Preparing a cake pan is my least favorite cake-baking activity, mainly because it’s the first (and least edible) step in the process. It stands in the way of the middle and final steps when I could be licking batter and icing, or enjoying my first bite of cake alongside an ice-cold glass of milk.
But I’m a practical woman and I’ve come to understand that in order to get to the middle and end, I really do need to commit those three whole minutes to lining my cake pan with butter, flour and parchment paper. If I don’t, my cake will sit stubbornly in its pan as I prod it with knives and forks and throw a few forceful blows to the back of the pan (see photo above). It’s a messy and destructive process that takes a lot longer than three minutes.
There a few ways to cut a parchment circle, but since I can’t get my head around pencil lead in my food, I stay away from tracing a circle around my pan. Instead, I fold the parchment into a skinny triangle and make one single cut. I can’t remember who I learned this from (as they deserve a lot of credit for this post), but I picked it up in college and have not turned back since.
Once the parchment is cut, I
- grease the bottom and sides of the pan with butter
- secure my parchment circle
- add a bit more grease to the parchment, and
- dust the pan in flour
And though I drag my feet for those three agonizing minutes, I always remind myself that my future cake-eating self will be grateful to my forward-thinking, cake-pan-prepping self!
The following is an easy method for cutting a parchment circle by eyeballing your cake pan’s radius. It’s a neat trick, especially if you’re into geometry.