This simple step makes it easier to pour batter into the pan, but it’s also a brilliant hack for removing your cake or brownies when they’re out of the oven.
Rectangular baking pans are a mainstay of almost every home cook’s kitchen, but this type of pan—typically used for baking sheet cake—is also annoyingly hard to line with parchment paper. In the latest episode of Mad Genius Tips, however, Food & Wine Culinary Director of Justin Chapple demonstrates how to make your parchment lie flat and settle into the corners of your baking pan, instead of rolling up or unfolding over the sides.
First, make sure your parchment paper—whether you buy it in a roll or in sheets—is bigger than your baking pan. Next, place the pan on top of the parchment paper, so that you can see where the corners of the paper line up with the corners of the pan.
Then, cut a three to four-inch slit in each corner of the paper. This creates two flaps at each corner, which are crucial to making the sheet fit. Once you place the paper in the pan, press it into the corners, and watch as the paper simply folds into place. That’s it—you’re done. You no longer have to struggle to get the paper to fit neatly and evenly into the corners of the pan.
“It’s like magic, I’m not kidding,” Chapple says.
Best of all, once your cake is done baking, as Chapple demonstrates, it will slide straight out of the pan, saving you the stress of trying to remove your cake from the pan without damaging it. Forget banging the pan on a hard surface or cutting the cake out with a knife. Simply tip the pan to side, tugging gently on the parchment paper, and the cake will lift out of the pan without sticking.
And if you find that your parchment rolls up—refusing to lie flat—when you're baking in a round cake pan, don’t get frustrated! Chapple also has a Mad Genius Tip for that too.