What’s the best way to prep your cake pan to prevent sticking?

To avoid a messy fate, we tested a number of methods and found the best way to line your pan for a stick-free guarantee.

It’s all about pan prep

Your goal is to prevent your cake from sticking by creating a barrier between batter and pan (e.g., parchment, nonstick spray, or shortening and flour) prior to adding cake batter.

After testing a dozen different options for this article, I’m happy to report that all but one resulted in an intact cake: no sticking, no crumbling. That said, some required a bit more tapping and jiggling to get the cake to release. Below are the methods I settled on, in order of preference, starting with my top pick for guaranteed success. Results are based on how each performed using Chef Zeb’s Hot Milk Cake in a 6″ round pan (one recipe yields four 6″ cakes).

Parchment + pan spray is the clear winner in our cake pan prep trials.

The winner

Parchment + nonstick pan spray. Silicone-coated baking paper (parchment) is the cake baker’s best friend. Line the bottom of your pan with nonstick parchment, then coat the pan’s sides with nonstick pan spray. Some people espouse coating the bottom of the pan with spray before adding the parchment, then spraying the parchment as well; if you lean toward a “belt and suspenders” approach, feel free to do this.

Baked on parchment, your cake will drop right out of the upended pan onto its cooling rack, and the parchment is easily peeled off the warm cake’s bottom. Parchment rounds are handy for round pans; if you’re baking in a square or rectangular pan, choose half-sheet parchment cut to size.

We especially recommend the parchment-pan spray combination for cakes with sticky add-ins, like meltable chips or bits of chocolate or caramel, fresh or dried fruit or anything else (mini marshmallows?) that can become sticky when warm.

Here are some of the many cakes I baked to draw the conclusions in this article. What a delicious exercise!

The runners-up

Cake goop stays soft even when stored in the fridge, making it quick and easy to use.

Cake goop. If you choose not to use parchment, homemade “cake goop,” known to seasoned cake bakers everywhere, is a super alternative. Made by mixing equal parts (by volume) vegetable shortening, flour, and vegetable oil, goop is simply painted onto your pans with a pastry brush (or rubbed on with a paper towel). Make up a batch* and store it in the fridge; it’ll stay spreadable and ready to use even when chilled.

*1/2 cup (92g) vegetable shortening, 1/2 cup (60g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1/2 cup (99g) vegetable oil. Mix until smooth.

Here’s a tip: My fellow blogger, Rossi, says you can substitute cocoa powder for flour to make chocolate goop — perfect for chocolate cakes, where flour would clash visually with the cake’s rich, deep-dark color.

Nonstick pan spray, alone or dusted with flour; granulated sugar; cocoa powder, or nut flour (e.g., almond). Pan spray’s big advantage over older methods (shortening, butter) is its easy application and thorough coverage.

For an enticing, lightly crunchy crust, spray your cake pan (bottom and sides) with nonstick spray, then sprinkle it heavily with granulated sugar.

Dusting with flour is common, but you can branch out by matching the “dust” with your recipe, e.g., cocoa with chocolate cake, or almond flour for a touch of nutty flavor in yellow cake. Personally, I love to dust my spray-coated pan with granulated sugar; it adds a tiny bit of crunch and gleam to what otherwise might be a rather plain cake crust.

Vegetable shortening, alone or dusted with the options above. If you’re perfectly satisfied with this traditional method of preparing a cake pan, then stick with it (though for interest’s sake you may want to try dusting with something other than flour). Shortening’s downside: you may sometimes get a hint of oily flavor, especially if your shortening isn’t super-fresh.

Butter, alone or dusted with the options above. Butter works less well than pan spray or shortening (the milk solids in the butter add a bit of stickiness), but with some coaxing — gentle loosening, firm tapping — cakes come out with perhaps just a bit of residue left in the bottom of the pan.

Not recommended

Pan spray dusted with confectioners’ sugar. How about adding sweetness to your pan coating without the crunch of granulated sugar? It seemed like a good idea at the time, but apparently the cornstarch in the sugar mixed with the cake batter’s liquid and turned into glue! My experimental cake stuck badly and broke into pieces.

Give your nonstick pans the help they need to yield great results. Had I lined this pan with parchment and/or treated it with pan spray, the cake would have popped right out.

Nonstick pan without any prep. “My pan’s nonstick, so why do I need to coat it with anything?” Cake batter is inherently sticky, and as it bakes it bonds to your pan’s surface. Even a nonstick pan can only go so far to resist this. Don’t be stubborn: Prep even your nonstick cake pan.

A little upkeep goes a long way

If you use a nonstick cake pan — a 9” round, 8” square, Bundt, springform, whatever — and you prep it with pan spray, wash the pan in warm soapy water just as soon as you’ve removed the cake, while the pan is still warm. Pan spray bonds to nonstick pans as they cool, forming a tacky residue that builds up over time and, counterintuitively, negates the pan’s nonstick qualities. It’s a real pain to scrub off that stickiness without damaging the pan’s surface — so clean up as you go!

