No matter how simple or how complicated a dessert recipe is, making sure it comes out correctly – and deliciously! – means mastering the basics. And it doesn’t get more basic than correctly prepping your pans! Whether you’re making a regular cake, cupcakes, or a cheesecake, there’s a right way to do it, and the absolute best methods might surprise you. America’s Test Kitchen walks us through the methods. Watch, learn, and see if you’ve got it right.

Let’s make sure we all have those methods down:

  • Cake: Spray the pan with a vegetable-oil-based spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of the pan, and place it in the cake pan. Spray with another coat of the vegetable oil spray, then coat the entire pan with flour, tapping away any excess.
  • Cupcakes: Easy— always use cupcake liners! Both foil and paper – or a combination of the two – work great.
  • Cheesecake And Other Springform Pan Treats: If the recipe requires baking in a water bath, always wrap the outside of the springform pan with two pieces of aluminum foil, overlapping and crimped tightly. This method prevents water from leaking into the pan. Foil is not required if you’re not baking in a water bath, but do always put your springform pan on a baking sheet in the oven to catch any spills or overflow.

That cake prep is much more thorough than anything I usually do, so I’ll definitely be changing my ways. Did you know these baking basics already? Any tips of your own to share?