Sort of sounds like a Harry Potter charm, doesn’t it? Where’s my wand?
Anyhow, sometimes it feels like getting cakes to release from their pans is a magical trick in itself.
So, I thought I would share some tricks that I use to release my cakes, and they usually work great!

1.  Pan Goop

There are tons of recipes out there for goop (that’s a technical term, by the way), and I am a HUGE fan of it.  It is shelf stable, you can make a batch to have in your pantry, it releases cakes wonderfully, and if you run out of parchment – who cares?

The beauty of pan goop is that it takes very little to remember – 3 ingredients of equal amounts.  You can make as little or as much as you think you want to have on hand.

Are you ready?

1 – Vegetable Oil (not olive – it has too much of an odor/flavor)

2 – All Purpose Flour (I have actually used whole wheat flour in a pinch, and it was fine)

3 – Vegetable Shortening

Here’s my method (this doesn’t matter, but I find it efficient and only use one measuring cup without cleaning in between – score!).  I’m going to give an example using a 1 cup measure:

Equipment: A bowl, a 1-cup dry measure, and a small scraper/spatula


  • Add 1 cup of flour to the bowl
  • Add 1 cup of oil (using same measuring cup) to the bowl
  • Add 1 cup of shortening (using same measuring cup) to the bowl
  • Mix vigorously until combined.  Mine always has lumps and I don’t mind – they smooth out when I use the goop

That’s it.  Yup.  And now you have a batch of magic for your cake pans.

To use it, just brush on goop with a pastry brush to the bottoms and/or sides of your pans and the cakes will pop right out.  Note: I do find that goop makes pans a bit more annoying to clean, so soaking them is a good idea.

2. Parchment circles

Lining the bottoms of your pans with parchment can create another quick release for your cakes.  You can buy parchment circles to have ready for any size round pans, that is certain.  And, I have used them, they are very convenient.

But I also like to make my own, now that I know that it doesn’t take very long.

Equipment: Your cake pan, parchment paper (here is one brand I like and use), and a pair of scissors


  1. Lay your parchment over your pan to make sure you have a wide/long enough piece to fit

parchment over pan

2. Get your parchment into a square – you can do this by folding one corner over to meet the far edge (in a triangle) and cut off the bottom, and poof, a square!

Note – if I have more than one pan to make the same size parchment circle for, I double up my parchment and just follow all these instructions the same way.

parchment fold 1

3. Fold your parchment square into a triangle (or leave it in the triangle you made in step 2)

parchment fold 2

4. Now you’re going to repeat folding the triangle into smaller triangles.  Take the two outside corners and fold them together.  Repeat that a couple of times.  The number of times you fold the triangle will depend on how big or small your pan is.  In this case, I’m lining a 6″ pan, so I only folded it 3 times.

parchment fold 3 parchment fold 4 Parchment fold 5

4. To determine how much I should cut from my triangle, I take the bottom of my pan and measure my triangle against it.  Make sure you take into account that the pan edge may be relatively thick, so your measurement should take that into account as well.  To measure, I place the point of my triangle in the middle of the pan and use my thumb and forefinger to mark the outside edge where I’m going to cut.

measuring parchment

5. Now that I know where to cut, I take my scissors and cut a rounded (not TOO round) edge off the triangle’s end (where the parchment edges are)

6. Unfold your triangles, and poof!  Perfect parchment circles for your pans, every time.

To use the parchment circles, I don’t even grease my pans, unless the parchment is being ornery and not staying down.  When cakes are baked, I run a thin knife around the outside and then they drop right out!

There you have it – feel magical now?

I hope you give these methods a try, especially if you have had trouble in the past with getting your cakes to come out of your pans.

Let me know how you do!

Happy Baking!


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