Quite often in baked goods, recipes will call for the preparation of pans. Usually this means a slathering of butter and possibly a thin layer of flour of cocoa powder shaken on top. Although it can be tempting to pop that stick of butter in the microwave, 9 times out of 10 it won't give you the best results!
Melting butter in the microwave, although great for other purposes that are strictly based on taste, isn't the best for lining your cake pans with. When you heat butter in the microwave, it causes it to separate. When you go to dip in a pastry brush or paper towel for coating you pans, you tend to just get the moisture or water from the stick, instead of the fat (which is what your cake needs for easy removal).
You can soften it in the microwave, just make sure to use 30-50% power instead of full strength. Use a pastry brush to spread it on and you're in business! Using a cold stick from the refrigerator works, but doesn't often leave behind enough butter to truly give that outer layer of cake the final texture it needs.
Give it a try next time you bake and see if it makes a difference for you!
• Related: 4 Ways To Reuse Your Butter Wrappers!
(Image: Flickr member Robert S. Donovan licensed for use by Creative Commons)