In the house where I grew up, baking just did not happen.
Nothing, never, no baking, period.
No one is to blame.
In the house where my mother grew up, baking did not happen, so she didn't know the basics, like how to butter and flour a cake pan, and she never taught me.
Hooray for baking spray, which "butters" and flours my cake pans -- and especially the crevices in Bundt pans -- and all I have to do is lift one finger to the nozzle of the can to make it happen.
No baking experience required.
What is baking spray?
A soybean or canola oil spray with flour, which keeps it from running and pooling in the baking pan. Check the can before you buy; different brands use different oils.
How/where to store:
At room temperature, in the cupboard, away from heat.
More facts about baking spray, and ingredient photos, on The Perfect Pantry:
Baking spray (Recipe: apple tart for non-bakers)
Yogurt coffee cake with pecan filling
Baking spray really shines when it comes to Bundt pans, which can be difficult to butter and flour. This very simple cake takes just a few minutes to make, and it's great to have on hand when a friend drops by for afternoon tea. Substitute walnuts for the pecans, if you prefer them. Makes 1 cake (12-16 servings).
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp nonfat milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a Bundt pan with baking spray.
In the bowl of a Kitchenaid-type stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Add the yogurt, milk and vanilla, and beat to combine.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to the mixer, and beat on low speed until the batter is incorporated and smooth. The batter will be thick.
In a small bowl, stir together the pecans, cinnamon and brown sugar, to make the filling.
Place half of the batter in the bottom of the Bundt pan, and smooth it a bit with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle on the pecan filling mixture, and top with remaining batter. Don't worry if the batter doesn't seem to cover the filling completely; it will spread out in the oven.
Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let sit for 5 minutes. Then, invert the cake onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before serving. (Can be made ahead and frozen.)
Other recipes that use baking spray:
Zucchini bread with whole wheat and flax, from Enlightened Cooking
Butter cookies, from Rasa Malaysia
Vegan Twix bars, from Alice Q. Foodie
Banana blueberry quick bread, from Baking and Books
Pear-walnut cake with honey-orange syrup, from Sweet Mary
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