How to CookButter

The Blatantly Obvious Trick for Pan-Greasing I Just Realized

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As an avid baker, I've tried greasing my cake/cookie/candy pans in almost every way imaginable: using softened butter, baking spray, butter-then-flour, a slick of oil, parchment paper, or nothing at all. Most of these methods work just fine (but if I need an absolutely fail-proof pan, I go with this one from Alice Medrich).

How to Prepare Pans for Cake Success
How to Prepare Pans for Cake Success

Recently, however, I discovered a head-smackingly simple hack for greasing pans:

After using my sticks of softened butter for baking, I'll reserve the wrapper and use it to grease my pan, following up with flour or parchment if necessary. It's so much easier than using a paper towel or your fingers to rub the butter into the pan, and it cuts down on waste! I feel like a dummie for never making the connection before.

Butter, *and* pan greasing agent, all in one.
Butter, *and* pan greasing agent, all in one. Photo by James Ransom

Of course this strategy isn't quite as useful if you're making a dessert using oil as your fat, or perhaps skipping the fat altogether (say, making meringues). However, since I discovered this modest hack so late in my baking life, despite the hundreds (or thousands) of sticks of butter I've gone through, I thought I'd go ahead and share my tip with you. Use it to help you make Bundt cakes, quick breads and layer cakes throughout the holiday baking season.

Is this trick as exciting to you as it was to me, or is it old news? Tell us in the comments!

Tags: Bake, Tips & Techniques