It happens. You find yourself in a rush or simply so excited to bake a cake that you forget to grease the baking pan prior to pouring batter into it. When this happens, or if the pan is unevenly greased, you may have problems releasing your cake from the pan. There are several methods you can try to remedy the situation without destroying your baked creation.
When your cake has finished baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool just enough so that you can handle the pan without oven mitts. Flip the entire pan over and place it on top of the cutting board or serving plate. Leave it there for five to ten minutes. Generally, the weight of the cake will have pulled itself downward by the time you come back to it.
Shake It Loose
Another possible solution is shaking the pan up and down in its upside-down position. You do not need to shake the pan vigorously; if you do, the cake will fall out in pieces. You can also gently pound the pan as you move it. The weight of the cake and the combined movement should be enough for the cake to fall from the pan. Be sure to keep the pan relatively close to the cutting board or plate so that the cake can land on either surface.
Separate the Edges
If the cake still does not seem to want to budge, use a spatula or butter knife to separate the cake from all edges of the pan. Do not use a steak knife or any other cutting knife as they will scratch and potentially destroy your pan. Once you have done so all the way around the pan, gently work your spatula under the bottom of the cake and move it all the way around the bottom of the cake. When the last edge has been pried, you will be able to lift the cake off the pan. From there, you can quickly move it to the serving plate.
Warm It Up
If a cake has been left too long to cool, you will have trouble removing it from the pan. In this case, try filling your kitchen sink with hot water, no higher than the height of your pan. Place the entire pan in the sink and let it sit for a few minutes. The water will warm the edges of the pan so that the cake softens. When the water is no longer steaming hot, dry the bottom and sides of the pan completely; this will prevent water from dripping onto your cake. Flip it upside down and let the cake slide out of the pan or use a spatula to lift it from the pan.
To prevent cakes from getting stuck in your future baking excursions, use a sheet of parchment paper to line the pan before pouring your batter into it. Measure the paper to cover the entire pan, then a couple extra inches. When your cake has finished baking, grab the two sides of the paper and lift the cake right off the pan.