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How to Line a Cake Tin

I like to share tips and tricks I've picked up in the kitchen over the years.

Parchment lined cake tin.

Parchment lined cake tin.

Easy Guide to Lining a Cake Tin

If you are baking some kinds of cake, for example, fruit cakes, Christmas cake and other large or celebratory cakes, you will have to line the cake tin. This is easy to do once you know how, but if you don't have anyone around to point you in the right direction, here are some helpful hints. Lining a cake tin really isn't very difficult.

Now, it may be if you buy non-stick cake tins you won't need to line them. I'm a traditionalist and still cook with the tins my mother gave me, but even my modern springform tin needs to be lined.

Please note: Having read Nigel Slater's book Toast (see below), I thought I'd better add this note—line the cake tin before you start to make the cake!

Cake tin, butter and parchment.

Cake tin, butter and parchment.

Equipment for Lining Cake Tins

  • A cake tin
  • Baking paper (also known as greaseproof paper or parchment paper)
  • Butter, oil or margarine
  • A pair of scissors

Baking Paper to Line the Tin

You'll need greaseproof paper—also called baking paper or baking parchment—what you call it depends where you come from, but it's all the same!

You'll also need a pair of scissors, some butter or oil, and a cake tin. I've chosen to show you a traditional round one like mine that you can get from Amazon, but you can also find heart-shaped ones, square ones, and number versions.

Marking the base of the cake tin with scissors.

Marking the base of the cake tin with scissors.

Mark the Base With Scissors

Don't cut along this line.

The first thing to do is to grease the tin with the butter, oil, or margarine. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Place the tin on the greaseproof paper, allowing a margin of 2–3 cm all around.
  2. With the scissors, score around the edge of the tin as shown in the photo.
  3. Take away the tin and then cut about 2–3 cm outside.
  4. You should now have a circle of paper 4–6 cm wider than the tin.
Snip the edges of the baking paper.

Snip the edges of the baking paper.

Snip the Edges of the Baking Paper

This is so that you get a snug fit. Snip the edges all around just inside the score line that you made around the base of the tin. I have tried to be neater than my usual self for the photo. It doesn't need to be too precise, but it will allow you to place the base into the tin and to turn up the edge neatly.

Greaseproof paper placed in the bake tin with the edges up.

Greaseproof paper placed in the bake tin with the edges up.

Your Paper Should Look Like This

The butter will help it to stick to the sides. Press the paper into the base and smooth up the edges, sticking them to the greasy sides of the tin. Put another layer of butter or oil over the paper.

Now you're ready to tackle the sides.

Don't be put off by all these instructions. It is like writing down exactly how to open a matchbox. Much more complicated to describe than to do!

Measuring the paper for the sides of the cake tin.

Measuring the paper for the sides of the cake tin.

Make the Sides of the Lining

You'll need two rectangles of baking paper.

First, measure the length of paper that you'll need—the circumference of the tin. You can see in the photo that I have a seam in mine, so I place this seam at one end of the paper and I roll it along until the seam has gone full circle and I allow a bit more—say 5 cm. I make a snip at that point.

Then measure the sides by marking the back of the tin. Roll your tin back marking every now and then. When you cut the paper, allow at least 3 cm as you will be snipping the edges again. I allow more and leave it sticking up out of the tin, see below. I'm a born pessimist and think 'better safe than sorry'.

Lower edges of the paper strip snipped.

Lower edges of the paper strip snipped.

Snip the Lower Edges of the Sides

Snip the edges as you did for the base. Place the snipped edge into the tin and ease it down until the snipped edge is folded under and the paper is stuck to the sides of the tin. You will have to grease the overlap to stick it down. Now it is a good deal fiddlier fitting the sides than fitting the base, but I managed to get there in the end. Grease again and smooth down all the snips.

Cake tin lined with greaseproof paper.

Cake tin lined with greaseproof paper.

All Done!

