How to Keep Cake from Sticking to the Pan

No more crumbly cakes! I’ll show you how to keep cake from sticking to the pan.

Prepare cake pans correctly and you'll never have a cake stick to the pan

There are few baking disasters worse than a cake that sticks to the pan. You put in the time and effort, you’re excited as you pull it from the oven, but when you go to remove it from the pan it sticks and comes out in pieces. I’ve been there, and it is sooo frustrating.

But it’s been a long time since I shed tears over crumbled cake, and I’m here to pass my knowledge on to you! Here’s how to make sure your cakes come out clean and in one piece every time.

How to Keep Cake from Sticking to the Pan

Always line cake pans with parchment paper

Always line cake pans with parchment paper

The most important preparation you can make when baking a cake is to line the pans (these are the pans that I use) with parchment paper. This ensures that the bottom of the cake will not stick to the pan, and that it will all come out in one piece. I never bake a cake without parchment paper! Thinking about skipping this step? Don’t do it.

You can buy parchment rounds that will fit inside your pan, or you can trace around the outside of your pan onto a sheet of parchment paper with a pencil and cut it out. As you line your pan, place them pencil side-down.

Next up, we need to grease the pan. You can either use butter and flour or baking spray.

Butter and flour will keep cake from sticking to the pan

Grease with butter and flour

One way to grease your pan is with butter and flour. These two combine to form a barrier between the pan and your cake. Here’s how to butter and flour your pans:

  1. Coat the entire inside of your pan with butter (or margarine or shortening). Tip: Use the paper liners from the butter used in your cake batter. These liners usually have enough residual butter to adequately grease your pans, and they’re a great vehicle too. But room temperature butter and a paper towel will work as well.
  2. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper with more butter.
  3. Sprinkle your greased pan with flour.
  4. Shake and rotate the pan until it is completely dusted with flour. Dump the excess flour into the next pan or back into the flour container.

Butter and flour will keep cake from sticking to the pan

This is how I lined all of my cake pans for years and it worked beautifully. Then I discovered that nonstick baking spray works just as well and is even easier!

Nonstick baking spray will prevent cake from sticking to the pan

Grease with Nonstick Baking Spray

Parchment paper and a generous spritz of baking spray is all you need to ensure your cakes cleanly come out of their pans. Just be sure that the spray contains flour, as flour + grease is the magic combination here. Look for brands like Baker’s Joy (sold in all grocery stores) or White Cap (sold at specialty stores or online and lasts forever).

Spray the entire inside of the pan. Lay the parchment paper in the bottom, and then spray the parchment paper with the non-stick spray. And that’s it!

Prepare cake pans correctly and you'll never have a cake stick to the pan

Whether you use butter and flour or baking spray, as you pour the cake batter into the prepared pan you can feel confident that it will all come out clean and in one piece.

How to Remove Cake from the Pan

Once your cake is baked, let it cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes. If any of the edges of the cake appear stuck, run a knife around the cake to loosen. Then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. I usually flip the cake out onto my hand and then quickly flip it back down onto the rack so that it cools parchment side-down, but that’s just my preference.

Ready to bake a cake? This chocolate sour cream cake is one of my favorites, so is this lemon blueberry cake.

How to Prevent Bundt Cakes from Sticking to the Pan

You’ll see I have plenty of comments below asking “what about bundt cakes?” My biggest piece of advice is to use a quality nonstick bundt pan. It will make your life so much easier! I’ve used this one for years and have never had a bundt cake stick, regardless of how I grease it.

Next, grease it well with either of the methods above. Just make sure you get every nook and cranny all the way to the top. Then after it’s baked and you’ve let it cool for a few minutes, give the pan and gentle shake up and down and see that it bounces lightly inside the pan. That way you know it’ll come out clean when you flip it out of the pan.

Prepare cake pans correctly and you'll never have a cake stick to the pan

More Cake Help

Building a layer cake? I’ve got lots more tips and tutorials that can help!

Shop Cake Tools

This post was originally published June 2014.