Bundt cakes: They’re the bane of stick-fearful cake bakers everywhere! For help, see How to prevent Bundt cakes from sticking.

Cover photo (Classic Birthday Cake) by John Sherman.

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It’s pretty normal to want to bake cakes from time to time as a tasty treat for the entire family to enjoy.

Your cakes are likely a very big hit, but it can be kind of a nuisance when you have trouble removing the cake from its pan. If your cake just seems to keep sticking to the pan, then you might be wondering what you’re doing wrong.

There are actually several things that you can do to keep this from happening to you.

Keep reading to get all of the information about how to keep cake from sticking to the pan. You’ll feel much more confident in your ability to bake cakes that will be easy to enjoy for all.

1 – Consider Using Parchment Paper

Perhaps the best thing that you can do to keep cakes from sticking to pans is to utilize parchment paper. Parchment paper is very inexpensive overall, and it winds up doing a great job of preventing your cakes from getting stuck in the pan.

All you really need to do is cut the parchment paper down to the right size so that it will fit in the bottom of whatever pan you’re using to bake a cake.

You can easily trace the bottom of your cake pan with the parchment paper so that you can cut out the perfect shape. Most people use a permanent marker to trace the shape of the pan, and then they proceed to cut the parchment paper using a pair of kitchen scissors.

Once this is finished, you’ll be able to place the parchment paper on the bottom of the pan to get better results.

Just line the bottom of the cake pan with the parchment paper so that you can avoid having issues with your cake sticking. Parchment paper isn’t the only thing that you should do to help with this process, but it is very helpful overall.

You can go on to the next steps without utilizing parchment paper, but it’s highly recommended to use the parchment paper if you have some.

2 – Greasing Your Cake Pan

Greasing your cake pan is the next important recommendation that you need to go over. You have a few options when you’re getting ready to go through this process. You can grease your cake pan using vegetable shortening or you can utilize standard butter to get this done.

Many bakers prefer to use vegetable shortening for this process because they seem to get better results. Water can cause the cake to stick to the pan, and butter is made up of more water than vegetable shortening is.

Thankfully, vegetable shortening isn’t going to add to or detract from the taste of your cake in any way.

If you think that using butter will make your cake taste better in the long run, then you’re probably not exactly right. The amount of flavor that would be added to your cake from a thin layer of butter on the bottom would be very minute.

In fact, you might not even wind up noticing it at all, and that will make using the butter more impractical when compared to using the more reliable vegetable shortening.

Once you’ve chosen what you want to use for your cake pan, it’s simply going to be time to smear the butter or shortening on the cake pan itself. It’s usually a good idea to try to get both the bottom of the cake pan and the sides of the cake pan.

You’ll find that cake can stick to the side of the pan sometimes if you don’t do a good job of greasing it.

As a bit of extra advice, try not to use so much vegetable shortening or butter that you can see thick concentrations of it on the pan. You want to create a thin layer of vegetable shortening or butter to act as a greasing agent.

If you use too much, then you might wind up not getting the perfect results that you want.

3 – Sprinkle Some Flour as Well

It’s also going to be beneficial to go ahead and sprinkle a little bit of flour on the bottom of your pan.

A small amount of flour can be sprinkled directly on top of the butter or vegetable shortening that you’re using to grease the pan. You should maybe have around an inch of flour coating the bottom of the pan to have this work out correctly.

Don’t skip this step if you want to ensure that your cake will be easy to get out of the pan. It doesn’t take all that long to sprinkle flour at the bottom of the pan, and you almost surely have extra flour if you’re baking a cake.

You’ll be glad that you took the time to do this when your cake comes out of the pan very easily after it has come out of the oven and cooled off.

4 – Use a Non-Stick Pan

Of course, some people absolutely love to use non-stick cake pans that are designed to be easy to use.

These types of cake pans have a special non-stick coating that is made to prevent things from sticking to them. You should have an easier time getting a cake to come out of these pans without sticking at all.

If you have the choice to use a non-stick cake pan, then you should probably go ahead and try it out. Overall, the non-stick cake pans that are on the market work very nicely to help you remove cakes without it being a hassle.

However, you shouldn’t expect the cake to absolutely never stick to these types of pans.

Non-stick cake pans might be easier to use than standard cake pans when you’re trying to avoid having cake stick to the pan, but that doesn’t mean that they’re perfect.

Sometimes you might encounter an issue where the cake will stick to the pan despite it being a non-stick pan. This is why most experts and baking enthusiasts recommend greasing your cake pan no matter what.

If you want to ensure that your cake isn’t going to stick to the pan, then the most reliable thing to do is to go ahead and grease it.

The methods for greasing a cake pan mentioned above are very simple, and you can easily combine this with the benefits of a non-stick cake pan. It gives you an even greater likelihood that you won’t have to worry about a thing.

Advice for Removing Cake From a Pan

It’s also true that how you go about removing a cake from its pan can make quite a bit of difference. If you want to ensure that your cake gets removed from the pan without sticking, then you need to be patient.

