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11 Simple Ways to Get Cake out of a Pan (When Stuck)

11 Simple Ways to Get Cake out of a Pan (When Stuck)

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You spent all that time finding the right recipe to make the perfect cake to impress your family and friends. You carefully mixed the batter, poured it into the pan, and watched as it turned a golden brown in the oven.

Now it’s time to take your cake out of the pan…and it just won’t budge. I know the feeling!

Has all that time you put into baking come down to a tattered cake that’s going to come out of the pan in pieces?

Don’t worry; there are a few things you can do to get that cake out of the pan and onto a plate. And even better, there are a couple of tricks you can do to prevent it from sticking to the pan in the first place (of course, you could always just skip the pan entirely!).

On a related note, if you’re baking a bundt cake or cheesecake in particular, see my posts about removing a stuck bundt cake from a pan and removing cheesecake from a pan.

How To Get Stuck Cake Out Of A Pan Pin

How to Remove Cake From a Pan After Baking

To successfully get my cakes out of the pan, I tried all known methods and failed more than I’d like to admit! After endless trials, here are the best tricks I learned:

1 – Cooling the cake

No matter what cake you’ve baked or what pan you’ve used, the first step toward getting your cake out of the pan is to let it cool down to room temperature.

If you attempt to take your cake out of the pan while it’s still warm, you risk the cake coming out with pieces still stuck to the pan.

As a rule of thumb, you have to let the pan cool for at least 30 minutes before taking it out—larger cakes will need longer.

When completely cool, you can get down to the job of removing the cake from the pan.

2 – Use a cooling rack

I highly recommend that you use a cooling rack to cool the cake while it’s in the pan. 

A cooling rack will allow air to flow all around the pan, including the bottom, which is where most of the sticking is going to happen.

I like this particular set because it can handle temperatures up to 575 F, which means you can use it for most baking applications.

3 – Cool in fridge

Fridge

I know this one seems like a no-brainer, but no one actually thinks of putting their cake in the fridge once it’s out of the oven.

If you’re in a rush to get that cake out of the pan, you can put it in the fridge to speed up the process. It’s a nice trick for hot summer days when your kitchen is too warm for the cake to cool down naturally.

First, let the pan cool down for about 15 minutes so that it’s warm-to-cool and no longer hot. Then, put the pan into the fridge for another 10 to 15 minutes.

This cools the cake down enough so you can carefully remove it from the pan.

4 – Loosen the cake

If you’re skillful enough, you can always use a knife to loosen the cake from the pan. 

Carefully slide the knife between the cake and the pan, moving slowly around the edge. Try to keep the knife against the pan so that you don’t cut into the cake accidentally.

When the cake is loose enough, turn the pan upside down and gently ease the cake out and onto the cooling rack or plate. 

The best type of knife to use for this method is a non-serrated or palette knife. Or, use a thin nylon spatula if the cake is soft enough.

5 – Tapping method

If the cake isn’t stuck to the pan, but rather held snuggly inside, you can try the tapping method. It works perfectly well for serving crème caramel, so I thought why not?

To do so, put a large plate over the top of the cake pan, preferably the plate you’re going to be using to serve your cake. 

Hold the plate firmly in place, and flip the pan upside down with the plate on the bottom.

Tap and gently shake the pan so the cake slowly releases and comes out in one piece.

6 – Leave in pan upside down

If you can’t find a solution, why not let gravity do all the work?

As with the previous method, invert your cake upside down on the plate. Instead of tapping and shaking, leave the cake upside down for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, gently try to remove the pan.

The upside-down trick should allow the shortening used to grease the pan to seep a little more into the sides of the cake, helping release it.

7 – Use a dishcloth

If your cake is being stubborn and just isn’t sliding out of the pan onto the plate, a dishcloth can always save the day.

Soak a dishcloth in either warm or hot water. Wring excess water out of the cloth and wrap it around the bottom of the pan. Let the pan nestle within the cloth for about 15 minutes, then try releasing the cake.

This technique lets the pan warm up and expand a bit, so it loosens around the sides of your cake.

8 – Microwave method

Starting A Microwave

If you own a microwave, you don’t have to go through all this hassle. You can easily use it to get the cake out of the pan.

Pour boiled water into a mug, then put the mug into the microwave, placing the cake pan on top of it. 

Leave the mug and the pan for a few minutes in the microwave without turning it on. The trapped steam should loosen the cake from the pan.

Don’t have a microwave? Any enclosed space will do, such as a cupboard.

9 – Use a warm oven

The oven caused the problem in the first place, so why not let it solve it?

When the cake is cool, preheat the oven again to about 250°F. Then, put the cake back into the oven for about 5 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and turn the pan over to rest on a cooling rack. The cake should slide nicely out of the pan.

It’s worth noting that this method is particularly effective for Bundt pans. Though great for baking, these pans can be a real pain when it’s time to get the cake out. A warm oven always does the trick.

10 – Icing out the cake

If you bake in round, flat pans as I do, this method is your best shot. 

