What do you use to keep the cake from sticking? I have always coated the pan with butter, however pretty much every time it always ends up sticking in some way or another. Should I be using something else? I need to use something that's known to keep it from sticking as I am extremely new to this and the easier it is for me, the better!!
Three words....homemade cake release! So easy and WAY cheaper than those aerosol cans of cake release.
Combine in a bowl ,equal parts vegetable shortening, vegetable oil, and all-purpose flour. I usually mix 1/2 cup of each at a time. I store mine in a covered plastic container in the fridge, but other people leave it out at room temp. Take a pastry brush and "paint" the sides and bottom of your pans before filling with batter.
I use this exclusively. I've never used parchment, though some people swear by it. HTH.
I'm too lazy to deal with cake release, so I just use a flour and oil spray like Bakers Joy or Crisco.
However, I'm not too lazy to cut a piece of parchment to fit on the bottom of every pan (when possible, of course). I NEVER have cake stuck to the bottom. It's impossible with parchment on the bottom. Plus, I leave the parchment on the layer until the last minute. Helps prevent the cake from breaking while working with it (flipping it over on the cooling rack, leveling, torting, etc..)