How To Line a Round Cake Pan with Parchment

Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

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When baking cakes, especially layered ones, my greatest fear is that the cakes won't come out of the pans easily even if I've greased the living daylights out of them. The solution is simple: place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the cake pan. The cake will easily slide out every time.

While you can buy parchment paper already pre-cut into rounds, they're expensive and you'd need to buy more than one type of round if you have cake pans in multiple sizes. Here's an easy way to make your own parchment rounds out of a regular roll of parchment paper in just a few quick steps!

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Why Do You Need Parchment Rounds Anyway?

Think of parchment rounds as insurance against all the hard work that goes into making a cake. Greasing the pan always helps, but if you really want to make sure your cake will come out of the pan, the parchment will do the trick. While you can run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake from the sides, there's no easy way to get to the bottom of the cake without possibly ruining it, which is why the parchment is helpful.

On the savory side of cooking, parchment rounds are also used as loose covers over dishes as they're cooking — this allows some liquid to evaporate but keeps the top of the food moist.

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Why This Is the Easiest Way

You're probably wondering why you can't just plop the cake pan on parchment, trace a circle around it, and cut that out instead. Well, that will result in a round that's just a tiny bit too large for the inside of the pan, and you'll have to trim it down some more. It's not the most efficient way.

This method, which is a bit like how you cut paper snowflakes out when you were child, just requires some simple folding and a quick trim with some scissors: rip off a piece of parchment just slightly larger than your cake pan, then fold it into a rough square and finally into a triangle. Take the tip of that triangle and place it on the center of your cake pan, then trim the excess parchment hanging over the edge off. Unfold the paper and presto! A round piece of parchment that will fit perfectly on the bottom of your pan.

Trust me, this really is the easiest way. Once you try this method, you'll never even think about buying pre-cut parchment rounds again and your cakes will always come out of their pans like a dream.

How To Line a Round Cake Pan with Parchment

What You Need

Round cake pan
Parchment paper
Scissors

Instructions

  1. Tear off a sheet of parchment. Tear or cut off a sheet of parchment just slightly bigger than the cake pan.
  2. Fold the parchment in half. Fold the parchment in half from the bottom to the top.
  3. Fold the parchment in half again. This time, fold the parchment in half from right to left so that it now more closely resembles a square.
  4. Fold a triangle. Fold the square into a triangle by folding up from left to right.
  5. Fold the triangle in half again. Fold up again from left to right to make an even smaller triangle.
  6. Hold the triangle against the pan. Find the corner of the triangle where the center of the paper will be once it's unfolded. This is your center point. Place this corner in the middle of the cake pan and hold the parchment right where it hits the edge of the pan.
  7. Cut the parchment. Using where you are holding the parchment as a guide, trim the triangle about 1/4-inch in from the edge of the pan.
  8. Unfold the parchment. Unfold the parchment and you have a perfect round for your cake pan!

Updated from a post originally published in March 2009.

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(Image credits: Christine Gallary)