First, you should know that you need to wait at least 15 minutes for the pan to cool before you try to remove the cake.

Once this is done, you’re going to want to take a thin knife so that you can loosen the edges around the pan. This is going to be true whether you’re making a circular cake or a rectangular cake.

The size isn’t really going to change how you should go about readying the cake to be removed from the pan either.

After you have done a good job of loosening the sides of the cake from the pan, it’s going to be time to remove it. Some people will flip the cake pan upside down so that it can gently slide onto a plate or cooling rack.

If you’ve greased the cake properly, then it shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish this.

You could also flip the cake pan upside down while holding your hand underneath the cake. Slowly lower your hand and gravity should help you to remove the cake from its pan. You can then safely set the cake down on whatever surface you’re planning to place it on.

As long as you’re being careful with how you’re going about this, it shouldn’t be too hard to get good results. If the cake is still sticking to the pan after all of the above advice, then you might have done something wrong or missed a step.

Check to see if you greased the pan properly and try to remember to go through all of the steps to get better results next time.

Enjoy Your Delicious Cake

Now that you know how to remove a cake from the pan without having it stick, it’s going to be easier to just focus on enjoying your delicious cake.

Your cake is something that can bring the whole family together, and it’s great to be able to remove the cake from its pan without it being a hassle. The next time you bake a cake for your loved ones, you’re going to have a much easier time than before.

Every cake that you decide to bake is going to be so much easier to get out of the pan.

Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.

Make your first attempt at that six-layer cake a success by ensuring it doesn’t fall apart when removed from the pan. Not all cakes require your baking pan to be greased and/or floured. (Angel food cakes, for example, are baked in tube pans that allow cakes to be easily removed without greasing.) But most of the time, you’ll find even a basic yellow cake recipe calls for your pan to be greased prior to putting it in the oven. Once you know how to grease a pan properly, you’ll be able to get cakes out of the pan without any worries at all.

How to Grease and Flour a Pan

Cakes that will be removed from the pan call for a greased and floured pan; recipes that are served in the pan simply call for greasing. If your recipe doesn’t call for a greased pan, skip this step.

Brush pan with shortening

Using a pastry brush ($11, Bed Bath & Beyond) or paper towel, brush solid shortening evenly over the bottom of the pan, being careful not to leave any uncoated, shiny spots. When greasing the sides and corners of the pan, turn the pan as you grease. Don’t grease all the way to the top of the pan; grease only about 1 inch up the sides. Take extra care when greasing fluted tube pans, making sure you’ve coated the entire surface, including crevices. Cakes baked in these kinds of pans are notorious for sticking.

Flour the pan

When pan is completely greased, sprinkle a few spoonfuls of all-purpose flour into the bottom. If you’re baking a chocolate cake, consider using unsweetened cocoa powder instead of flour for a nice deep brown color and enhanced chocolate flavor.

Evenly distribute flour

Hold one edge of the pan; tap the other with free hand to distribute the flour. The flour will “skate” over the greased surface and stick to it. When the bottom of the pan is coated, tilt the pan, tapping to move the flour over the sides. Tap out any extra flour into the garbage.

Test Kitchen Tip: For a quick nonstick brush-on, stir together ¼ cup each vegetable oil, shortening, and flour. Brush on pans instead of greasing/flouring.

How to Line a Pan with Parchment Paper or Waxed Paper

The extra step of lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper ($4, Target) is an even surer method for getting the cake out of the pan, especially those that are more likely to stick (we’re looking at you, carrot cake). Keep in mind that you can only use this method for cakes baked in flat-bottom pans. Use the grease-and-flour method, above, for fluted tube pans.

Trace the pan

With a clean pair of kitchen scissors, cut just inside the traced line on the paper. Press it into the corners, smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles.

Fit paper, then grease and flour

To get a layer cake out of a pan, place a wire rack over the top of the cake and flip the cake and the pan.

Lift pan off cake

Lift the pan off the cake, being careful not to tear the edges of the cake.

Remove paper, if used

Gently and immediately peel the waxed or parchment paper (if used) off the cake. Cool cake as directed in your recipe. If you’re removing a cake roll from the pan, loosen the cake from the edges of the pan with a knife or offset spatula and turn out the cake onto a prepared kitchen towel before cooling as directed.

Put your cake-making knowledge to good use and practice some baking therapy with a delightful champagne cake with strawberries. Or go for a classic chocolate cake. Don’t forget the ice cream!

No matter what kind of cake you’re making—a rustic, can’t-go-wrong number like Ree Drummond’s Chocolate Strawberry-Nutella Cake or a more formal stack like her Coconut Layer Cake—a stuck cake can be super frustrating. Good news, though: all is not lost! Even if your cake sticks, you can still save it. Read on and we’ll break it down: how to remove a cake from a pan, what to do if it’s stuck, and how to prevent it sticking next time!

Let it cool.

Unless your recipe specifies otherwise, let the cake cool completely to allow the structure to solidify. Cooling the cake on a wire rack speeds up the process, as it allows air to circulate underneath the cake pan as well.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that you should make sure your cake is fully baked (a toothpick should come out clean and the top should spring back to the touch). An under-baked cake will be tricky to remove intact.

