How to Get Cake Out of Pan

Today we touch on one of the most annoying situations in cake baking – when your cake gets stuck in the pan. I mean, just when you’re swooning at how amazingly your cake has puffed up and cooked through perfectly, you realize you can’t remove it – just how frustrating is that?

You’d think a few taps here and there and it’ll eventually come out but no. One wrong move and your cake can literally fall apart. As a baker, it’s really important that you know how to remove your cake from the pan without breaking it. 

My name is Angie, I’m a self-taught baker and I’ve been baking for over 10 years. It’s not all fun and sunshine every time you bake. I’ve had to deal with so many baking fails and disappointments before figuring out tricks to avoid them. 

In this article, I will share with you how I get the cake out of the pan without it breaking into a million crumbs. And I’m going to show you a few different ways to do it.

Keep reading so you can avoid this cake disaster too!

How to Get a Stuck Cake Out of a Pan

Brace yourselves for a detailed answer to your question. Here I will offer you six ways to get the cake out of the pan from the quickest and most simple for lightly stuck cakes to more detailed solutions for cakes that are seriously stuck.

1. Cooling Cake

No matter what cake it is you’re baking, cooling your cake is likely a necessary procedure before you remove the cake. 

This is because when a cake is just out of the oven and burning hot, you can barely touch the cake tin and because the cake is fully expanded due to the heat, it will likely stick to the pan. 

Give your cake some time to cool. As it cools, it will shrink in size and naturally loosen from the pan, especially if you’re using a nonstick pan or if you’ve greased your pan before putting in your cake batter. 

2. Tap the Cake

Depending on how you prepared your cake tin and the cake recipe, it’s possible to have more stubborn cake edges. 

For example, chiffon cakes have a very low percentage of fat compared to butter cakes and the pans are usually not greased so as to allow the cake to climb up the sides of the cake pan for increased height

In this case, you might want to help it out a little bit by tapping your cake on the side. Of course, this is after the cake is completely cooled. Don’t want you to burn your hands now. 

3. Slide a Knife Through

When in doubt, don’t be afraid to use some violence. 

It’s a joke. Please don’t. Do use your knife but use it with caution. In fact, I prefer using a palette knife, one without a sharp tip because it may scratch your cake pan and cut through your cake. 

Once ready, you can slide your knife around the edge of your cake. The knife will help detach the cake from the pan neatly without risking bits of the edge still sticking to your pan and being pulled off by it. 

4. Warm the Sides

Counterintuitive I know, but I find this method works pretty well with chocolate cakes especially. 

The reasoning behind why this method works is that warming up the sides AFTER the cake has cooled down can heat up the sugar and grease that may still be holding your cake to the pan. 

Note that you are warming just the sides and not the entire cake. To do so, you can use a hot towel and wrap it around the exterior of your cake tin. 

I wouldn’t recommend submerging your cake tin in hot water simply because water may get into the pan and you would end up with a soggy cake. 

5. Nuke it

Nuking things seems to be a common baking tip in this blog. It just sounds so much more intriguing than the boring “microwave it”. But yes that’s exactly what I mean.

Before you proceed, please DO NOT nuke your cake with your cake tin or you just might cause an explosion. 

Instead, you want to place in your microwave a bowl of water and heat it up until you’ve created enough steam in your microwave. 

Then, place your cake tin inside and close it and leave it to steam lightly. The water particles will moisten your cake and make hard edges soft so that removing it is much easier. 

Guard your microwave at all costs while doing so because you don’t want to actually nuke anybody. 

6. Freeze it

When all else fails, go freeze that cake. With this method, don’t even dream about eating your cake in the next few hours because you won’t. 

This is a time-consuming method but one that works. The reason for freezing the cake is simple. When the cake is hard, it’s a lot less likely that it will break when you try to cut or remove it.

Take your cake out completely harden and then slide a knife through without worry. You can do the same with the bottom of the cake as well and I promise it will stay intact. 


Here are some commonly asked questions regarding getting the cake out of a pan. I’ve answered them for your here.

How to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan?

The best way to prevent your cake from sticking to the pan is to prepare it well before baking it. It’s very important that you create a nice barrier between the batter and the cake tin. 

Should you wait for the cake to cool before removing it from the pan?

You should always wait for your cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan. If it isn’t, the high or uneven temperature can cause chunks of your cake to fall off and ruin the aesthetic of the cake. 

What happens if you overfill a cake pan?

Overfilling a cake pan is a serious baking crime. Nothing good comes out of it and you simply shouldn’t do it. Overfilling a cake pan will cause your batter to overflow as the cake expands and you’ll end up losing a lot of batters, creating a volcano mess in your oven, and end up with an ugly uneven cake top. 

Can you use PAM to grease and flour a cake pan?

Yes, you can use PAM to grease your cake pan. I suggest using the PAM baking spray, which already contains flour, for the best result. 

Can you use salted butter to grease a pan?

Salted butter and unsalted butter function the same way when it comes to their greasing properties. The only difference is the saltiness that obviously comes with salted butter, which I personally don’t mind and actually quite enjoy but to each his own! See here for a substitute for unsalted butter to grease your pan.

Final Thoughts

I hope that was a pretty simple and straightforward guide for you. Just remember that whatever mistake you made in baking, others have most likely made it in the past so don’t panic because solutions are just around the corner. 

Did you manage to remove your cake from its pan? How did you end up doing it? Any tricks you used that I haven’t mentioned? I’m sure we’re all dying to learn from you so let us know.

About Angie
I am a self-taught baker. I’ve been baking for over 10 years and started my own home baking business as a side hustle. I was born in Hong Kong and spent a pretty big chunk of my life in Canada. If you’re ever looking for me, I am probably there whisking vigorously away in the kitchen.

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