How to Prep Pans for Baking

Baking, Cook, Easter, How-To, Learn

Spring baking is in full swing with Easter-inspired cakes and cupcakes, so we’ll be featuring some of our best baking tips over the next few weeks to help you out in the kitchen. Here, we’re starting with the basics: preparing a cake pan for baking.


Three steps are essential to insure your baked goods don’t stick: buttering, flouring and lining your pan with parchment paper. See how it’s done below.


To butter a pan, place a small amount of soft butter on a piece of waxed paper and then spread the butter over the bottom and sides of the pan.
To flour a pan, add 2 tablespoons of flour to the buttered pan and tilt and shake so the flour adheres to the butter. Turn the pan over, tap it on a work surface and discard the extra flour.
Line with paper
To line a pan with parchment, fold a piece of parchment larger than the cake pan into quarters, place the point into the center of the pan and press the parchment into the pan, so that it creases along the edge. Cut along the crease, unfold and press the parchment round into the pan.


Readers, what are your best tips to avoid sticking? Tell us in the comments!

9 comments about “How to Prep Pans for Baking

  1. Latoya

    I’ve had phenomenal success using non-stick spray and the Wilton brand aluminum bakeware.

  2. Kathy Hodson

    I’m into cakes. I don’t spray my cake pans. I prefer CRISCO or butter and in the case of one carrot cake recipe, it calls for veg. oil in the bottom and sides, then lay a piece of parchment paper over the bottom of the pan. In a pinch, I have used wax paper then flour, etc.

    When I’ve cleaned the cake pans, I force myself to prepare parchment paper for the next baking session. It’s a treat to get those pans out and that step is already completed.

    When baking three cake pans in the oven, I adhere to the recommendations to bake one on the top oven grate and two in the middle. I switch the top and the center pan after half of the recipe time has elapsed. Watch the two on the top closely so they do not over bake. They bake up fast.

  3. Sue Mangus

    When baking chocolate cake, I dust the pan with cocoa powder instead of flour. And I also prefer Crisco over butter.

  4. WL

    So I am planing to began baking cakes fro scratch. this spring. So I have t butter,flour and use parchment paper at the bottom of my pan?

  5. Lynne Ricard

    Please can you send me the recipe for that beautiful cake at the top of this post?!!

  6. Bernice

    I’ve found that for baking pans with intricate designs such as Bundt pans and turban head pans it is essential for me to use Baker’s Joy (a combined flour and oil spray). This eliminates the sticking (and consequent destruction of the patterns) which result when I butter and flour the molds.

  7. Olivia Ware Post author

    Lynne and Lorraine, the photo at the top of this post is of a Classic Sponge Cake; here is the recipe:

    3/4 cup cake (soft-wheat) flour
    4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

    Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper cut to fit. Butter the paper and dust the bottom and sides of the pan with flour.

    Sift the flour onto a sheet of parchment paper or onto a plate. Set aside.

    In a large, deep bowl, combine the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Using a sturdy wire whisk, beat vigorously until the mixture is light in color and thick, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla. Set aside.

    In a large bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they form soft peaks and have tripled in volume. Slowly pour in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the whites are stiff and glossy. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the whites falling out. Be careful not to overwhip the whites, or they will be dry.

    Using a rubber spatula, gently but quickly fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the yolk-sugar mixture. Fold in one-half of the flour. Fold in another third of the whites, followed by the remaining flour. Finally, fold in the remaining whites until the batter is smooth. Be careful not to overfold, or the eggs will deflate and the batter will lose its volume. Pour the batter into the cake pan.

    Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly touched with a fingertip or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven. Immediately run a small, thin knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, pressing the knife against the pan to avoid gouging the cake. Place a wire rack on top of the cake and invert them together. Carefully lift off the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Turn the cake back over onto another rack and let cool completely.

    After the cake is cooled, split it into layers and brush the cake base with a Vanilla Cake Syrup; here is the recipe:

    1/3 cup sugar
    1/3 cup water
    Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
    2 tsp. vanilla extract

    In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla. Let cool before using. Makes about 1 cup.

    Once the cake layers are brushed with syrup, select your filling. This cake features layers of simply strained preserves — you can choose strawberry, raspberry or apricot, depending on your preference. You will need about 1/3 cup strained preserves for one cake.

    After the cake is filled and layers are stacked, choose a frosting or glaze. This cake is topped with a Vanilla Buttercream; you can find the recipe here:


  8. ZUCCHINI BREAD WITH FRESH LEMON GLAZE "When Bad Things Happen to Good Cakes (and Cooks)" - Annie Hart

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