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Run a thin, sharp knife or offset spatula along the edge of the cake to loosen it. Do this slowly and take care to not cut into the cake.

Invert the cake.

Now it’s time to flip that pan over and hope for the best! Find a serving platter, plate or wire cooling rack large enough to hold the cake. Next, cover the cake pan with the inverted platter, then hold them together securely and invert—the cake should pop right out.

Give it time.

If you invert your cake and it doesn’t pop out, give it a minute: Let the cake sit inverted and try gently tapping the inverted bottom of the pan or shake the pan slightly to see if these movements help release the cake. Hopefully gravity will come to the rescue.

Heat it or chill it.

Extreme heat or cold can help your cause: Try wrapping the inverted cake pan bottom in a kitchen towel soaked in hot water—the heat may help loosen the cake, prompting it to fall out. Conversely, set a bowl of ice-filled water on top of the inverted pan, as the chill may help solidify the bottom of the cake; this may help it fall out or set up the cake bottom. You can also try freezing the cake: Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, then try inverting and tapping it out. Its frozen state allows you to be a bit more aggressive with the tapping and prying without hurting the cake. Run a small rubber spatula along the sides and even slightly underneath to help pry out the cake.

Squeeze out the cake.

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Consider this a last-ditch effort: After loosening the edges from the pan and trying just about everything else, use two forks or small rubber spatulas to gently squeeze the cake to help it release. Position the utensils across from each other on opposite sides of the pan, then squeeze and lift slightly, gently and carefully, working your way around the pan. Go slow and be patient, as this process may alter the round edges of the cake—nothing a thick coat of frosting can’t fix!—but it may also help nudge out the cake. Carefully invert the cake again, keeping your fingers crossed.

Serve it in the pan.

If all else fails, frost and decorate your cake in the pan and serve it scooped straight out of the pan. It may not look the way you originally intended, but it will taste the same! (This even works for a batch of mini bundt cakes.)

Grease the pan.

Be sure to thoroughly coat the pan, whether it’s with butter, oil, shortening, or cooking spray. Use a pastry brush, your fingers, a paper towel or even the wrapper from a stick of butter and make sure you get the corners and edges!

Sprinkle with flour.

After the pan has been greased, sprinkle in a little flour, then tilt the pan every which way so that the flour is evenly distributed. If you’re coating a decorative bundt pan, make sure that you’ve gotten into all of the nooks and crannies. Once the cake pan has been evenly dusted with flour, invert it and tap lightly so the excess falls away. This layer of flour creates an extra lining to prevent the cake batter from sticking.

Line with parchment.

Cut parchment paper to the size of the flat bottom of your pan. Be sure the parchment lies flat—smooth out any wrinkles—before proceeding with the recipe. This is especially easy for a springform pan when making cheesecake.

Grease and flour the parchment.

This isn’t totally necessary as parchment is nonstick, but it can help. Grease the parchment and dust with flour, or use a cooking spray that contains flour.

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Ready to learn how to prevent bundt cakes from sticking to the pan? Keep reading.

There’s nothing more frustrating than spending time, effort, and money on making what you hope will be a beautiful cake, only to have it stick to the sides of the pan and be completely ruined.

This is such a common problem, but luckily there are a few tricks that will make sticky, ugly bundt cakes a thing of the past. No more cake breaks!

Below I list my top tips on how to prevent bundt cakes from sticking, but here’s a little disclaimer before you dive in.

You have to find what works for YOU. I talk about this all of the time in The Handle the Heat Baking School. Everyone’s kitchen environment, ingredients, equipment, etc. are different. What works well in someone’s kitchen might not work as well in yours. So take what works for you and toss the rest.

Use a simple, good quality nonstick bundt pan and take proper care of it.

How do you know if the pan is high quality? Well, online reviews are the quickest and easiest way to tell. Also, keep to pans with simple designs. The more intricate, the more likely sticking will occur. This bundt pan is a great option, as is the one shown below in the photo!

But what’s just as important is how well you take care of your pan. For example, I had a bundt pan that never got sticky. Until recently. I realized it had been thrown in the dishwasher a few times, and someone had used an abrasive sponge to clean it.

Dishwashers, abrasive sponges and detergents, and any metal utensils will all damage the nonstick coating of your bundt pan. Over time, this can degrade the integrity of this coating, leading to sticky messes. The best way to care for your pan is to gently hand wash it, dry it completely, and avoid any metal utensils.

Use the right type of grease.

I generally prefer to avoid using aerosol nonstick cooking sprays on nonstick bakeware. Over time, they can also degrade the nonstick coating. I also avoid using butter to grease bundt pans, because the milk solids can bind the cake to the pan. If you’ve used butter and it’s not caused any problems for you, then keep using it.

What I find works really well is melted shortening. This is basically the only time I use shortening, funnily enough. Alternatively, I have successfully used baker’s nonstick cooking spray, specifically Baker’s Joy. However, it may degrade that nonstick coating over time if used often.

