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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