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Many recipes I've seen request this.

Is it just to stick the paper to the pan to make it easier to work with?

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I've never seen a recipe advise this. Reference? – FuzzyChef Dec 14 '11 at 5:12
Many recipes advise this actually - a bit of a stretch to give hundreds of references. Every cake recipe in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking suggests this, for starters. – ElendilTheTall Dec 14 '11 at 9:13
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Greasing and lining with paper is something of a belt-and-braces approach to simply ensure the cake doesn't stick to the bottom of the tin. I have several recipes that go one step further and suggest greasing the paper as well afterwards. As you suggest, greasing the tin first also stops it from curling up.

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The paper is non-permeable so ideally no batter should ever get between it and the pan. Or do people go to the trouble of eliminating folds in the paper by cutting out overlapping sections? – jontyc Dec 18 '11 at 2:08

As ElendilTheTall already pointed out, this is to prevent the paper from curling up. I have recipes with tin foil (that's aluminum) and grease. It goes like this: grease the tin, put the aluminum then grease the aluminum and flour...

But, I have great success (no cake sticking to the aluminum) without all this. I put the aluminum in the tin, pour the batter and bake. No problem. OK, doesn't answer your question...

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