This is one of those supposedly simple steps that gets thrown at us in the middle of a recipe, often with little in the way of explanation. Sure, we understand what it means to line a pan with parchment, but how exactly is it done? Read on...
We're really only concerned with lining the bottom of the pan with parchment. The sides of the cake can be easily released by running a knife between the cake and the pan. But the bottom has a tendency to stick or break if we don't line the bottom with parchment. Just be sure to peel off the parchment between unmolding the cake from the pan and serving it!
To cut a circle of the right size, first tear off a square of parchment roughly the size of the pan. Fold it in half and then fold it in half again.
Next fold the square into a triangle. Find the corner of the triangle where the center of the paper will be once it's unfolded. This is your center point.
Hold the triangle up to the pan with the center point of the triangle at the middle of the pan. Approximate the distance from the middle of the pan to the outer edge and trim off the excess paper following the curve of the pan.
Unfold the paper and lay it down in the pan. Trim any rough edges if it doesn't fit quite right.
Spray the whole pan, including parchment, with nonstick spray. We also find it helpful to spray between the parchment and the pan to get the parchment to "stick" and prevent it from slipping when we pour in the cake batter.
This method has worked very well for us and takes a lot of the guess work out of cutting the circles freehand. Does anyone else have another good technique?
Related: Recipe: DIY Yellow Cake
(Images: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)