Should I flour my cake pan? Is it really necessary?
This is a common question I receive both online and in my cooking classes. I think most people, myself included are hoping to skip any steps that are not completely necessary. And although I have skipped this step many times, I will tell you that for no-fail results and cakes that pop out of the pan, the flouring step is important. Most cake recipes instruct you to grease a cake pan and flour it too. We all know the grease stops the cake from sticking, but the flour is important for two reasons. First, the flour helps the cake grip the sides of the pan so that it rises evenly. It also creates a barrier between the grease on the pan and the batter so that it does not melt into the batter, changing the chemistry of the recipe. If you are making chocolate cake, make sure to use cocoa instead of flour so that the coating matches the cake and you do not have a white layer on a chocolate cake.
I know you are now thinking that these reasons are not as compelling as you were hoping for. And truth is, if you are okay with slightly uneven cake then go ahead and skip it. I like to test my cakes first without using the flour method, meaning I make them and do not flour the pan. If the results are good then I make a note on the recipe that I skipped the step and all was fine. If the cake was still sticking to the pan or it comes out a bit uneven then I make the note to remember that flouring the pan is a must.
And in the end remember that even cakes that stick to the pan or look uneven, still taste great!