Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place your cake pan on a sheet of parchment paper, and with a pencil, trace its outline. Cut the parchment to size with scissors and use it to line the bottom of the pan, spreading small bits of shortening on the bottom of the pan to secure it.
2. Add the Batter
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan with the help of a rubber spatula— you don’t want to leave any yummy batter behind!
3. Sphere Pans
To line a sphere cake pan with parchment, cut a round piece of parchment that is 2 inches wider than the diameter of the sphere pan. If you have a cake pan of that size, you can trace around that. Fold the circle in half and then into a quarter. With scissors, cut slits along the fold lines from the outside edge to halfway to the center, then cut three to five slits the same length in between (like you’re cutting a pie). Use shortening to stick the parchment to the pan. Allow your slits to naturally overlap. If there is any exposed cake pan above your parchment, be sure to grease that well with shortening.
4. Smooth It Out
If the batter is thick (like my vanilla cake batter) and doesn’t naturally spread flat, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, making sure to fill the corners of the pan.
5. No More Air Bubbles
To remove any air bubbles in the batter, run a paring knife or a straight spatula through the batter in a grid pattern, first going horizontally and then vertically. Give the pan a few good taps on your work surface to release any remaining air bubbles.
6. Ready, Set Timer
Set a timer for half the recommended baking time. When the timer goes off, rotate your cake pan 180 degrees. Reset the timer to 5 to 10 minutes less than the remaining baking time. Baking times are always suggestions, and all ovens are different, so it’s always helpful to keep a close eye on your cakes as they bake.
7. Cake Tester
Check the cake for doneness: Insert a cake tester or toothpick into the center of the cake and remove it. If batter or wet crumbs are stuck to the tester, continue to bake in 10-minute increments, then check again. When the cake is done, the cake tester or toothpick will come out clean.
8. Cool the Cakes
Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool completely in the pan, then cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (This helps firm up the cake so it keeps its shape.)
9. Remove the Cake
To remove the cake from the pan, loosen the edges with a straight spatula, holding the flat part of the blade flush with the side of the pan, and pulling along all sides. Invert the cake onto a cake board or work surface, and peel off the parchment.