Silicone bakeware has revolutionised the way we make cakes and muffins at home, but have you noticed that it seems to work less and less well each time you use it? That’s probably because you’re not removing that sticky, greasy film that coats the pan after each use. That film renders the non-stick practically useless, so it’s no wonder our cakes are coming out of the pan with their bottoms missing.
What is the sticky residue on silicone bakeware?
You’ve baked a delicious cake in your silicone cake pan, you’ve popped the cake onto the cooling rack, and you’ve washed the cake tin… yet it still doesn’t feel clean. Why? Silicone is designed to be non-stick, which makes it an excellent choice for baking cakes and muffins, but it’s these non-stick properties that make cleaning silicone a bit tricky. The bakeware is non-stick because it doesn’t absorb any oils or grease – it leaves them on the surface, which helps foods to simply lift out of the pan with the slickness of the oil. The oils cling to the silicone, which means that even after washing, a small amount of grease may remain, which causes a tacky, almost sticky feel.
Minimising stickiness on silicone bakeware
Having clean silicone bakeware is important – it means you can be sure that any bacteria has been removed completely – so it’s important to not only understand how to clean silicone baking moulds, but also to understand how you can minimise the likelihood of that sticky, greasy film building up.
Hands up if you grease a silicone baking pan before using it. That’s probably most of us. When we first learned to bake, there was no such thing as silicone bakeware – we just used old tins that were as far from non-stick as you could imagine. These tins needed a thick layer of grease to ensure the cake didn’t stick to the pan, and this is something that’s embedded in most of us. Oil and cake pans go together like cheese and wine, but we need to try to break this association – silicone doesn't need extra oil. In fact, it’s this adding of extra oil that makes silicone a bit of a nuisance to clean.
Unfortunately, skipping the oil isn’t going to solve all of your silicone bakeware problems completely. Cakes and muffins are often filled with vegetable oil or butter, and as the cake cooks these fats melt and begin to leak from the cake batter into the pan. This is actually a good thing as it will help you remove the cake from the pan quite easily, but it does mean that there will still be that thin sticky film (although it should be much thinner, and much easier to clean, than if you were adding extra oils).
Cleaning silicone moulds and bakeware
If you’re going to use silicone bakeware, then knowing how to clean silicone baking pans is essential. Removing that sticky residue isn’t difficult or time consuming, but it does require a little more effort than simply washing in hot water. Follow these simple steps and you’ll see just how easy it really is:
- Wash your silicone bakeware in hot water with a good quality dishwashing soap or liquid – one that’s designed to cut through grease like dishwashing products from Persil. There’s no special technique needed here, just wash the cookware as you would any of your other dirty dishes. This will remove most of the grease from the pan, but you should expect some to remain as it clings so tightly to the silicone.
- Don’t dry your bakeware – leave it slightly wet for now. Feel around the pan with your fingers for any areas that are obviously still greasy, and apply baking soda to each oily area. Don’t be shy with the baking soda: you want quite a thick covering.
- Use a soft dishcloth to gently massage the baking soda, mixing it with the water that’s still in the pan to create a thick, creamy paste. Work this paste into the greasy areas of the silicone. Don’t be tempted to use an old toothbrush or anything that could scrape the silicone as this will remove the non-stick covering. While baking soda is technically an abrasive, it’s mild enough that it won’t do any damage to your bakeware.
- Now it’s time to give yourself a little break. Leave the baking soda to dry completely on the pan – this could take a few hours depending on how thick a covering you’ve put on. Sit down with a cup of tea and a slice of that delicious cake you’ve just made.
- Fill your sink with hot water and dishwashing soap once more, and give the bakeware a final wash, ensuring you remove all of the dried paste. Dry the pan and feel for any greasy leftovers – you should find that they’ve all disappeared and you’re left with clean bakeware that’s ready for it’s next use. What will you make this time?