How do I get the first piece of cake out of the baking dish without wrecking the first piece itself?
December 24, 2007 3:13 AM   Subscribe

Whenever I make a cake or pie in a baking dish, I always find that once it's done, I always wreck the first piece while trying to get the first piece out of the dish and onto a plate. After the first piece, getting subsequent pieces out is easy but that first piece is impossile. But there must be a way! Share your tips on how to get the first piece of pie/cake out of the baking dish and onto a plate without destroying it!
posted by Effigy2000 to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There may be a knack - but the easiest way is to make sure that you bake in tins or dishes with a loose bottom so that you can release the sides and have no barrier to do the lift and cut.
posted by gomichild at 3:50 AM on December 24, 2007

Whenever I do cake, I always well-grease and flour the inside so that I can invert the pan and remove the cake that way, then cut.

Regardless of whether you remove it from the pan though, I would suggest getting a slice shaped spatula to remove pieces. Also make sure that the piece is thoroughly cut all the way through to the bottom.

Basically the utensil used to remove the piece should be the exact shape of the piece you want to remove.
posted by fan_of_all_things_small at 3:51 AM on December 24, 2007

Silicon bakeware is your friend. Once the pie is done, you can bend the pie dish away from the crust, which enables you to cut it cleanly and remove it from the dish.
posted by essexjan at 4:42 AM on December 24, 2007

I've never tried this, but it looks like a pretty brilliant solution for someone who makes a lot of pies or cakes.

First out pie spatula
posted by kdern at 4:57 AM on December 24, 2007 [2 favorites]

For a cake, the best way is to take it out of the pan before you frost it. Here's the way to do it:

- Before baking, grease and flour the inside of the pan. You can also cut a circle of parchment paper and put it in the bottom of the pan to prevent the cake from sticking.
- After baking, let the cake cool. This is important, because the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan as it cools.
- When the cake is cool, use a paring knife to go between the pan and the edge of the cake.
- Put a platter or plate (or ideally, a cardboard round) upside down over the pan.
- Invert the pan. You're should almost slam it down on the counter.
- Remove the pan and voila!

This method is also nice because the bottom of a cake is usually more even than the top, and so it looks better when you frost/finish it.

As for the pies -- you can't really take most pies out of the pan. The one thing I've found that really helps is to make sure the pie is really cool before cutting into it -- cool pies tend to have better structural integrity, and the slices don't get mangled as easily.
posted by ourobouros at 6:06 AM on December 24, 2007

grease it and then line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper the exact same size as the bottom. then cut along the sides with a very sharp knife and then ease the first piece out gently.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:13 AM on December 24, 2007

Whenever I'm confronted by a whole pie baked without a parchment paper liner, my first cut is a very slender sacrificial wedge whose sole purpose is to allow access to the bottom of the rest of the pie.
posted by jamaro at 7:28 AM on December 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

For pie, something like kdern suggests usually does the trick. I wouldn't suggest one quite a wide as in that link though. For cake, if you don't want to remove the whole thing as others have suggested, you can wait for the cake to cool fully, loosen the edges with a knife, and then slam the pan down on the counter a few times beore you try taking the first piece out. The slaming tends to get the bottom of the cake unstuck if you greased it sufficiently.
posted by ssg at 7:33 AM on December 24, 2007

Are you cutting just once slice, then trying to take that one slice out? It'll never work. Cut two or three slices before trying to lift out a slice. This gives the cake/pie enough movement that you can usually get the first slice out pretty well.

Just tried this trick on an apple pie this weekend (frozen, not homemade, so there was no getting parchment under or other any other preparatory treatments) and it worked.
posted by misskaz at 7:35 AM on December 24, 2007

The thing that kdern linked to is a good way to go - while I haven't used one, my mom has. When she first saw it, she thought it was the most ridiculous waste of money. But now she uses it all the time - she even gave one to my cousin as part of a bridal shower gift.
posted by bibbit at 8:22 AM on December 24, 2007

If you bake the pie in an aluminum tin, you can cut the tin down the side and fold it down to get your spatula in without wrecking the thing.
posted by HotPatatta at 8:23 AM on December 24, 2007

I saw this trick just this week on either Martha Stewart or America's Test Kitchen, but I just spent twenty minutes searching and I can't find it. (I think it's in one of the Deep Dish Apple Pie episodes of ATK) Anyway, the first step was to cut *two* pieces (in other words, make three cuts so you end up with two wedges in the fresh pie).

I found this, but the technical solution just isn't elegant.
posted by nax at 8:49 AM on December 24, 2007

nax, I found the tip you were looking for, but you have to be logged in to see it. For those with a Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen account, here is how to get a neater first slice. For those without, it's essentially as nax described - cut a slice, make a third cut to form a 2nd slice, giving the first slice some wiggle room. That technique, combined with the wedge-shaped spatula seems to work well for me.
posted by donnagirl at 11:17 AM on December 24, 2007

I can confirm that the three cut (two slice) method works very well. I've done it like that for a while now. At the very least the slices come out much neater.
posted by oddman at 12:53 PM on December 24, 2007

donnagirl, thanks (but I wish you'd beat me to it, because now it's on record that I watch Martha Stewart. All my street cred gone with a stroke on AskMe. How will I live this down) ;)
posted by nax at 4:15 PM on December 24, 2007

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