Cake Stuck In A Pan? Why You Should Try Putting It In The Freezer

You measured out all the ingredients perfectly, managed to make the smoothest batter ever, and the cake is already in the oven. Then that sinking feeling hits. You realize you forgot to grease or line the cake pan, but it's already too late, and the cake is stuck to the bottom of it. At this point you would probably make peace with the fact that you'll have to turn your cake into cake pops instead.

If you're ok with changing up your recipe, cake getting stuck in the pan isn't the worst thing in the world. But if you actually do need a fully intact cake, there's something else you can do besides starting all over: Stick it in the freezer. According to cookbook author Angela Garbacz (via Real Simple) a cake that's either cooled to room temperature or chilled all the way through will come out of a pan a lot easier than one that's warm or straight out of the oven.

Why does cooling a cake help it unstick from the pan?

In order to remove cake from a pan, there needs to be some sort of moisture barrier present. That's why Garbacz (via Real Simple) recommends letting cakes cool directly in the pan first. It gives the edges a chance to steam, allowing them to more easily loosen from the pan. Of course it's a lot harder if you forgot to use cooking spray beforehand, but that's where the freezer comes to the rescue.

As baking expert Ashlee Marie explains, freezing a cake traps in residual heat and steam as it cools, leaving it moist when you take it out. To maximize the moisture potential therefore, you'll want to cover the whole cake and pan in plastic wrap. As per Garbacz instructions, it's best to run a butter knife along the edges before you do this, and leave the cake in the freezer for between six and 24 hours. Then when it's ready to come out, remove the plastic wrap, and use the butter knife again. When you tip the pan over, the now frozen cake should pop right out.