Baking Basics–Preparing your tins

OK, so not the most interesting of topics but I thought it would be good to get a series of baking basics posts together for absolute beginners.

I have detailed below the steps to preparing round cake tins as square ones are so much easier to figure out than the round ones with their curvaceousness.

The first step is to grease the tin. I prefer to use butter as the aroma that fills the kitchen is so much better than when you use an oil based cooking spray. I use a paper towel scrunched up with a small amount  of softened butter on it, like so. Or you could melt some butter and paint it on with a pastry brush. Your call.


Then wipe all over the inside surfaces of the tin…


Until it looks like this.


Just a thin coating. Enough to hold the baking paper in place.

Ah… baking paper. That is the next step. Now there is one very important thing to know. Baking paper and greaseproof paper are two very different things. When it comes to baking, use B A K I N G  P A P E R! I cannot stress enough how important it is so don’t confuse the two. A big clue is in the name. Baking paper is for baking. Greaseproof paper is for, I dunno, I haven’t used it in years. Except that one time I had run out of baking paper so used greaseproof and it was a total disaster.

Baking paper. Got it?

If you haven’t, get some. Today. I don’t want you coming back here saying “oh Kate, your method sucks cos my cakes stuck to the paper”, OK?

Baking paper.

OK. Moving on. Place your tin on top of the baking paper and trace around with pencil, then cut out the circle. You don’t have to be super accurate so if you failed cutting and sticking in primary school there is hope for you yet. Now, you should have a circle roughly the size of your tin. Like this.


This will be the base. Now we need to cut a long rectangle to line the sides of the tin. Cut a piece of baking paper long enough to wrap all the way around the tin on the outside, but no more than a centimetre longer than that as the circumference inside the tin is smaller so we will have enough overlap.

Then, we need a strip about 10cm wide. Because the standard width of baking paper seems to 30cm we fold the piece of baking paper lengthwise into thirds and cut – leaving us with three strips. We only need one, so you can save the other two for the next baking session.

OK, the strip you have cut should just wrap around the outside of your tin, and poke up a couple of centimetres above. Like so.


Make a fold along one edge about 2-3 centimetres in. Like so.


And then make angled cuts up to the fold line.


Then place the strip, cut edge down, around the inside of the buttered cake tin, smoothing as you go. You should have a couple of centimetres overlap. Add a little extra butter here to seal the overlap. It should now look like this.


Next, place the circle of baking paper you cut earlier into the tin and smooth it down.


Voila! You now have a lined cake tin and angels will sing your praises when you turn your cakes out easily at the end of their cooking time.

Easy huh?

If you have any questions, or any other basics you want covered in a future post, let me know in the comments.

Happy Baking!

P.S. Baking paper!


  1. Kevin & Trish Watson says:

    well done, did your Mother teach you that ?

    1. Kate says:

      She surely did! She’s pretty clever my Mum 🙂

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