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"Flouring" cake pans with sugar

I think I first heard this on Martha Stewart's show: when a cake recipe calls for greasing and flouring a pan, instead of flour use some of the white sugar from the amount called for in the recipe, shaking the excess back into the dry ingredients. If using a big pan, like a 9x13, you might want to add a tsp or so of sugar since you're removing more from the batter than with a smaller pan. You'd think this would make the cake stick to the sides of the pan, but it releases just as well as flour. As with using cocoa powder to "flour" pans for chocolate cake, using sugar means no chance of unsightly white on the edges of the baked cake. More importantly, the sugar promotes deeper browning/flavor, and imparts a slight crispness to the edge of the cake. One caveat is not to bake on the lowest rack position, as sugar will scorch more easily. Middle position at 350-375 degrees is no problem. This is particularly nice on a quick-bread loaf and in cupcakes.

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  1. I'm not sure why you'd want to do that and alter the texture of the cake. Flour with yellow cake and cocoa with chocolate always works perfectly, so why mess with success?

    1. A friend taught me to do this with muffins and quick breads. Depending on what you're baking, cinnamon sugar works well. I love the sweet crustiness it gives a slice of quick bread.

      4 Replies
      1. re: fern

        My best friend does this for her delicious pumpkin bread. Its great for banana bread too. I agree that I probably wouldn't do it for yellow cake or devil's food cake. But its a winner with quick breads.

        1. re: heypielady

          Well, maybe, but I would still be concerned with over-caramelization where the outside of the baked item touches the pan. I would think that it would be easy for the sugar to get bitter and burned-tasting if it gets a little dark.

          1. re: roxlet

            It doesn't get burnt for some reason, At least, it doesn't for my brownies, but then, they don't bake as long as a cake.

            I don't hold back any sugar from the recipe to use on the pan. I wouldn't for greasing and flouring, so I don't know why I would for greasing and sugaring?

            I should actually say, I used to do this. Now I use parchment lining for everything.

            1. re: roxlet

              I don't know why it doesn't burn either but it doesn't. It's more about texture for me. I like crunchy sugar granules on the outside of the quick bread. It contrasts nicely with the soft cake-y interior. IMO it doesn't make the bread too sweet regardless of whether or not you subtract the dusting sugar from the sugar called for in your recipe.

        2. Because of your post I went to the kitchen and made a banana bread, dusting the pan with cinnamon sugar. I was going to wait for the family and have it for dessert tonight but of course I couldn't wait. Delicious. Thanks for the idea! Surely my family will be grateful to you, too. :)

          1. Any thoughts about whether this would work for pie crust?

            2 Replies
            1. re: wufrances

              I've never tried it - I prefer a pyrex pan for pies, so I can see how brown the bottom is. My concern would be that the sugar would brown, making the crust appear done even when the dough wasn't finished baking. Also, pies are baked at a higher temp than most cakes so there might be scorching. If you try, please report your results.

              1. re: wufrances

                I would save the sugar for your top crust in a double crust pie. I like to use that raw sugar with the bigger crystals because its a more pleasant texture. I brush it with cream and sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar on it. It taste great and looks beautiful. For the bottom crust you wouldn't butter and flour the pie plate anyway so why add butter and sugar to it?

              2. Well, I gave this a try making a pumpkin bread, and despite my concerns and reservations, it worked pretty well. There was a little bit of over caramelization at the point where the bread crested the pan as it was baking. It is really only the outside pieces where you get the full effect of the sugar since interior slices don't have that much crunch on them.

                1. My baking partner & I have experimented with fine powder expresso & powered tea leaves in several baked bread recipes with interesting results. I love the cinnamon sugar idea and can see experimenting with other spices that work well in baked breads mixed with sugar. Today I'm going to try using vanilla bean infused sugar.

                  1. I never ever flour a pan. I just use pure unsalted butter, make sure all surfaces and creases are covered, add batter and bake. Comes out flawlessly every time. A pro baker taught me this in 1955 and I've been doing it ever since. Works with cakes, breads, anything bakeable. MUST be butter. Margarine or Crisco or anything else but butter will not work.