Try Cake Goop.

This mixture is something Great British Baking Show winner Edd Kimber swears by! Measure equal parts (by volume) shortening, flour and vegetable oil. This will create a paste. Use a silicone pastry brush to brush the Goop inside the bundt cake pan, getting into all the nooks and crannies, not forgetting the center column.

Grease every nook and cranny, *just before* baking.

The type of grease you use is important, but it can be useless if you don’t get it into every nook and cranny. Use a silicone pastry brush to generously apply the grease to all the crevices of the pan, being careful to get every square centimeter, including that middle column. Do this just before you pour the cake batter into the pan. If you do this too soon, the grease will slide down the pan and accumulate liquid at the bottom.

Do you flour a bundt pan?

If you’ve greased and floured your bundt pans with success, keep doing it. I personally find this can either create more sticking, or ruin the look of the bundt pan. If you want an extra barrier to prevent sticking, nut flour (like almond flour) can actually work really well!

If you’re baking a chocolate cake, try sprinkling the pan with cocoa powder.

Loosen the edges after baking.

Use a small, flexible silicone or plastic utensil to loosen the edges of the cake before attempting to remove it from the pan. Plastic or silicone will help prevent scratching the nonstick surface or cutting the cake. My favorite Kuhn Rikon plastic offset spatula has been discontinued, unfortunately, but something similar to the smallest spatula in this set that can easily glide in small nooks and crannies to help to release the cake should work just fine!

Get upside down. Let the bundt cake cool before removing from the pan.

No, not the scary alternate reality from Stranger Things. Let the cake rest for 5 minutes once you remove it from the oven. Then, flip the cake onto a cooling rack upside down and let it rest for about 5 minutes before you remove the pan. A little trick here is to use a grid cooling rack, not one that has big gaps. That can cause the cake to settle into the gaps and makes it harder to transfer to a platter.

The best way to get a stuck bundt cake out of the pan

If your cake doesn’t look like it’ll release, here’s a trick.

If you have a steamer, apply steam to the exterior of the pan to help loosen the cake. If you don’t, place a kitchen towel in your sink and pour boiling water over it until it’s soaked and steaming. Remove your cake from the oven and place on top of the towel and let it sit and steam for about 10 minutes.

If your cake really doesn’t look like it’ll release, try freezing it until hard then invert it.

How to repurpose a stuck bundt cake

If you can’t seem to remove the bundt cake in one piece, it’s time to pivot! Making a trifle, cake pops, or even slicing the intact part and grilling it up to serve with fresh fruit are fun options.

I hope you found these tips for how to get cake out of the bundt pan helpful. If you have a tip to add, please leave a comment below!

Bundt Cake Recipes to Try

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Even after a sponge cake has been baked to perfection and taken out of the oven, mistakes can still occur and destroy the cake. What causes my sponge cake to be sticky? is one of the most commonly asked questions.

What causes my sponge cake to be sticky?

The moisture evaporates and needs to go somewhere when the cake bakes. Moisture evaporates through the top. As a result, the cake’s top retains more moisture; sometimes, the cake remains sticky after baking.

Taking the cake out of the oven too soon or covering and wrapping it before it has totally cooled also results in a sticky cake. This creates that sticky feel by trapping moisture inside. Simply allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack to avoid this mishap.

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How to prevent it?

There are several cake errors that one must handle. Cakes with a sinking center, cakes with cracks, sticky cakes, cakes that collapse, and more.

Each of us has encountered unsuccessful cakes on more than one occasion.

A lot of labor, ingredients, and time is consumed during the preparation of any cake, and every baker gets disappointed when they don’t get the expected results.

When making a sponge cake, I personally always keep these things in mind and do not end up with a sticky cake.

Room Temperature Ingredients

There are only three components in a conventional sponge cake: flour, sugar, and eggs. Ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature before proceeding with the process of measuring and mixing.

Measuring Ingredients Correctly

As always, I advise measuring the dry and wet ingredients accurately. You must have a digital weighing scale in your kitchen. It accurately weighs the ingredients and provides measurements down to the half-gram.

Since the sponge cake only contains sugar, eggs, flour (occasionally leavening agents), and no fats, measure each component properly.

Use Fresh Ingredients

I also suggest that you use the freshest ingredients you can find, including eggs, flour, and baking powder.

Old eggs, baking powder, and flour cannot yield the best results.

If you have a leavening agent that has been sitting in your pantry for many days, it will not give you the desired results.

Always check the expiry before adding it to the flour mixture.

Air Humidity

Humidity can cause baked goods to become overly moist or sticky, resulting in a sticky texture. To prevent this, increase the baking time a bit.

A fan-forced oven gives the best results when baking in a humid environment. You can also try using a lower oven temperature and/or adding a few more minutes to the baking time.

Follow the Folding Technique

When it comes to mixing ingredients, the most important tip is to beat the eggs until they are light yellow and frothy. This will give the sponge cake a light and airy texture.

