Save your cakes from unfortunate mishaps.

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All cakes should taste good, but holiday cakes need to look good too. It's the time of year when we often use cakes as centerpieces or focal points on the dessert table. There are few things more vexing to bakers who've just lovingly made a cake than to have it stick to the pan, leaving ragged corners, if not big hunks missing. This is most likely to happen when we use a Bundt pan or other baking pan with an intricate design, even if the pan is labelled as non-stick. For that matter, it's no fun to frost simple round cake layers when crumbs are coming loose and mucking up the icing. Homemade Cake Release is the solution. (Yes, this is the same stuff that some bakers and social media posters call Cake Goop.)

Red Velvet Marble Bundt Cake
Credit: Iain Bagwell

Cake Release contains flour, making greasing-and-flouring the pan a one-step process. It covers every nook and cranny of a regular Bundt or decorative pan that cannot be lined with parchment paper. It won't turn the cake's crust overly brown, thick, or chewy, and won't leave sticky residue in the pan that can build up over time. Plus, homemade Cake Release is less expensive than most store-bought sprays and there are no empty aerosol cans to throw away. Even if you usually prefer spray products, homemade Cake Release can come to the rescue when you run out and cannot face an unexpected trip to the store before you bake.

Cake Release (or Cake Goop) is quick and easy to make:

  1. Combine equal parts all-purpose flour, vegetable oil, and vegetable shortening in a saucepan. Warm over low heat and stir until smooth.
  2. Pour it into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the pantry for up to 3 months, or in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
  3. Apply in a thin, even layer with a soft, dry pastry brush that can get down into every corner of the pan. Don't be tempted to apply a thick layer. More doesn't do more.