The issue regarding care of cake tins and best practice leaves experts divided in their opinions on the matter. However, the following points are worth considering:
Some people recommend that you must never wash up a cake tin, whereas other advocate that you should. Whatever the choice, dirty cake tins obviously have to be cleaned thoroughly of any existing food matter prior to storage. If you do wash them, the important point to remember, is that they have to be completely dry before storing them. If any moisture is present in storage, they are likely to not only to attract dust but will probably begin to rust.
Always hand wash in warm soapy water with care and avoid using any abrasive scrubber e.g. metal scouring pad, which may damage the non-stick coating. Placing them in a warm oven for a few minutes after hand drying, helps guarantee to evaporate any remaining moisture, especially around any grip points or rolled edges.
Cake tins must always be hand washed unless the manufacturer states specifically that the product is dishwasher safe. Even then, the product will probably age better if hand washed. In addition, very lightly greasing the tin prior to storage is recommended by some manufacturers.
If the tin has been stored for any length of time, it is advisable to wash it before using it. Tiny areas of rust may have developed, plus if it had been greased prior to storage, it make have collected a coating of dust and debris.
Even though many people use non-stick tins, the effectiveness of the non-stick can depend on the quality of the coating and its condition i.e. chipped or flaked in places. Experts are divided on the issue of greasing a non-stick pan. Some advocate to never grease a non-stick pan as it can interfere with the properties of the non-stick coating (see video below), whereas others feel that it is probably best to think of the non-stick layer as a useful backup to more conventional ways of greasing a tin for protection. They feel it is wise to still consider greasing and/or lining the tin by the traditional method in order to be certain.
Opinions vary as to what grease/fat is best for cake tins. For simplicity, it makes sense to use the same type of fat as was used in the cake mixture itself. Either butter or margarine is fine and only a light greasing should be required. The key point is to spread it evenly and not to miss the inner edge of the round cake tins and the corners of a square cake tins. Using a piece of kitchen paper makes this a simple and clean job. One should avoid the use of mono-unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, to grease bakeware as they tend to become sticky at high temperatures.
Never, ever use a sharp object on the tin, such as a pointed knife or folk, especially when trying to remove baked on food. Simply leave the cake tin submerged in some warm soapy water for up to an hour to soften any baked residue. Clean with a cloth as usual and if there remains any stubborn areas, consider using a non-abrasive nylon pad. Finally, wash the cake tin under hot running water to ensure all the residue has been removed and proceed to dry thoroughly afterwards.
One can minimize cake residue by greasing the tin properly prior to baking and then by allowing the cake to cool in the tin for 20 minutes after baking. Next, very carefully release the cake by running a butter knife around the edge of the cake tin.
Care of cake tins, whether they be round or square in shape, is a straightforward process that pays dividends in the long run. If looked after properly, a good quality cake tin will give many years of reliable service. Always avoid unnecessary damage to the tin through a moments impatience when trying to remove any baked on residue.
Other articles of interest:
Conversions Guide For Square And Round Cake Tins