I lined this tin for a Christmas cake so there are several layers of paper. The extra paper at the top does no harm, and if the cake rises above the tin, the paper will support it.

Good luck and good cooking!

Celebrity Chef Nigel Slater on Lining a Cake Tin for Christmas

In his autobiography, Toast, Nigel Slater writes lyrically about his memories of childhood food. I found a wonderful description of his not-such-a-good-cook mother preparing the Christmas cake. I'd have loved to quote you a passage where he describes, more lyrically than myself, how to line the cake tin, and about his poor mother's failings to get it properly organized! You'll just have to take my word for it and buy the book.

© 2010 Barbara Walton

Cake Lining Problems or Stories? Do Leave a Message Here

Rose Jones on February 18, 2014:

I can't wait to be invited over for dinner! Linked to my board: "This I want you To Know."

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on July 28, 2013:

Great instructions for making a cake tin liner. Thanks

anonymous on December 15, 2012:

This is the best advice ever! I would never thought of that, thank you for sharing. Now I'm really looking forvard to baking my next cake.

Funkysi on December 06, 2012:

Great lens. I must try this

dolphinstar lm on December 07, 2011:

Good to know

Barbara Walton (author) from France on November 27, 2011:

@traveller27: Many thanks for dropping by, Heidi

Barbara Walton (author) from France on November 27, 2011:

@AlisonMeacham: Thanks so much, everythingmouse for your kind blessings and words.

Barbara Walton (author) from France on November 27, 2011:

@JoshK47: Many thanks Josh, for comment and blessing.

traveller27 on November 23, 2011:

Very nice lens - well-presented.

AlisonMeacham on November 22, 2011:

An excellent and informative lens/ Blessed by a Squid Angel

JoshK47 on November 04, 2011:

Wonderful information - blessed by a SquidAngel!

Barbara Walton (author) from France on October 30, 2011:

@privresearch: Many thanks for dropping by, privresearch, and for your kind words.

privresearch on October 30, 2011:

Excellent tutorial! Very detailed

Barbara Walton (author) from France on September 06, 2011:

Not a stupid question, Miki-G. Problem with international audience. I've looked at pictures of parchment paper and it looks like grease proof paper/baking paper and is used like it so I guess it is another name for the same stuff. Many thanks for your interest and many thanks for your blessing. Spread your wings and fly.

Mickie Gee on September 05, 2011:

I have a stupid question. Is grease proof paper the same thing as parchment paper used for cooking?

This is a wonderfully written lens. Blessed by a squid angel stretching her wings.

Barbara Walton (author) from France on July 04, 2011:

@Blackspaniel1: Henry and Mark, many thanks for dropping by.

Barbara Walton (author) from France on July 04, 2011:

@dogface lm: Thanks for the compliments, dogface.

Blackspaniel1 on July 03, 2011:

Nice lens

dogface lm on June 23, 2011:

Great, valuable info. The cakes in those pics look mmmmm.

Barbara Walton (author) from France on June 19, 2011:

@anonymous: It is sometimes useful to know. The trouble with our home economics classes was that they taught us to make food that we didn't want to eat. Then Jamie Oliver came along! Many thanks for leaving a comment. I'm adding you to my Friends of this Lens list.

anonymous on May 28, 2011:

Remember been given such information in home economics class in high school.

Barbara Walton (author) from France on December 11, 2010:

@Salvatore LM: Salvatore, thanks for stopping by. Lets hope cake will be Mmmmm...

Salvatore LM on December 10, 2010:

Mmmmmmmmmmm..... that is a pure goodness!!!

Barbara Walton (author) from France on November 30, 2010:

@ChemKnitsBlog2: Many thanks for your kind comments. I do hope it's clear. Difficult to write good instructions when you know yourself how to do something. If anything isn't clear, do feel free to point it out.

ChemKnitsBlog2 on November 30, 2010:

Very helpful step-by-step instructions!