My sister will be attempting to decorate her first cake this week for her oldest daughter's birthday party. (Laura likes stargazer lilies, so I took this picture of mine in bloom for her.) Baking the cake itself isn't hard, but wondering whether it will come out of the pan in one piece can be scary.
Typically a cake mix will tell you to grease the pan with shortening and then dust it with flour. Sometimes it's hard to grease the pan evenly if the pan has a lot of nooks and crannies. Another option these days is to buy a can of nonstick spray that already includes the flour. I know that Pam, Crisco and Wilton carry such a spray, but who really wants to have to buy another product that you will only use occasionally?
My Wilton Method instructor gave me a recipe to make it easier. The best part is that most bakers are likely to have all the ingredients already in their kitchen. I divided the original recipe by four, so if you make a lot of cakes feel free to quadruple my quantities. It works great as long as you line the bottom of the pan with wax paper and then brush the sides with cake release. I've only had it fail once, but that was a banana bread recipe that I've found to be particularly difficult and I didn't line the pan with wax paper.
Homemade Cake Release
1 /4 cup + 2 tablespoons Crisco
1 tablespoon Oil
1 tablespoon Flour
Mix until creamy. Brush onto sides and bottom of pan with a basting brush. Store leftovers in refrigerator. It keeps a long time.