Cake Stuck to Pan? Learn the Triple Nonstick Method

After all your hard work of baking a cake, you want it to slide right out of the pan. This technique promises just that.

Published Feb. 20, 2022.

I’ve baked a lot of cakes in my life—well into the hundreds. This means that I’ve tried a lot of nonstick methods. Butter, butter and flour, Pam, Pam with flour, Crisco, canola oil, and so on.

But one method works better than all the others—I’ve never had a cake stick in its pan when I use it. I’m calling it “the triple nonstick method.”

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  1. Spray the interior of the pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour (also called baking spray).
  2. Cut a circle of parchment paper roughly the same size as the bottom of your pan. Place it inside flatly.
  3. Spray the parchment round with baking spray.

To recap: You're spraying it once, adding parchment, and spraying that parchment with baking spray. (And yes: There's a difference between baking spray and cooking spray!)

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There are two other things I like to keep in mind. Think of them as bonus reinforcements: The best baking pans are those with slick nonstick coatings. If the nonstick coating on your pan is starting to wane, it’s time to replace your pan.

Next, many recipes call to prepare your pans before you start mixing. Over time, the frothy bubbles of the baking spray will collapse and oil will become runnier as it sits, so I suggest spraying your pan right before you pour in the batter.

You might have read that using nonstick spray on nonstick pans can lead to gunk build-up (this happens when the lecithin from the nonstick spray is cooked onto the pan). I checked in with our science editor, Paul Adams, about this.

Paul explained that this is more of an issue when cooking and less of a worry when baking. The part of the pan that is covered by cake won’t get very hot, so the buildup is much less likely to happen in those areas.

However, the parts of the pan that get sprayed but don’t have cake on them will be more likely to accrue lecithin residue. To avoid damage to your nonstick pan, try to spray only where the cake is going.

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