I’ve touched on this problem earlier, but I thought I could probably address it in a separate post. Forgive me if it seems a bit redundant, and if you’ve come up with a way to get your GF cakes out without them crumbling, please do share.
I’m not really a big fan of parchment paper, because it’s hard to crease well enough to give clean edges on cakes. I’ll use it for meringues and the like, but I otherwise prefer a liberal dose of grease on the pan. I’ve found that older recipes, which typically rely on a breathtakingly large amount of butter, come out of the pan better for obvious reasons. I don’t flour my pans, because early versions of GF flour used to turn into an unappetizing goo when used to flour greased pans, and I just got out of the habit. I suppose current versions would do a better job, but it just seems like an unnecesssary step now.
Sister-in-Law and I have spent many, many hours standing in the kitchen, debating how best to get something GF out of the pan. We’ve tried a lot of tricks, between the two of us, to varying degrees of success. Here is what we’ve found…
GF cookies will come off of the pan as long as it is well-greased, although anything that relies on egg whites for structure needs greased parchment paper. For loaves, a medium-to-thick loaf will generally come out of a well-greased loaf pan with a bit of coaxing with an offset spatula, put thinner loaves are in there for good (thin meaning about one thumb’s height). When it comes to thin loaves, I just cut them out in squares and use them as a topping on jello/jelly or in summer pudding.
Anything with corners and wider than a loaf is going to stay in the pan, no matter what you do, so we don’t even try anymore. We just keep the pan sparkling clean and decorate our square and sheet cakes in the pan. Cupcakes and muffins will come out of well-greased pans, but also need the papers greased if you are using them. The paper might peel off if it isn’t greased, but it will probably also crumble the bottom half of the muffin/cupcake.
Finally, we have a simple, elegant trick for circular cakes – use a spring form or bottomless pan. These pans come apart, which means you just have to work the sides loose first, take out the cake, and then work that loose from the bottom. The two-step process seems to stress the cake less, leading it to crumble less, no matter how thick or thin the cake is. I’ve seen these pans in square form too, but have never really purchased one to see if it works the same. At any rate, if we want a cake to be free standing, then we will use these pans.
I know some people swear by silicon, and I was game when it first came out. However, silicon requires that there is a certain degree of flexibility in a baked good, which is not the case with GF baking. Yes, there is a smidgen’s worth of flexibility in some instances, but anything more than slight pressure will reduce a GF cake or loaf to crumbs. The wiggly, wobbly silicon forms were disastrous in that aspect.
For GF baking, you don’t need anything fancy – Pyrex and regular baking pans work best – but you do need about twice as much grease in the pan. An offset spatula helps when loosening things and gently prying them out, but most, you just need patience.