Did you know that, according to scientists, baking is a great way to reduce stress and nurture happiness? If you like to make everything from cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, then you know that crafting tasty foods is most definitely a fun way to show off your creativity!

Nevertheless, with every good thing in life comes the inevitable downside. In our opinion, the most annoying part about baking (besides the messy clean-up!) is having to deal with sticky baking pans.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to help combat this problem, the most popular being the use of spray-on grease or butter, but that method comes with a host of caveats.

For one, if you end up getting a bit trigger-happy with the grease, you may be left with a picture perfect cake that has a soppy, soggy underbelly. Gross! On the other hand, if you don’t add enough grease, then you may just end up with a crumbling mess.

Other recipe books call for sprinkling a bit of flour in the pan, adding a sheet of liner under the grease, or even using a combination of grease, liner, and flour. Now, we’re not saying that these techniques won’t yield good results, but we look at them as a sort of means to an end—they might work, but they won’t help your baked goods actually taste any better!

For quite a while, we were resigned to the fact that we just didn’t have too much control over how the base of our cakes, cookies, and banana breads would look or even taste, UNTIL we learned some brilliant advice, courtesy of our pals over at Food52.

Baker and blogger Emily Laperruque says that the key to getting your sweets to slide off the pan, while still maintaining an appetizing consistency is quite simple—all you need is a little bit of grease and sugar.

two baking pans on black backgroundJulia Gartland via Food52


It sounds odd, but the idea totally makes sense. When the pan heats up, the grease creates a protective layer between the pan and the cake while the sugar crystalizes on the bottom. This creates a super-addictive, slightly crunchy texture that is SO much better than the soggy, crumbly alternative.

This is what Emily had to say about her first experience using this brilliant method:

At first, I worried that the sugar would caramelize, creating a sticky sauce—but the sheer, lace-like coating does nothing of the sort. Unlike flour, which clumps, sugar granules want to establish an even layer. And unlike raw-ish flour, which no one wants on the outside of their cake, toasted sugar creates a sweet, sparkly, crunchy crust.

How did we never know about this trick before?!

To get some more insight on how to best use the sugar-grease baking technique, be sure to check out Food52’s post here. There you’ll find out exactly how much, or how little, grease and sugar you should use in order to get the best results. Emily even includes a “fancy” variation on this smart trick. We can’t wait to test it out for ourselves!

Have you tried this baking technique before? If so, where did you first learn about it? How do you grease your pans?