The No-Fail Way to Grease a Cake Pan

The Taste of Home Test Kitchen shows you how to prepare your cake pan. Say goodbye to cakes that stick.

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Many factors go into making the perfect cake—like whipping egg whites to just the right peak to achieve the perfect springy bake. One of the simplest steps is also the most important: properly preparing your cake pan. If your pan isn’t adequately greased and lined, your cake will definitely stick. Nothing’s sadder than spoiling a gorgeous cake by turning the pan over and watching as only half comes out and the rest stays behind.

Our Test Kitchen shares the secrets of how to grease a cake pan the proper way. (Spoiler alert: it takes more than just grease.)

Not sure what kind of cake to make? Check out our favorite cake recipes, here.

How to Grease a Cake Pan

You’ll need:

  • Cake pan (check your recipe for the proper size and type)
  • Butter, shortening, cooking spray, or a cooking spray with flour in it, such as Baker’s Joy
  • Flour
  • Parchment paper

greasing a cake panTaste of Home

Step 1: Grease the pan

Tear a square of parchment paper (or a piece of paper towel in a pinch). Put a generous dollop of grease on one side and get a grip on the opposite side, keeping your hand clean. Smear grease over every inch of the inside of the pan: the bottom, sides and corners. Be generous!

If you’re using a spray, this step is simple: just liberally spray all over the pan. If you’ve got a spray with flour in it, you can skip ahead to No. 3.

flouring a cake panTaste of Home

Step 2: Flour the pan

Flour will stick to the grease adding an extra layer of protection between pan and cake. Flouring is satisfying but it can get messy; we suggest wearing an apron and working over the sink.

Take a spoonful of flour and hold it evenly over the pan. Shake your wrist to send the flour showering down into the pan. It probably won’t disperse very evenly at this point; don’t worry. Take the pan over to your sink and tilt it back and forth, hitting the bottom or sides as needed to shake up drifts of flour and send them to sparser areas. Once your pan looks about evenly covered, turn it upside down and gently rap the bottom to shake out any excess.

folding parchment paper for cake panTaste of Home

Step 3: Line the pan

Lining the pan is a step that can feel unnecessary after you’ve greased it already. But trust us, it’s worth it.

(Note: Some recipes call for only greasing and flouring a pan, while some call for greasing and lining. You can follow your recipe, or do all of the steps here to be extra sure your cake won’t stick.)

The only real challenge in lining a pan is cutting paper to fit. You can buy pre-cut parchment circles,  or grab some regular parchment paper and a pair of sharp scissors.

You can lay the parchment flat under the pan. Trace around the pan, and cut a circle slightly smaller than your line.

unfolding parchment paper in cake panTaste of Home

Or try this nifty magic trick. Stretch a piece of parchment long enough to fit the pan. Cut, fold in half, then fold in half again. Fold into a triangle (it won’t be perfect), keeping the folded sides together. Fold into another triangle, again with the folded sides together. Tip your pan over, set the point at the center of the bottom. Hold it there and cut off the extra length. When you unfold the paper, you’ll have a circle the size of your pan.

parchment paper on cake panTaste of Home

Step 4: Grease (and flour) the lining

Yep, you’ll want to grease the lining. Follow steps one and two.

Step 5: Triumph in your clean cake release!

After you bake, gently turn the pan over to release the cake. It will slip out easily. Pull off the parchment circle smoothly. Your double greasing will come in handy here, as you won’t lose a bit of crust.

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Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.