If there isn’t enough air trapped in the mixture to give it a lift, insufficient creaming of sugar and eggs will also result in a sticky texture.

When adding the flour, you should sift it first to avoid lumps. After the flour has been sifted, gently fold it into the mixture using a figure-eight motion.

The air that has been contained in the batter will be lost if you vigorously mix the batter. Avoid overmixing the batter.

Substituting Ingredients

Some people ask if we can use brown sugar instead of regular sugar in a sponge cake; the answer is NO.

Sugar is generally considered a wet ingredient, and brown sugar has more moisture than white sugar. Therefore, you should not substitute white sugar in a sponge cake.

A cake’s taste, texture, and the overall outcome can be significantly changed by substituting ingredients.

If you need to make a change, it’s best to start with a different cake recipe.

Add a Little Cornstarch

One reason for a sticky cake is adding less amount of flour. To measure it accurately, it’s advisable to measure it on a digital weighing scale. Remove a tbsp of flour and replace the same quantity of cornstarch instead will give you the best result when baking sponge cakes. Cornstarch helps absorb extra moisture and gives the cake a light texture.

Perfect Baking Time

Make sure your cake is thoroughly baked before being removed from the oven. Taking the cake out too soon will make the cake sticky.

Check it by eyeballing the cake center or using a wooden skewer. If the center is still moist, put the cake back in the oven, and bake for a few additional minutes.

Oven Temperature

Lastly, make sure to preheat the oven properly before baking the cake. Set the oven to the specified temperature in the recipe and place the cake in the oven for the suggested baking time. Taking the cake out of the oven sooner will subsequently result in a sticky sponge cake.

If your cakes are sticky, they could be underbaked, or the oven was too hot for the recipe. To avoid a sticky cake, ensure that your oven is preheated, use an oven thermometer to check the temperature periodically, and use a cake tester or toothpick to check the cake’s doneness before removing it from the oven.

Do Not Cover your Sponge Cake

Do not cover the cake once it has been removed from the oven and is allowed to cool on a wire rack. When the cake is covered, the heat inside the sponge converts to moisture, which subsequently causes the sponge to become sticky.

Furthermore, avoid cutting the cake while it’s still hot, as it might cause the cake to stick to the knife. Before cutting, let the cake cool completely.

Bake it Again

Cover the top of your cake pan with a paper towel. The paper towel should not touch the cake, it will absorb extra moisture from your cake. Or sprinkle some caster sugar over the top of the cake before popping it back into the oven for a few minutes.

Then, simply place it in the preheated oven for five minutes, check to see if it’s still sticky, and place it back in until it’s well baked.

Check frequently during the process.

Trim the Top Layer

The top layer of the cake can be trimmed to get perfect layers if there is still moisture there. After trimming, start frosting the cake if it looks fine or proceeds to the next step.


You may also chill and dry your baked goods by putting them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Refrigerators are famous for their dry environment and dehumidifying properties since they naturally dehumidify the air by cooling their interiors.

Keep that in mind when storing your baked goods, as excessive exposure can cause them to dry out completely.

Once it’s cool, take it out from the refrigerator and continue with frosting and decorating with whipped cream.


Even though a sticky top is a common baking problem, you can definitely fix it and prevent it now that you know a few tricks and techniques.

Try not to stress out too much if this problem does occur. Accept little imperfections and enjoy the delicious cake!

And without a massive crumby mess.

The phrase “moment of truth” is best suited to acts of extreme bravery, risk, and valor. Perfect example: trying to extract a fresh-baked cake from its pan. It’s stuck, it’s scorching, and you were supposed to be feeding it to people several minutes ago. Before you panic and crumble your mom’s birthday treat into pieces, deep breath. We’ve got this. (And if you do accidentally break the cake, there are a few delicious ways to cover your slip-up.)

The trick is easy. Start by making sure your cake is fully baked, as an underdone dessert is far more likely to stick to the pan. “The edges of a fully baked cake will start to come away from the sides of the pan,” explains Chef Angela Garbacz, baking expert and author of Perfectly Golden: Adaptable Recipes for Sweet and Simple Treats. “Also, when you gently poke the center of the cake, it should not have any give and will bounce back immediately. You can also insert a paring knife or toothpick into the center to check for doneness. If it comes out clean, the cake is baked,” she adds.

Next, give your cake sufficient time to cool—ideally to room temperature for about an hour. According to Garbacz, allowing layer cakes to cool in their pans lets the outside of the cake steam a bit, which helps keep the edges super soft. “But for cakes such as banana bread or pound cake, I like to unmold them from their pans after about 10 minutes. These cakes do well cooling outside their pans so they form a bit more of a crust.” You can take them out of their pans and let them cool directly on the serving plate, on parchment paper, or on a cooling rack.

Finally: the moment of truth. “Start by running a butter knife around the edge of the pan, between the cake and the pan,” says Garbacz. “Make sure the knife stays in contact with the side of the pan the entire time—this ensures you will have a nice edge on the cake, and you aren’t cutting into the cake itself.” If you greased your pan sufficiently before baking, this should do the trick.

