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Cooking Basics:Coating A Cake Pan With Cocoa

I love to bake cakes and I have made many of them over the years.

In the directions for most cakes, it calls for you to oil and flour the cake pan. The main reason for this is to help the cake release from the pan. This works great and I recommend that you do this step. It will keep your cakes looking great.

However, have you ever made a chocolate cake and had it covered in white flour after it was baked? This really doesn’t hurt the cake, but it does not look very pretty to have the contrast of the white flour on a dark cake.

You can easily fix this though by using cocoa to coat the pan.

You do the same basic thing. You simply oil the pan, then just sprinkle in a little baking cocoa, and shake it around. Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake.

You will no longer have flour coating a chocolate cake.

Is this tip new to any of you? How many of you have been doing this for years?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I do the same thing for chocolate cakes. However, for the non-chocolate cakes, like pumpkin, I still haven’t quite figured what to do.

  2. What a great idea! Chocolate cakes are my favorite and now they won’t look like Oreos or get torn apart from sticking to the pan. Thanks Lynn!

  3. I’d never heard of this tip before, and it’s genius!! Plus, that cake looks absolutely divine. 🙂

  4. I’ve never heard this one before. I LOVE it! What a great idea!

  5. great tip!! Just last week I was stuck with a dark bundt cake covered in white flour! can’t wait to do this next time 🙂

  6. Believe or not, my husband saw this tip on Martha Stewart a couple years ago. He told me about it and I’ve been doing it ever since!

  7. Clever! Does it leave a bitter taste?!?

    What about sifting together some powdered sugar with the cocoa for a little added sweetness?! (No, I don’t have a sweet tooth!)


    • @Erin, I have never had an issue with a bitter taste. I think mainly b/c it is not that much cocoa, and because my cakes are usually very sweet and I usually frost them. (I might just have a sweet tooth too.) I am not sure how powdered sugar would work, but it might be worth trying. But sifting together cocoa with flour would work well so it would not be as much flour/white and would be less cocoa. The idea is just for it to be dark, so mixing it would probably work well.

    • @Erin, I have never noticed a bitter taste. I think most of the cocoa sticks to the pan, preventing the cake from sticking.
      And I agree with Lynn, most chocolate cakes are really sweet, even bundt cakes or ones that don’t get frosted. I am not sure that sifting powdered sugar or flour with cocoa would really work, because it would significantly lighten the color.

  8. Wow! That is so smart! Thank you for this tip. I made my friend’s baby shower cake last year and didn’t flour and oil the pan first. It broke, and I cried. And my husband saved the day before I went to Walmart to buy a cake there. He patched it up with icing and it looked pretty after we decorated it. Thankfully you couldn’t tell it was broken. Gotta love frosting. 🙂 So I’m all for the flour and oil! And now the cocoa powder! Thank you!

  9. Clever, clever, clever! Sometimes it’s the simple things that astound me the most!!!

  10. FoodontheTable says

    Great idea! I am really enjoying your series on baking tips.

  11. I used cocoa for something I made years ago and had totally forgot about it…obviously I’m not making enough chocolate cakes…Yikes!

  12. Great post! I love using this, tough I like to mix a little flour with my cocoa. It does lighten the color a tad, but not enough for me to worry about. I also like to put a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom of my pans after I’ve sprayed it with Pam or olive oil. This way I’m able to quickly and easily peel off the paper after baking and there is no problem with losing some of the cake to the cake pan.

  13. new to me great tip thanks!

  14. You are the best! Thanks for sharing – I did not know this!

  15. I love this blog! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! 🙂

  16. Brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing it. I don’t bake chocolate cakes often, but it’s good to know for the next time I do.

  17. I read this somewhere, and I have been doing this for a year or so. I’ve used cocoa with some of my non-iced chocolate cakes, and we can’t taste it at all. My husband thought I was nuts the first time I did it, but he’s a believer now!

  18. Thank you for the post! I’ll use some sweetened cocoa 🙂 I don’t like bitter on the edges of the cake 😀

  19. have always known to do this………..:)

  20. Great Idea! When ever I use cake mixes, I use a little of the powdered cake mix to dust the pan after I oil.

  21. Great tip! I’ve actually never baked a chocolate cake before (I know, blasphemy!), but we’ve been baking a lot lately so I will keep this tip in mind.

  22. I’ve heard of this before but never tried it. I just didn’t realize it was so simple. Trying it for the first time today. Thanks Lynn!

  23. I have tried this several times and it only worked once. Has anyone else had a “fail” doing this?

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