Here's a good question from Neha. She has a dilemma we've all dealt with from time to time!
I need help. Do you guys have any tips for taking a sticky bar/cake out of the pan? For example I made granola bars today and they are so sticky and they refuse to come out! It was a recipe that didn't call for lining/greasing, which I sorely regretted not doing! So do you know of any handy tips in such emergency sticky situations.
Who hasn't been in this situation at some point or another? Besides preventative action (greasing the pan or lining it with parchment paper before pouring in the batter or dough) here are a few things we've done to help loosen something sticky.
• Let it cool some more. Some cakes and bars won't come out of the pan until they are a little cooler. Watch to see if the edges have pulled away from the pan yet; that's usually a good sign. Put the pan on a cooling rack to let air flow all around the pan and speed cooling. (One note: if a cake sticks to a pan very badly, it often means that the cake was not finished baking.)
• Heat it up again. Some things, though, just won't come free after they are cool. Something like these granola bars that Neha mentions, which are probably held together by sticky, hardened honey or rice syrup, will benefit from being gently warmed again. Put back in the oven at a low heat - 250°F or less - and check them every ten minutes. When they get soft and supple, dump them out of the pan.
• Use a thin, metal spatula. And when all else has failed, use a thin spatula to cut and pry the sticky baked goods out of the pan.
Other good tips for releasing sticky substances from baking pans?
Related: Quick Tip: How to Line a Cake Pan with Parchment
(Image: Flickr member dan taylor licensed for use under Creative Commons)