It happens! even if you are an experienced cake baker, sooner or later a cake will stick to its pan. You followed the recipe doing everything correctly, and you greased and floured the pan before pouring in the batter.
Despite your efforts, the cake sticks. Now you have a problem. You need that cake out of the pan because it still has to be frosted before dinner time. How, you wonder, can I get it out without shredding it to pieces? Why is my cake sticking to the pan?
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Not to worry, friends in baking, there are still several things you can try to get that cake out of the pan when stuck and above all, in one piece.
The first thing to do is to let your cake cool completely before even attempting to remove it. Let it sit t room temperature for approximately a half-hour or more (never less!). A larger cake may need a bit longer for cooling.
To help your cake cool down quickly, place it while in the pan on a cooling rack. This is a great idea because the environmental air will be able to flow all around the pan, and specifically around the sides and bottom where the cake is doing most of the sticking.
If you don’t have much time, because you baked it close to dinner, or lunchtime, then you can stick it in the refrigerator to help things along.
First, allow the hot cake to cool for about 15 minutes on a cooling rack, and then place it in your refrigerator for another 10 minutes. This is a helpful option during the summer months or in hot weather when cooling isn’t helped by the kitchen temperature.
Loosening with a Knife or Spatula
After you cake has cooled to room temperature, use a flat palette knife to help loosen the cake from the sides of the pan.
Slide the knife between the cake and the pan and then begin to slowly move around the cake pan’s edge and side. Keep your knife as close as possible to the pan so you don’t accidentally cut into the cake itself.
Once you have loosened the sides, turn your cake in the pan upside down and ease the cake out over a plate. If you don’t have a palette knife, you can use a thin spatula in silicone or nylon.
Tapping Your Cake Out or Relying on Gravity
While the cake is sitting upright in its pan, cover it with the serving dish you are going to use for the cake. Keep a hold on that plate and flip your cake pan upside down so that your serving plate is now on the bottom. Begin tapping the cake pan and shake the pan very gently until it releases from the baking pan onto the serving plate.
If you don’t want to risk tapping or shaking, you can leave the cake upside down in the pan on the serving plate. Eventually, any butter or margarine that you used will help release the cake together with gravity.
You’re probably wondering how on earth a dish towel can get a cake out of a pan. I did too until I tried it.
Just soak dishtowel in nice hot water. Wring out all the excess water and now use the towel to wrap the bottom of the cake pan. Set it aside for approximately 15 minutes. As the pan warms up, it should help to release the cake.
A Microwave to the Rescue
No, you don’t have to zap your already baked cake! Pour boiling water into a good-sized mug and place the mug in the microwave oven.
Now position your cake on the top of the mug. Close the microwave and do not turn it on. Leave the cake in for several minutes to allow the steam from the boiling water to loosen the cake inside the pan. If you don’t have a microwave, don’t worry. Any closed space, even a cooled oven will do the trick.
Back to the Oven
When your cake is cooled, you can reheat your oven to 250°F. and return the cake to the warmed oven for five minutes. Then remove the cake and flip the cake over onto a cooling rack to cool. The pan should be removed easily.
Use Ice or Your Freezer
If you are using a flat round or square pan, you can turn your cake pan upside down onto a cooling rack or serving plate. Place a shallow bowl filled with ice cubes on the bottom of the cake pan. After several minutes your cake should slide out.
Cool the cake completely. Slide your palette knife or spatula around the sides and edges. Place your cake pan in your freezer and freeze for a couple of hours. Remove the cake from the freezer. Slide the knife around the pan edges once more. Flip your pan over and tap on the sides and bottom until the cake slips out of the pan.
How to Get a Cake Out of a Bundt Pan
A bundt pan will present its own set of challenges. Even if you grease and flour bundt pans before pouring in the cake batter, these pans still have a tendency to stick to the cake, especially bundt pans with ridges and designs.
A tip for preventing sticking is to flour your greased bundt pan with almond flour. This will help when it comes time to remove the cake.
If the preparatory techniques were not adequate and your bundt cake is still sticking to its pan. Cooling the bundt cake in its pan and then placing it in a warmed oven at 250°F. for five minutes works quite well with bundt cakes in particular. Remove the pan and flip the bundt cake over onto a cooling rack to cool. It should come out in one piece.
A Final Thought
Now, that you have several different ways to coax your freshly baked cake out of its pan, you have no further need to worry. Your cake will slide out easily with a little patience and one of these cake removal techniques.
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