Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How To Line Cake Pans

Close on the heels of the post on preparing tins for baking, here comes the next one. Am going to stick to just square and round tins as they are the most commonly used ones. Some people simply grease and flour their pans but lining them is just extra insurance to be doubly sure that the cake doesn't stick. Chocolate cakes are supposed to be even more notorious. You will appreciate the smooth top and sides when you want a neat ganache draped chocolate cake. That smooth top is joy to place candles on or scatter on some sprinkles for your little ones. 

Be it for a layer cake or a foam cake to frost, I would cry copious tears if I had to saw off a good portion of it to repair and even out the torn part. No that such bits and pieces are bad to eat, just saves you the trouble of baking another if its beyond repair. Hope I have sold the idea of lining pans to you?

Though you will find other ways of lining pans, here is what I find easiest. I must tell you, I am not an art or crafts person at all (Sr.Susan, my craft teacher in school will vouch for this!) and the first time I traced something after school was the outline of a baking tin. You know this but I will tell you -you simply need to keep the tin right side up on the baking parchment and trace the outline with a pencil (duh!). Use a pencil, pens don't work. Cut along the traced line as neatly as you can.

So when you are tracing one, you may as well cut more of these. Draw aligned to one side of the roll so that you can use the left over parchment for the sides. Convenient to have them on hand. Mark them as 8'' and 9'' if it helps. Store these flat in a box, they do kind of curl up though. Folding them gives irritating creases. Between you and me, I am not always so organized, I cut these out just for this post.

Again, follow recipe directions for greasing. This is when there are no specific instructions and the recipe just says  'grease and line the pans', or ' grease and line the pans, sides as well'

For all pans : Cut out parchment for the bottom of the pan as usual. Grease the bottom lightly and stick the parchment. Smoothen it out, grease lightly again.

For round pans when you need to line the sides too: Grease the sides lightly with butter or ghee. Do not flour as the parchment will not stick.

You will need the parchment lining to come up to the sides. If I make the sides higher  I always end up with a cake with a slight angle. So I avoid that. Measure the circumference and height of the tin using a tape and scale. Cut a strip of parchment according to it. Stick it along the sides. Cut it into two pieces if needed as its easier that way (see picture below). Grease it lightly again.

Square pan :You will find lining the sides particularly useful when you bake brownies and bars. Grease the pan lightly. Take a piece of parchment which is 4 inches wider and longer than the bottom of the pan. For example for an 8'' tin, cut out a 12''x12'' parchment.

Turn the pan upside down and center the parchment over it. Press hard at the edges to create an impression. . Fold, press and crease the corners over as though wrapping a present. Slip the liner off the pan. Cut at the corners as shown in the picture. Turn the pan right side up and insert the liner. Push in the strips at the corners, cut off excess. If needed, use a little more grease to keep the parchment in place. Grease it lightly again. Fold the excess over the sides of the pan. I know am bad explaining these things, so this is mostly ad verbatim from Alice Medrich. Try it, you will figure it out.

You could alternatively use aluminum foil and grease it but it tears easily. 

Bake-even strips / Cake Strips : When you bake a cake, the heat of the oven and also the heat of the metal bakes the cake. The batter on the sides cooks faster as it comes into contact with the hot metal. Sometimes cakes peak in the center and crack. It may look appealing sometimes in tea loaves but you want an even top in layer cakes. Sometimes the sides may be cooked or dried out and the center remains gummy. This is something you don't really want.

Bake-even strips are supposed to help get perfectly even tops while also helping the cake bake evenly. These strips are normally dampened and fastened on the  sides of the tin. This way the sides are insulated and the cake bakes evenly.You can buy cake strips or make your own since these are not commonly available in India. Here is the most common and easy home-made version. I don't use these but its surely worth a try.

Take a thick old cotton towel and cut out a strip to the circumference and height needed. It should come up all the way to the sides. You will need to fasten this with a strong pin or two so that its tight. (I would imagine this easier done well ahead, without batter in it)  Dip the strip in water, squeeze such that its very moist but not dripping wet. Pour the batter in the pan and bake. In case the strip feels dry, you could try covering the pan with a plate, carefully spray water on the strip to moisten it again.

This is how I line my pans, take it as a suggestion, stick to whatever works for you. Please do come back and tell me your favorite way of doing it!


sanjay said...

Thanks alot for the information. I like your blog. Can you enlighten me about non diary whipping cream please ? How long can we store a litre pack ? & also the whipped cream, what is its shelf life in freezer?TIA ,


Shweet Spicess said...

Thank you for such a lovely post :)

Kalpana Sareesh said...

wow well explained.

cindreen said...

Very well explained post, Thanks Suma!!!

Hobby Sewer said...


I am just a beginner in baking. This post of yours is really helpful. What is the lining paper called and in which stores in Bangalore is this available. (somewhere around indiranagar).

Thank you


Suma Rowjee said...

@Radhika - Its called baking parchment or parchment paper. Institute of Baking And Cake Art, Mission Road would be the nearest store you could get this at.

Suma Rowjee said...

@ Sanjay - Thank you! Please check my post on How To Whip Cream

Sapna said...

I was searching for information to refine my baking skills. Came across ur site. Very informative. Thank u.

Harika Bose said...

can i pin the cloth with a safety pin in a convection that ok?