My family loves it - just don't think something is wrong because the batter is thin - expect it. When it cooks up it is a perfect consistency! The water disappears when its backed.
Whenever I bake cakes I cut parchment in a circle and put it in the bottom of my cake pans and I always do that with all my cakes. I'm sure you could just grease the pan with shortening but I like parchment.