Quick Baking Tip: How to Grease & Flour Cake Pans

Baking, Cook, How-To, Learn, Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen

This post comes courtesy of Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen cook Sandra Wu.


Here in the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen, we are constantly baking cakes to test out new pan designs and to taste newly developed mixes. Whether we’re working on Bundt cakes, layer cakes or cakelets, our go-to procedure for ensuring a great nonstick release is greasing with shortening and flouring with instant flour.


Why shortening? Unlike butter, which needs to be softened in the microwave or be at room temperature, shortening is conveniently stored at room temperature already, making it easy to use at a moment’s notice.


Why instant flour? The finely ground version of all-purpose flour comes in a shaker-style canister, which makes it easy to coat the pans evenly while reducing the amount of flour wasted.


Here are the steps for our preferred method of greasing and flouring a cake pan:

  • Brush the shortening evenly into the pan, paying particular attention to any grooved or detailed areas.
  • Next, flour the pan using instant flour, a finely ground version of all-purpose flour.
  • Tilt the pan and tap lightly until the bottom and sides are evenly coated with flour. Dump out any excess flour.


When working with chocolate cakes, we typically “flour” with cocoa powder, which helps maintain the rich brown color of the cake when it’s released from the pan.


Stay tuned for more quick tips from our Test Kitchen!


About the author: As one of Williams-Sonoma’s test kitchen cooks, Sandra spends her work week developing recipes, testing new products, and generally thinking and talking about food all day long. When she’s not in the kitchen, she can be found spending time in the garden with her husband and dog.

8 comments about “Quick Baking Tip: How to Grease & Flour Cake Pans

  1. Laura Martin Bacon

    Wow: I never heard the cool trick about using instant flour. In fact, I’m not sure I even knew there WAS such a thing — I love it! Using cocoa powder for chocolaty creations is also a sweet way to make sure you get instant cake release — and amazing flavor. Thanks so much for the info, Sandra!

  2. Dana

    Laura Martin Bacon: Wondra is version of the instant flour mentioned in this tip… having a name brand will help you find it at the grocery store… :)

  3. gene

    “Brush” the shortening? It would have to be liquid to be brushed, so does that mean your’re using oil?

  4. Cheryl

    Wow this is what my grandma and mom always used , brings back great yummy memories. Maybe i’ll make a homemade cake this weekend
    Thanks W S

  5. Cheryl

    Think they are talking about a spry kind of shortening… Try a paint brush from the hardware store. 4″ flat style with short bristles. Have many I use in the kitchen only

  6. Kim

    Would you also use the instant flour to flour a pan when making a colored “naked” cake. I am making an ombré cake and only frosting between layers. The flour I am using coats the sides of the cake and hides the ombré effect distinguishing the layers? What to do?

  7. Colleen

    What is the difference between just greasing a cake/loaf pan or greasing and flourng them?


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