Bake

The 5-Minute Prep Trick This Award-Winning Baker Swears By

July 18, 2018

I swear by lining pan bottoms with parchment, but cutting a parchment circle every time I bake a cake somehow breaks my flow—and litters the counter with scraps. I refuse to pay too much for precut circles (a pack of 24 circles at 20 cents apiece?!) or buy too many (1000 at a time), even at a great price.

So I cut circles from full rolls of parchment—which I definitely do purchase by the thousand (and maybe you should, too!).

To avoid the irritation of cutting a circle every single time I bake, I occasionally cut a small stack of sheets both 8 and 9-inches in diameter—my most used sizes. Rather than annoyed, this makes me feel efficient. I keep them in an empty cake pan in a drawer—but if you could file them if you have a kitchen file drawer, or put them in a manila envelope, or on a clipboard (so you can hang them inside a cupboard or pantry door). Then, all you need to do is simply reach for one when needed.

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To cut circles, stack a few sheets of parchment (on a cutting board if necessary) and set a pan on top. Either run a utility knife around the pan, cutting through the sheets, or draw around the pan with a pencil and use a pair of scissors to cut out the rounds.


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A couple of minutes spent doing this every now and then for your main cake sizes lets you jump right into the fun part of baking.

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My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

1 Comment

Smaug July 21, 2018
As an amateur baker, I've never found cutting parchment (or wax paper) to fit pans that onerous; if you're baking a dozen cakes every day, I can see that it might be, but for most of us it's maybe a couple of times a week.