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Kitchen Tip #2 -- How Bake a Great Cake

I am not an expert at making cakes or decorating them. This time of year is the only time that I make cakes, one for each of my kids' birthday. My hubby isn't a big fan of cake, so I don't make them other than for birthdays.

I have struggled in the past getting the cake out of the pan, so I can frost it. My kids have had some interesting looking birthday cakes because of my inability to grease the pan well. However, a year or two ago one of my friends taught a class (for Enrichment at church) on cake decorating. She gave us all great cake baking and decorating tips. I wanted to share my favorite cake tip with you.

Here is the secret of how to get the cake out of the pan without any sticking or breaking:
1. Generously grease the inside of the pan with vegetable shortening (make sure to get in all the crevices and cracks). Then flour the pan.
2. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes (exactly!). If the cake cools too long the shortening hardens and glues the cake to the pan. If it doesn't cool enough the cake will break.
3. Place paper towels over the wire rack, place covered rack on top of the cake, invert the cake and the rack. Pull the pan free.

If you follow these three steps your cake will slip like magic away from the pan. It amazes me every time I bake a cake.

Now if only I were better at decorating the cake.... My friend did give us some decorating tips, but I'm not enough of a perfectionist to make a perfect looking cake. Luckily my kids aren't picky!

Here's a picture of my little girl's birthday cake from last week, complete with missing frosting (that's what happens when you leave a cake unattended for an hour to teach piano lessons). I fixed it later, but never took a picture of it. Don't pay attention to the frosting, just look at how nice and even the cake looks (no cracks or breaks!).