Baking, Essentials
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Kitchen Wisdom: How to Release a Cake from its Pan

How to release a cake from its pan begins a series of kitchen wisdom every home cook should know. These quick tips will make your kitchen efforts more fun, easy, and successful.

Two cakes waiting to be released from in their pans.

Have you ever baked a cake only to have the top of it stick to the bottom of the pan in chunks, taking your visions of a perfect cake with it? Me too. Here’s how to get over that.

How to Release a Cake From Its Pan

First, be sure to follow the recipe directions for prepping the pan. If it asks you to butter/grease or flour the pan, so do generously.

Be sure the cake has sufficiently cooled after coming out of the oven before attempting to release it from its pan. The pan should be comfortable warm to the touch, but not hot. This allows the sugars and proteins in the batter to set and gives time for steam to loosen the cake. If the pan is too hot, the chances of a clean release are small.

Use a knife, blade angled and pressed against the cake pan. Circle the blade all the way around the edge to begin loosening the cake.

Next, gently start to tap the pan, and gently bounce it up and down like you are waking a beloved from a deep sleep. You’ll know the cake is ready to release when you feel it lightly bouncing against the pan. If the cake doesn’t easily budge, leave it to cool just another minute or so and try again. Be gentle! If you are a bit rough, your cake can rip and leave it’s beautiful flat top layer stuck.

If you’ve forgotten about your cake and left it to completely cool it may stick as well. First, test the above steps. If at first tap it doesn’t budge, place it back in a warm oven for just a few minutes. This will allow the pan and the edges of the cake to warm up a bit, allowing the sugars release.

Of course, if your cake does come out of the pan missing parts, use a metal spatula to remove the stuck on parts and patch it back together. These things happen, and are nothing a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of glaze, or a fluffy frosting can’t minimize!

Lemon Ginger Zucchini cake on a cake plate.
Zingy Lemon Ginger Zucchini Cake

Practice your new skill with these easy recipes:

Sweet Corn Buttermilk Cake + Blueberry Compote

Zingy Lemon Ginger Zucchini Cake

sweet corn buttermilk cake with bowl of blueberry compote
Sweet Corn Buttermilk cake + Blueberry Compote

Other Great Cake Pan Resources

Wilton’s Cake Baking and Serving Guide offers so much information! The capacity of batter and cooking times and temperatures for every size of pan; how many servings to expect, and a lot more.

Bake through the comprehensive classic recipes in Flo Braker’s out-of-print book The Simple Art of Perfect Baking, first released in 1997 and updated in 2003, and you’ll be a cake baking pro in no time.

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2 Comments

  1. Nancy says

    Thank you for the video, short and charming. Takes away the mystery of how to loosen a cake from a pan without making a mess. And we are all in this together … glad you suggested hasty repairs if necessary. And the logic of warming the pan to release sugars and get the cake out was helpful too.

  2. Pingback: Sweet Corn Buttermilk Cake + Blueberry Compote | 101-Mile Kitchen

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