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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The cost of buying parchment paper for baking cake layers

The other day, live and learn brought up a good point on using waxed paper to line layer cake pans. Many people are not comfortable with the idea of the wax potentially contaminating the baked good. This is understandable. Aside from using a soy-based waxed paper, there are alternatives, such as using rounds of parchment paper to line the pan.

I actually do buy parchment paper (I mentioned using it for melting cheese shreds in the microwave last week). I buy mine at Dollar Tree, for $1.10 per roll (including tax). Each roll of this brand is 25 feet long by 12 inches wide.

If I were to use parchment to line two 8-inch diameter layer cake pans, I would use about 17 inches or less linear inches of the parchment roll. If I carefully measured and cut with scissors (instead of tearing and losing precise measuring ability), I could lay the pans on the paper closer together, and offset from each other, to maximize use of the paper.

By doing so, I could use about 15 inches of the parchment roll. There are 20  15-inch lengths of parchment on a 25-ft roll. At $1.10 per roll, each 15-inch length costs 5 1/2 cents. That's for both layer pans.

For ease of removal from the pans, that 5 1/2 cents may or may not be a good value to you. For me, I'd be willing to spend that amount to avoid the hassle of broken layers, or a stuck cake. It would give me peace of mind when in a rush, trying to get a scratch cake made for a celebration. A nickel well-spent.

And just to put it all into perspective . . .

My scratch-baked cakes cost about $1.40 for all of the ingredients (using butter, of course). So, my scratch cake layers, including using parchment would cost about $1.45 for 2 layers. Add in frosting and jam, and the finished cake is well under $3. That is still a good deal compared to buying a cake from our grocery store bakery (at about $5 or $6 for a small cake).

If you don't have a Dollar Tree in your area, I've seen parchment paper online at Amazon and at Wal Mart, for a decent price, and at discounters like Marshall's and Home Goods.

For me, waxed paper is less than half the price of parchment, and I'm happy with using waxed paper, for now. That could change, though.

In any case, the lesson that I learned, here, is to always off-set my pans on whichever type of paper I use, as I've done in the photo above. I will waste less paper, and make my money go farther.


  1. Hmmm, guess I'm lucky to have inherited from my spouse's grandmother years ago two vintage "easy release" cakepans with little attached slide thingies. Once the cake is baked and cooled, you just give the little 'arm' a slide around the circumference of the pan to lift up any stuck cake. Super handy!

    1. Hi Patience,
      I think I know what you're talking about. I've seen those cake pans before. They do look very handy. Another kind of easier to release pan, that I've used for layer cakes, is a springform pan. After the cake is baked, you can just run a knife around the side and release the side part of the pan, then run an offset spatula or large knife under the cake in the pan and get it all out in one piece that way. Anyways, that's great that you have those inherited pans.

      Have a great day, Patience!

  2. So, I'm wondering if you could wipe the parchment paper clean, let it dry and re-use it? My guess is yes.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Parchment is so durable, you probably could. At the very least, it could be wiped/scraped clean, dried and stored in the freezer, then used again. And it would save cutting paper the next time around. Now that would definitely be a way to reduce the cost of using parchment over waxed paper, and not worry about getting wax in food/baked goods.

      Thanks for the suggestion, Alice. Have a great day!

    2. Alice--

      I've never re-used parchment from a cake, but I re-use parchment quite often from other uses. I re-heat bread or muffins in the same parchment over and over, and sometimes use that same parchment when I want to cover a baking dish (like you would aluminum foil) or under roasting sweet potatoes before having to discard it. (Makes great kindling for my morning fire, rather than going into the trash.)


      Parchment is also great for steaming things, like tamales and fish, and for paper-wrapped Chinese chicken.

      As for soy waxed paper, it's certainly probably a step-up from regular for cooking, but there's so much soy in everything, probably many people (especially women) ought to be careful that it's not contributing to raising their estrogen levels. Do you happen to know (oh, font of home trivia that you are! :)) what is on regular waxed paper? Because I'm not the least bit squeamish about paraffin (I used to eat plenty of paraffin-sealed jelly from friends, and we use paraffin to "grease" our waffle irons); so if it's that, I wouldn't personally worry about ingesting any.

      I was thinking the other day that if I was eating daily sandwiches again, I might wrap them in waxed paper instead of using sandwich bags. There's something homey about a waxed-paper-wrapped sandwich (and you can sometimes re-use that, depending on what was in the sandwich/how soon you can rinse the paper. I have bought generic sandwich bags in huge boxes so that they last for ages and ages, but I'm not a big fan of plastic. I'm guessing that even sale waxed paper might be more expensive. What do you think?