If your cake is really stuck, and you can see that the butter knife method won’t work, wrap the cake and pan in plastic wrap and freeze for at least six hours or up to a day. A cold cake is less likely to fall apart when you start to pry it out of the pan. Once chilled, slide the butter knife around the rim of the pan once more. Then flip the pan over and tap an edge on a board while holding the pan at a 45-degree angle to pop the entire cake out.

Still no luck? Try this hack: Run a small butter knife or offset spatula around the cake rim to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Working around the whole cake, insert two forks on the opposite ends of the pan and use the forks as levers, squeezing and nudging the cake to loosen it. Flip the pan over the board, and the cake should come out.

If none of these methods work, just frost the cake and serve it directly from the pan like a sheet cake. Life is short! Then opt to never deal with a baked-in cake again.

If life (or a long day in the kitchen) gives you torn cake, don’t despair. Make a trifle!

Photo: Greg DuPree

You may be one of those lucky bakers who have perfect success with every cake. Your layer cakes never dome at the center, your pound cakes never have a sad streak or crusty top, and your puddings are always thick and smooth, never watery or lumpy. Sadly, I am not one of those bakers. As much as I love to bake, especially during the fall and winter months when I bake the family favorite Fresh Apple Cake, I often have trouble with my Bundt cakes sticking to the pan. Is it the pan? Am I greasing it wrong? Is the cake sitting in the pan too long? After some sleuthing among the Southern Living Test Kitchen professionals, I came up with this cheat sheet of things to watch for when baking Bundt cakes.

Choose the Right Pan

Choose a pan with a non-stick coating, which allows a cake to come out cleanly, even from all the nooks and crannies of an elaborately designed Bundt pan. When deciding on a pan, choose one that is metal and not too dark. Aluminum pans are best because they conduct heat well, and a lighter-colored pan will prevent the over-browning that often occurs with the darker pans. Even though most recipes will tell you to grease and flour your pan (or use a baking spray) before baking, a nonstick finish will give you added protection against a cake sticking to the sides of the pan. Be careful of older non-stick pans, as a scratched and worn surface will no longer be effective and slick enough to release the cake without any tearing.

Prepare the Pan

Most recipes begin by telling you to preheat your oven and prepare your cake pan. Oftentimes (especially in summertime down South), your kitchen really heats up when the oven is turned on. Greasing a cake pan too early allows the oil to slide down the inside of the pan and pool in the bottom. Try waiting until after you have mixed the batter and then prepare the cake pan.

Use the Right Greaser

Use a pastry brush to grease the pan thoroughly with solid shortening. Make sure to paint all the crevices of the pan so the cake will release easily and the design will be sharply defined. Do not use butter; the milk solids in butter can act like glue, causing the cake batter to stick to the pan. After greasing, sprinkle some flour in the pan, hold it over a sink, and tilt the pan in a circular motion in order to distribute the flour evenly. Then flip the pan over and tap out the excess flour to prevent a buildup of grease and flour on the finished cake. Don’t forget to grease and flour the center tube of the pan.

Let the Cake Cool

After removing from the oven, place the pan on a wire rack and let cool; your recipe will specify the required time, usually from 10-20 minutes. This allows the cake to become firm enough to remove from the pan without breaking apart. At this point, you can carefully slide a table knife down the sides of the pan to release any sticking spots. After the required cooling time (cooling too long in the pan will cause the cake to be damp and stick to the pan), tap the pan firmly a few times and shake it gently to help loosen the cake. Invert the pan onto the rack, lift it off, and let the cake continue to cool on the rack.

If All Fails, Make It a Trifle

Ideally, the cake pan slid off without a hitch, and you are left with a gorgeously smooth Bundt cake. On those occasions where you did everything right and the cake still tore up (we all have those times, no matter how many cakes we have baked) just keep a stiff upper lip and turn that torn cake into a delicious trifle, complete with fresh fruit, sweet cream, or creamy pudding. Your guests will never know what really happened!

It seems like some people have a knack for turning out incredible desserts all the time. For some sourdough warriors, though, baking remains a daunting task. If the cake doesn’t burn, the décor is poorly done. If the cookies don’t get too hard (enough to break your teeth), they stick on the baking pan. In all your baking endeavors, something almost always goes wrong.

The good news is that with the best tips and the right advice, you can make mouthwatering desserts that are delicious and appealing. Here, we have made a brief rundown of the most important baking tips of all time to help you become a top-rated baker.

Flavor is King

One general baking rule is, ‘get the perfect flavor and texture’ for your dessert. If a cake does not have a good taste and the right texture, it’s pointless to consider how good it looks. The flavor, good or bad, stays in our memory long after we have taken the cake. As such, you may want to focus on getting the right flavor combinations as well as the texture.

After all, getting the flavor right is essential from the beginning, but you can worry about decor much later.

Do Not Rush

Like most things in life, rushing the process ruins everything. Don’t start baking if you only have an hour to bake when the baking process itself requires 80 minutes. Instead, do it another day when you have enough time. It’s wise to savor the time you spend baking instead of running helter-skelter in the kitchen in an attempt to have a baked product.

