Food52 in 5

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.

Shop the Story

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.

Get Here Faster

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.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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, 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.