      Have a great day, everyone! Sara

    3. Hi Sara,
      regular waxed paper is also known as paraffin paper, so my guess is, yes, it is paraffin wax used. I have a similar issues over plastic wrap, hard plastic, waxed paper. For lunch sandwiches, we favor hard plastic containers over baggies, as the containers are easier for me to wash (top rack dishwasher) than baggies. Dollar Tree carries some that are very flat, just the size of 2 slices of bread. I'm not sure on the cost of waxed paper vs plastic baggies. It would seem waxed paper would cost more. Dollar Tree waxed paper is 65 feet for $1. So assuming you used 1 foot per sandwich, you could wrap 65 sandwiches. Whereas with baggies, you can wash and reuse them over and over, so a box of 50 at Dollar Tree might last for 200 or more sandwiches. I remember my mom wrapping our sandwiches in waxed paper. The method was called the "drugstore wrap". I sometimes do picnic lunches this way, just for the memory.

      Have a great day, Sara!

  3. I learned the line your cake pan trick back in the 70s when I took my first cake decorating class. The instructor told us to use brown paper bags (print side away from the cake) I now use parchment but over the years I've also used butcher paper. There is NO NEED to grease the pan at all. Just the liner in the bottom. You get a taller flatter layer by letting the batter climb up the sides of the pan, it can't clime a slippery surface as well. also baking your cake in a 325 oven gives you flatter layers

    1. Hi frugal spinster,
      I wasn't sure if I remembered correctly, but I was thinking that people used to use greased brown paper bags for lining pans. Hmmm, I'll try not greasing my pans next time. Thanks for the tip.

  4. We have never had any issues with wax getting on baked goods, but it's so nice that the Dollar Tree now carries parchment paper. I remember it seeming expensive before and I resisted buying it until about a year ago when I saw it for a good price, maybe at Target. I remember my mom using brown paper bags cut open for baking meringue cookies on.

    1. Hi Mary,
      I know. Dollar Tree is really making dollar stores seem better. And the parchment paper I bought was USA made (as was the waxed paper and plastic wrap), so I don't feel uneasy about what I'm buying. I am definitely trying baking meringues on brown paper bags. I've always used foil. I'll be baking meringues closer to Christmas. Thank you for the tip!

  5. Hi,
    I had forgotten about brown paper bags to line pans. I might try that when I run out of wax paper and parchment paper. thought I had a life time supply. A friend gave me a box years ago(maybe 12 years ago) with wax paper and parchment.I am down to one box of wax paper and one box of parchment. It is good to know I can go to dollar tree when I run out. Also I am going to off set the cake pans to get more mileage out of them.Lili I continue to learn new things from you :)and afrugalspinster I am totally trying the let the cake climb the side of the pan thing.
    Have a blessed day ladies.

    1. Hi Patti,
      Paper grocery bags are still free here, at most stores, so I have a huge supply. I use them for gift wrap, for postal wrap, for draining greasy foods, and now, I'll try them for lining pans.

      I know. Something so simple as off-setting the pans will yield enough waxed paper or parchment to line pans for a couple more cakes. Every last little bit helps.

      Have a great day, Patti!

  6. I have never lined my pans with parchment paper. I guess because my mom didn't. I did invest in some cookie sheet sized non stick pads that I love. I use them all the time. Now you have me wondering if they make something similar for cake pans.

    1. Hi Shara!
      Same "Shara" from before? I checked your new blog and it sounds like it. Welcome back to the blogging world!

      I wonder, too, if there's a silpat type liner for cake pans.

  7. It was fun reading everyone's comments as they brought back a lot of memories cake pans with sliders, wrapping my father's sandwiches in wax paper for his lunch, etc.

    1. I know what you mean, live and learn. I have fond memories of a simpler life that coincide with eating my lunch sandwiches out of a waxed paper wrap.

  8. I did not know you could line a baking pan with a brown paper bag. Interesting tip. :)

    I have parchement paper in my pantry, but I don't use it often. I like to cook better than I like to bake, but I do hope to do some baking soon.

    I was just at the Dollar Tree today and it was crowded. I'll probably be back before Christmas to get in the mad rush again. lol

    1. Hi Belinda,
      I'm definitely going to try brown paper bags for lining cake pans. There are still a few stores in our area that give paper bags with grocery purchases. They're handy to have, for draining greasy foods, or wrapping parcels for mailing.


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