Rogue Baking Tips with Alice Medrich

Alice's One Rule for Perfect Cake Pan Prep

By • April 7, 2014 • 7 Comments

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Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.

Today: Don't fret -- Alice gives us the inside track on foolproof pan prep for your next baking adventure. 

Have you noticed that pan preparation differs among cakes and recipes? A recipe may call for greasing, or greasing and flouring, or simply leaving the pan naked. It depends on the type of cake and the preferences of the chef! But that is another topic for another day. I say prepare the sides of the pan exactly as directed in the recipe -- but line the bottoms with parchment!

The parchment offers absolute peace of mind: it ensures that your cake will always come out of the pan without sticking. There is no need to grease under the paper unless your parchment is too crumpled to lie flat, and never a need to grease (or grease and flour) the parchment itself -- regardless of what you may have seen on television, or learned in culinary school! When the cake comes out of the pan, you simply peel the paper off the bottom. It’s actually quite satisfying ...

PS: I keep parchment circles on hand. I stack a few sheets of parchment, trace around 8- and 9- inch cake pans on the top sheet and cut the circles out with scissors or a utility knife (with a cutting board underneath). I store the circles in a cake pan to keep them flat. For more about parchment see The Big Secret About Parchment Paper.  

More: Learn how to frost a cake like a pro -- then make the perfect dessert, from start to finish.  

Alice's new book Seriously Bitter Sweet is a complete revision of her IACP award-winning Bittersweet, updated for the 54%, 61%, and 72% (and beyond) bars available today. It's packed with tricks, techniques, and answers to every chocolate question, plus 150 seriously delicious recipes -- both savory and sweet. 


Photos by James Ransom

Topics: Cake

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Comments (7)


12 months ago German

This woman is a wonderful finding in my culinary world. Thank you for bringing love and understanding to the kitchen.


12 months ago Missy Penick

I make my own release with equal parts flour (cocoa powder for chocolate)solid shortening and oil. My cakes never ever stick~


11 months ago laurelei235

I use that recipe too. It's genius, works like a charm and ridiculously cheap. Loaf breads, quick breads, cakes, sheet cakes. Hasn't failed me yet. And it's shelf stable for months.


about 1 year ago Shrinkrap

"There is no need to grease under the paper....regardless of what you may have seen on television, or learned in culinary school! When the cake comes out of the pan, you simply peel the paper off the bottom. It’s actually quite satisfying ...


Love the stored circles.


about 1 year ago amysarah

Quick trick for easily cutting parchment to fit a round pan: after tracing the pan's bottom, fold it in half before cutting - the way you cut paper into circles or hearts as a child.


about 1 year ago E. Nassar

Or just use PAM for baking (or Baker's Joy):). I do that for pretty much every cake I bake. Never, ever sticks and is especially a boon for baking a Bundt cake.


about 1 year ago cookbookchick

Great tip, thanks Alice! I've often wondered how to handle parchment-lined cake pans.