick spray, but make sure to still use the paper towel to ensure every bit of the inside of the pan is covered!

Then, toss a small spoonful of flour into each pan. Take your pans to the sink, hold them over the sink, and gently tap the outside edges of the pan to disperse the flour evenly. Once the inside of the pan is coated with flour (again, make sure all the corners and edges are covered too!) flip the pan upside down over your sink and gently shake the excess flour into the sink.

This is a great method to use if you’re not a frequent baker. It takes just a few extra moments to accomplish, rather than just quickly spraying a non-stick spray and saying a prayer, but the results are well worth it!

If you’re baking up a storm, like multiple cakes a week, check out method #2!

Method #2: Batch DIY Cake Release

If you’re running a home bakery or just like a really awesome person who is baking multiple times a week, this method might be best for you, and it’s equally as great as the first method I mentioned!

We’re going to make a batch of DIY Cake Release, using flour, shortening, and vegetable oil, and keep it stored for quick and easy access. You may see it listed elsewhere as “cake goop” or “goo.” You make a batch of this stuff and then use a paper towel or pastry brush to coat your pans! No need to flour the pans since the flour is already mixed into the recipe.

In a jar, or other food storage container, you’re going to mix together a 1:1:1 ratio of All-Purpose Flour, Vegetable Shortening, and Vegetable Oil. Use a whisk or a fork to combine until smooth. It’s going to be pretty clumpy at first, but keep whisking! It will smooth out.

You can store this on the counter or in the fridge, but either way it will not spoil. It may separate, however, so just give it a good stir in that case and it’s good to go!

If you aren’t an avid baker you’re more than welcome to still try this method! I used to use the DIY Cake Release when I baked more often, but now I only bake about once a week and I just didn’t want the jar of goop taking up space on my counter or fridge!

My Secret Weapon

Okay, so this isn’t that much of a secret- but no matter which method I use, I ALWAYS line the bottom of my pans with parchment. I love these pre-cut parchment rounds, but they are a luxury. When I first started out baking, I didn’t have the money for them so I just cut my own out of a roll of parchment.

You might be thinking, that sounds like overkill. Greasing the pans AND lining the bottom with parchment? Listen, it’s the only way to ensure perfection every time. I’m not saying you won’t get a clean cake release by using the above methods alone- I certainly have! But it I’ve also had those methods fail me, so now I always line the bottom with parchment for a more consistent result.

And listen to me, Linda, don’t you try to skip greasing the bottom of the pan neither just because you’re using parchment! There will be parts of the cake batter that get stuck in the bottom edges and corners of your pan. Then you will cry and cry and cry into the cake caked into the cake pan and think to yourself “Sydney told me not to cut corners,” and you will be very sad. And nobody wants that.

Timing Is Everything

Some people suggest waiting until the cake cools entirely before attempting to flip the pan. I am not those people.

I like to wait about 10 minutes after I’ve pulled the cakes from the oven- still hot but they’ve had time to rest and set for a bit. The pan is also easier to handle! If you’re not using cake strips, be sure to use oven mitts and be careful! Honestly, even if you’re using cake strips, proceed with caution because the pan will still be very warm!

So 10 minutes after removing your cakes from the oven, use a spatula or knife to gently sweep around the edge of the cake to ensure it’s loose, then go ahead and flip! Don’t forget to remove the parchment circle before stacking and decorating! It does blend in! 😆

Frequently Asked Questions

In my experience, the cake is more easily removed from the pan when it’s hot. Once removed, I also wrap the layers in plastic wrap to trap the steam and retain moisture!

I flip my cakes out onto a layer of plastic wrap! Then I wrap them securely and store them in the fridge or freezer depending on when I need to assemble and decorate my cake. Wrapping the layers helps trap the steam from the cake and prevents that moisture from escaping! Another reason I prefer flipping them out while they are hot!

Did you try these tips?!

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