How to Remove Cakes Perfectly

Kitchen Knowledge Lifestyle | Published July 28, 2022 by Mimi Council

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As a former bakery owner, I have removed a lot of cakes! I consider myself a pro at removing cakes with ease. I know how to remove cakes perfectly so nothing is wasted! So, I'm sharing all my tips and tricks for baking cakes and removing them from their pans.

For more baking tips and tutorials, check out some of my other posts like How to Make Picture Perfect Cookies. You'll also love How to Lattice a Pie Crust, or How to Make a Naked Cake.

chocolate strawberry sheet cake

So, how do you remove cakes perfectly from their pans every time? There are a few steps to ensure that your cakes come out perfectly each time. And I'm going to share my top tricks for removing cakes perfectly. I owned a bake shop for over 10 years; so I know a thing or two about removing cakes from their pans efficiently! When you own a bake shop you can't have cakes breaking on you. Time is money and you're usually on a really tight schedule, so removing cakes perfectly is crucial.

How to Remove Cakes Perfectly Every Time

Use Parchment Paper

This one is key, and I think it's something that is overlooked by home bakers. I usually say parchment paper isn't usually required for most things, but it sure does make it a hell of a lot easier! And if you bake a lot, don't you want to make things with more ease? I use unbleached parchment paper all the time. You can easily find this on Amazon. Or if you prefer the white option for photos then Kana Goods makes the best environmentally friendly option. Kana Goods also makes the certain pan size options so you don't have to cut the sheets. But, if you use the sheets you need to cut it to fit into the bottom of the pan perfectly.

Parchment paper is crucial for cakes as it gives them that extra layer of security. When you use parchment paper for cakes, you only have to worry about are the sides of the pan sticking. So, it really just takes the surface area for disaster down to way less!

Grease & Flour Your Pans

If you are not using parchment paper, then this is crucial! You can grease your pans with whatever fat you are using in the recipe. You can use butter, coconut oil, or canola oil, whatever you used in the recipe. Use that as a greaser and grease the pan with it well if you cannot get parchment paper. Then sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of that. Same thing here, use whatever flour you are using in the recipe. This will help cakes from sticking.

You can also grease and flour the sides of the pan even if you are using parchment paper. To be honest, I usually never do this! I'm kinda lazy here, and I never have problems, so I just don't do it, haha! But, it doesn't hurt if you want extra security. If you are making a Naked Cake, then it is crucial to grease and flour the sides of the pan. This is to ensure the cake sides look pretty as they will be exposed. That is the only time I really make sure I grease and flour the sides as well. But with layer cakes the sides will just be covered up!

toasted coconut bundt cake

Freeze Your Cakes

This may sound like something you don't want to do. You're making a fresh baked good, so why would you freeze it? Hear me out. Once your cakes have cooled, you want to freeze your cakes (in the pans) for about 20 to 30 minutes. What this does is it hardens the cake slightly. Cake is very light and spongy and it breaks easily, which is part of why we love it! The texture is light and fluffy, so it tastes amazing. But, that also means it can break very easily! So, if you freeze your cakes in the pans, it hardens that cake a little bit. This helps when removing, as your cake is solid and it can't break off a small piece or chunk easily.

Once my cakes cool, I place them in the freezer and I use that time to clean up my kitchen. Or I make the frosting or icing for the cake. And I get out my cake turntable and other tools I may need. It only takes a short amount of time in the freezer for this to be instrumental in removing your cakes with ease.

Use Your Stove or Oven

This is my top trick! So while you do put your cake in the freezer to harden, this can also make it more difficult to remove because it is cold. This is where the stovetop comes in. Turn your stove onto low. If you have a gas stove, you can use a cookie sheet if you prefer to not put the cake pan directly onto the flame. But either way is fine as long as it's low heat.

Turn the stove onto low, and place the cake (or cookie sheet with cake) on top of the burner. Let it sit there for about a minute. You don't want it to get that hot. You should be able to touch the entire thing with your hands without an oven mitt. If you got it so hot you need an oven mitt, then I would put the cake back in the freezer and start over as that cake is going to be super warm, and flimsy, so it could break easily! Once you remove the cake from the stove, you're almost ready to take it out!

If you are removing a bundt cake specifically, then you can also turn your oven on very low (250°F) and put the whole cake in the oven. You can let it bake for about 3 to 5 minutes. This can be more effective than the stovetop version for bundt cakes simply because there is so much surface area that holds a bundt cake in place. As opposed to a regular cake where it's mainly just the bottom of the cake. I also don't recommend putting regular cakes in the oven. They can become over baked and dry, because they bake for way less to begin with. Where bundt cakes are larger. So, they will usually bake for 1 hour or more. So adding a few extra minutes at a low temperature is not going to hurt the cake.

eggless strawberry shortcake

Cut Around the Edges

Right after the cake comes off the stove, it's best to go around the edge of the cake pans with a butter knife. Be careful not to scratch your pans, or cut your cake. That's why I use a butter knife as it's not very sharp. Sometimes there's a small spec of fat that didn't get mixed into your cake batter. And when this happens, it sticks like hell. So, this trick will help loosen that from the sides of the pan if you have any. It also loosens the cake in general so that it can fall out of the pan with ease.

The only time I don't recommend this is when you have a bundt cake. Because of the shape of the bundt pan, you can scratch the pan very easily by doing this. Instead, look around the edges of the pan and see if you see any bits of batter that could be stuck. If you do, use the butter knife (or even a chopstick!) and lightly go in between the cake and pan in that one spot. But, with layer cakes and sheet cakes, the pans are straight sided, so running a butter knife along the edges will be just fine.

Turn over the cake immediately after you do this, and it should literally fall right out of the pan! Especially if you have parchment paper covering the entire bottom of the pan! Then all you need to do is peel off the parchment paper, and you should have a perfect cake that is ready for frosting.

Video on How to Remove Cakes Perfectly Every Time

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