• Adjust oven rack to centre of oven. Ensure that there is plenty of room for air to circulate around cake pan.
• Use the pan called for in the recipe. If you don't have the exact pan, it is better to choose a very slightly larger pan than a smaller one, as batter will overflow and burn on the bottom of your oven. Shorten baking time to allow for shallower batter in larger pan.
• Prepare pan before making batter. In most instances, all you need to do is use a pastry brush to grease the cake pan thoroughly with shortening or unsalted butter, or coat with nonstick cooking spray. To ensure that cakes or layers release cleanly from pans, you can also add parchment paper or waxed paper cut to fit bottom of pans. Occasionally, a band of parchment paper around the inside of the pan is called for, notably for cakes in springform pans when a smooth side is important, or when fruit in contact with metal will discolour and take on a metallic taste.
• Let eggs, butter and liquid come to room temperature before making batter. Room-temperature eggs will give you more volume and will be capable of holding air, so butter will beat up lighter and creamier. To warm cold eggs, immerse in a bowl of warm-to-the-touch water.
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