WATCH: Do You Really Need to Grease and Flour Your Cake Pans?
It can be annoying, we know.
I am all for simplifying things in the kitchen, but this is one step you should not skip. If you are baking a cake, always grease and flour the pan before adding the batter if you want the cake to unmold cleanly and easily. This is extra important if you're using a fancy bundt pan or making a tall, multi-layered cake.
I know what you're thinking: Greasing and flouring pans is an annoying step in the otherwise seamless process of making a cake—especially when your kitchen floor also gets an even coating of flour. But a little sweeping isn't that bad compared to the sinking feeling that comes with finding chunks of cake stuck to the bottom of a pan.
The one exception to this rule is if you are serving a sheet cake by the slice straight from the pan. And even then, I would still recommend greasing and flouring the pan. A layer of fat and flour will help make those little square slices a bit neater.
My trick to greasing and flouring cake pans is to do it over the sink, which helps minimize messes. I coat the inside of the pan with an even layer of cooking spray (unless another fat, such as shortening, is called for in the recipe), making sure to get the corners and sides as well. Then I sprinkle flour over the pan, tilting and shaking the pan until it is evenly coated. Tap out any excess flour into the sink. If you're baking a chocolate cake, you can substitute cocoa powder for flour to prevent white residue from forming around the sides of the cake as it bakes.