Mistakes are also likely to happen when you rush. Besides, you may not have enough time to prepare the different ingredients for your recipe. As a rule of thumb, consider allowing 25% extra time to any baking mix. This time allowance is in case anything needs to be redone or some ingredients require special preparation (like egg whites).

Read and Follow Recipe

Sometimes it’s the excitement of making a new treat while at other times it’s due to unnecessary hurry that baking enthusiasts fail to read the recipe. And when they do, they only scan through it as they bake.

While this approach goes down well with some recipes, it often leads to epic baking fails or at the very least, wasted ingredients. Reading the recipe ahead helps you know the how, why, where, and when of what you are about to do.

For instance, imagine realizing too late the sugar was supposed to be sifted and split between two different steps. Or that the cookie dough required two hours refrigeration.

Read through the recipe 2-3 times and prepare well unless you don’t mind a recipe disaster (such as mad-dashing to the store or making a substitution because you are out of an ingredient).

Avoid Substitutes

There is a certain spontaneity allowed in cooking that doesn’t apply to baking. In your next baking project, avoid reducing sugar, subbing out eggs, all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, egg whites instead of whole cakes, baking soda for powder, etc.

Baking is considered an exact science, and the combination of ingredients works together in specific ways to bring out the best product. For example, adding fresh blueberries to a batter may taste great, but this has proved to add moisture.

Likewise, unless otherwise stated, do not substitute a 9-inch cake pan for a 6-inch cake pan and vice versa. Using the correct size pan helps you prevent poor outcomes such as dense cakes, overflowing cakes, sunken cakes, flimsy cakes, etc.


The phrase “measure twice cut once” holds true for baking. Take time to measure all the ingredients correctly. Excellent baking requires proven techniques, tested recipes, and ultimately, precise ratios.

Eyeballing measurements or using the addage of a handful of chocolate chips is the best way to mess up your recipe. If you want consistently successful results, take the time to accurately and carefully measure all ingredients.

Consider using a scale so that you can measure ingredients by weight rather than by volume. Ask any professional baker, and they will tell you that they prefer measuring by weight instead of measuring by volume. Measuring by volume is inaccurate and often leads to inconsistent results.

Go for Gold

Although natural and organic ingredients are a tad more expensive, they will greatly enhance the quality and taste of your desserts. You don’t have to break the bank, though. Go for the highest quality (preferably natural) ingredients that your budget allows.

If you can, use good quality chocolate and cocoa and organic eggs as much as you can.

Maintain Optimum Oven Temperatures

Ovens are like humans. Well, not exactly, but they all have their own quirks and foibles and may end up being cooler or hotter than the temperature they are set to.

Even if your oven is off by only a couple of degrees, that’s enough to ruin what you’re baking. If you suspect your oven is overreading (hot) or under-reading (cold), use an oven thermometer to know and set the accurate oven temperature. Oven thermometers are inexpensive yet invaluable in a baker’s kitchen.

Don’t put your bake in the oven if it is not preheated. Failing to preheat your oven causes the desserts to bake at uneven heat, which results in poorly baked goods.

For instance, it may lead to burnt edges, tops, or bottoms while centers remain under-baked or soggy. You may also take unnecessarily long to bake. Some recipes recommend letting the oven preheat for at least an hour.

Consider turning on your oven as you prepare the ingredients so that it’s preheated by the time you are ready to bake.

Although you are excited about what’s baking, do not open the oven often as the desserts bake. Constantly opening and closing the oven door offsets the air temperature and circulation, which causes the bake to collapse.

Drastic temperature change is the primary reason why cheesecakes develop cracks. If you must open the oven door during baking, do so gently to ensure minimum effect on the oven temperature and air circulation. Avoid opening the oven until the recommended minimum baking time has elapsed.

Let Your Cookie Dough Ripen

Make your cookie dough and let it hang out in the fridge for a day or two. This firms the dough a little bit and decreases the chances of overspreading.

In addition, chilling your cookie dough dries out the dough a little bit and yields a cookie that is thicker, more solid, and with a better flavor and texture. Also, a chilled cookie dough is much easier to handle and shape.

Line Your Baking Pans

You may also want to line your baking pans with parchment paper or silicone liners. Parching the baking pans is more reliable than greasing them and allows you to transfer your baked goods without them falling apart or tearing.

Moreover, your desserts are likely to over-brown when you use a greased sheet, while a parchment paper/silicone lining helps them to bake perfectly.

Check for Doneness

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the clock. Observing the recommended baking time is the difference between a beautifully light, airy cake and a tough, overdone cake.

You can determine if a cake is cooked through by testing with a toothpick. Stick a toothpick through the center of the cake, and if it comes out clean, it’s done.

However, if you don’t want to fumble around with a toothpick, remove the cake from the oven and then gently press down on the cake. If the cake rises completely, it’s baked. If your finger left a dent in the cake, it needs a little more time in the oven. This trick applies to cupcakes and muffins as well.

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