Turn the pan upside down on a plate or cooling rack. Put ice cubes in a bowl and put the bowl on the bottom of the pan.

Leave the pan for a few minutes, then try to remove the cake. You should be able to do it without any mishaps.

11 – Using the freezer

If all else fails, you have no choice but to use this fellow: the freezer.

Completely cool the cake in the pan, then run a non-serrated knife or nylon spatula around the edges of the pan. 

Next, place the pan into the freezer and freeze for about 1 to 2 hours.

Remove from the freezer and run the knife around the edges of the pan one more time. Turn the pan upside down, gently tapping on the top and sides. This should do the trick and get your cake out safely.

How to Prevent Cake From Sticking to the Pan

Pouring Cake Batter

Bake-in cakes are always a pain to take out, but there are some things you can do to keep your cakes from sticking to the pan in the first place.

Here are some of the techniques I use to keep my baked goods from sticking to the pan:

Greasing the pan

Use a paper towel or a pastry brush to cover the bottom and sides of the pan with shortening. Make sure to reach all corners of the pan so its entire surface is coated with shortening.

Sprinkle with flour

After the pan is completely coated with shortening, sprinkle a teaspoon or two of flour into the bottom of the pan.

While holding one side of the pan, tap the other side so that the flour is well distributed. It should create a thin layer over the shortening.

Make sure to get flour into all the corners and up the edges of the pan. 

You’ll have some excess flour that didn’t stick to the shortening – just turn the pan over and tap; that should get the excess out.

Lining with parchment paper

Cake Baked With Lining Of Parchment Paper

Putting a lining of parchment paper (or an alternative) into the pan is another preventive measure to easily get your cake out of the pan after baking.

However, it’s worth noting that parchment paper will only work in pans that have a flat bottom and straight edges.

Place the pan on top of the parchment paper. Then, using a pencil, trace around the edges of the pan onto the paper. Cut the paper and fit it into the pan, pressing it into the corners.

Carefully smooth the paper onto the bottom and sides of the pan so there are no bubbles or wrinkles.

Baking spray

Using shortening or flour is effective but time-consuming. Plus, it could get a little messy!

If you’re in a rush, you can always use baking spray instead.

Don’t use sprays like Pam for this – look for a professional baking spray in specialty baking and cooking supply stores or online.

Use a springfoam pan

If you don’t want to be in the same situation again, ditch your regular pans and get a springfoam pan instead. It’s pretty easy to get the cake out of it; you just open the latch, and voila!

Make sure to let the cake cool down first, though. Springfoam pans are, in the end, baking pans, and they love getting cakes stuck to them!

A Word on Non-Stick Pans

These days, you can purchase non-stick bakeware. My own personal preference is to treat non-stick pans the same way you would a traditional pan—at the very least greasing and flouring the pan.

Even non-stick pans will cause some cakes to stick. And that one time you really need your cake to look perfect is the day the sticking is going to happen!

Another Word…On Bundt Pans!

Bundt Cake

Getting a cake out of a regular pan is challenging enough; getting it out of a Bundt pan is another challenge of its own. You’ll probably leave a couple of missing chunks inside.

Even when you carefully grease and prepare Bundt pans, they have a tendency, more than any other pans, to keep cakes from easily sliding out. This is because of the intricate design of some Bundt pans with all those small ridges and corners.

One technique I’ve tried that works well is to create a barrier that’s more than just flour. Add almond flour to the formula, and it should do the trick. To do so, sprinkle it over the entire surface of your greased Bundt pan.

This extra barrier will help get your cake safely out of the pan without crumbling.

Tip: Use cocoa powder if you’re making a chocolate-based Bundt cake. Sugar is also an alternative that works—it not only helps to ease the cake out of the pan, but it also adds a nice sugary crust to your baked cake.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to get cake out of a pan, there will be no more frustrating and disastrous moments when your cake is ruined because it refuses to come out!

Using not just one, but several methods from my list above, your delicious cakes will come out of the pan perfectly each and every time you bake.

Now that you’ve successfully removed your cake from the pan, learn how to properly level it!

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Tony

Saturday 16th of December 2023

I think perhaps a reminder not to put metal cake tins in the microwave might not be a bad idea. Could easily be forgotten in a moment of panic when you have guests arriving and a stuck cake.....

Lilian

Wednesday 29th of March 2023

Give some local methods on how to remove a stuck cake

Kelly-Ann

Monday 20th of September 2021

The microwave method worked like a charm. I'm a novice baker and my 11yo cousin asked me for a Oreo cake for her birthday. Ended up cooling the cakes overnight in their pans. And this morning before work I was going to do a crumb coat and the cakes just wouldn't come out of the pans despite greasing and flouring them before baking. Thanks for tips.

Judith Tourlouki

Wednesday 7th of July 2021

Help my pan is metal and has six Easter designs stamped in it. So lots of lines and corners. How do I get the cakes out.

Jane

Wednesday 30th of September 2020

Thank you so much for this great list!!!