Find a serving platter, plate or wire cooling rack large enough to hold the cake. Next, cover the cake pan with the inverted platter, then hold them together securely and invert—the cake should pop right out.
Let the cake cool.
It should spend at least twenty to thirty minutes on your cooling rack or countertop before you even attempt to remove it from its pan. Place the cake in your refrigerator to speed up the cooling process if necessary.
Parchment + nonstick pan spray. Silicone-coated baking paper (parchment) is the cake baker's best friend. Line the bottom of your pan with nonstick parchment, then coat the pan's sides with nonstick pan spray.
You didn't grease your pan.
If you poured your batter straight into the cake tray and placed it in the oven, there's your mistake. I recommend greasing your pan with shortening, but vegetable oil or butter will certainly work in a pinch. Stick with lightly flavored oils; steer clear of olive oil.
Wait until your cake is fully cooled before removing it, this may take 2-3 hours. Run a butter knife or a palette knife around the inside edges of the cake tin. Get a cooling rack.
Turning a warm or hot cake out of a baking pan too quickly, will crack and fall apart. Cake layers that cool in the pan too long will stick unless lined with parchment paper. If your cake has cooled in pan and was greased with shortening & flour, this will cause the cake layers to stick in cake pans.
Greasing and Flouring
This is a classic alternative to parchment paper. When done correctly, greasing and flouring work well. Use oil, vegetable shortening or vegan butter. Generously apply it onto the cake pan with a pastry brush, paper towel, or your fingers.
If you are cooling a sponge or angel food cake, it is recommended that you cool the cake upside down. This can be done by turning the pan upside down and setting the tube part over the neck of a stable bottle. Turning it upside down for cooling helps prevent it from collapsing as it cools.
One of the main reasons for waiting for your cake to cool is that cakes are still very fragile when hot, and so spreading the icing is likely to create breakage and a lot of crumbs, spoiling your smooth finish.
Follow this tip: If your cake needs to be trimmed, or if you plan to torte it by cutting it into thinner layers, never do this while the cake is still warm. Wait until the cakes have cooled completely, or for the best results, chill the layers before trimming.
Greasing the pan is a necessary step even when using a nonstick pan. Whether you're using a bundt pan, cake pan, cupcake pan, or cookie sheet, applying a thin layer of grease to the sides and bottom of the pan will help your baked goods release with ease.
Most cakes bake at 350°F. Reducing the temperature to 325°F is all you need to do to get a flat-topped cake.
The most common reason why your cake is burnt on the outside and raw in the middle is that the oven temperature was set too high or the baking time was too long. The cake tin was too small for the batter, causing it to cook too quickly on the outside.
Recipes will usually give instructions for cooling but as a general rule, most sponge cakes are best left for a few minutes and then turned onto a cooling rack to avoid soggy edges. Rich fruit cakes are better cooled in the tin.
We know the temptation to check on your cake is high, but we're here to give you one of our top tips: don't open the oven when baking. This is a common mistake, and can cause your cake to collapse because the rush of cold air stops your caking from rising.
The verdict: Use butter if you want to. If you have extreme concerns about your cake sticking, use shortening (which is pure fat with no water), cooking spray, or baking spray. Coconut oil or bacon fat will also work, as will clarified butter which has the milk solids removed.
As most non-stick sprays are generally a combination of vegetable oil and lecithin, shortening does a pretty similar job creating a non-stick alternative. Simply take a bit of shortening and rub it across your baking surface.
To do so, simply mix 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons baking soda, and ½ cup white vinegar in the pot or pan that's lost its stick, set on the stove, and heat until boiling for 10 minutes. Wash the pot as usual, then rub vegetable oil on the surface to re-season it and get the non-stick surface back.
For a clean release, grease, flour—and parchment—are key. It may sound like overkill, but the most effective way to ensure that a cake releases cleanly from a baking pan is to grease the pan, line it with parchment paper, and then grease and flour the parchment and pan sides.