Use Room Temperature Ingredients
If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a thousand times. How many recipes call for room-temperature butter, eggs, and milk? It’s a step you should not ignore. Many baked goods start by creaming together butter and sugar, which is made infinitely easier with gently warmed ingredients—if you’ve ever tried to stick an electric mixer in a brick of rock-hard cold butter, you know why. “If you’re going to bake, you’ve got to either plan ahead or be patient,"
Invest in Quality Bakeware
You can bake successfully in a subpar oven, you can adjust for hot spots and ovens in need of recalibration. But all bets are off when it comes to low-quality bakeware. Flimsy, thin pans and sheet trays won’t conduct heat efficiently, causing your cake, pie, cookies, or pastries to bake inefficiently.
Butter and Flour Your Pans Generously
When a recipe calls for a greased and/or floured vessel, it’s for a reason: Your batter or dough has the potential to bake on and adhere to the pan, so butter it up. Consider every nook and cranny that could get sticky, and be generous and thorough with your application—that means getting into corners and at the seams where the bottom and sides meet.
If you’re also flouring a pan, add in more than enough to cover, tip the pan to coat completely, then tap out the excess. Be careful where you hold it—finger marks on the interior leave the pan exposed, and are opportunities for the batter to stick.