Let's say I want to bake a two layer cake in a certain pan, but I only have one of those pans. If I fill the pan with half the batter, and bake it (almost an hour), won't the batter that's left in the bowl start to raise while I'm waiitng for the pan? I'm guessing I need to make two separate batches of batter, right? Please advise.....
No!!! It's not like dough that has yeast in it!! Cake batter does not rise
so don't worry about it sitting waiting to get used.
You're fine, no need to make more batter. Your leftover batter will be fine, its not like its going to sit for a week, it only till one layer bakes. Just cover it (to keep the whatevers out) till you finish baking your first layer.
Give the batter thats still in the bowl a bit of a stir, then bake away as usual. Just be sure your pan is not hot from the first baking.
Box mixes will be fine sitting on the counter waiting, but I have found that not all scratch recipes are. Scratch recipes are a science and the chemical reactions start as soon as all of the liquid and dry ingredients are combined.
kayMc, you might find this thread an interesting read. Its quite an eye opener. Subject is cake batter.
Leily is correct. As soon as you add your liquid to your dry ingredients you are going to either 1. activite the tartaric acid in the baking powder which will react with the baking soda that is also in the baking powder or 2. it will be an acid that will activate your baking soda. Either way, you begin the chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide that starts your leavening process. Because there is very little gluten in cake batter and most of your structure actually comes from the starches as they cook, you will loose a lot of your leavening by mixing up your batter too early. I would even be hesitant to do it with a box mix.
I know I was taught in high school Home Ec that the liquid ingredients start the raising process w/ the baking soda or baking powder. It seems obvious from what Mamawrobin and Leah have said the putting in the fridge prevents this process. That is good to know, and I will do this in the future. Thanks everyone!
Putting it in the refrigerator won't prevent the chemical reaction. At best, it may slow it down. Once those two chemicals come into contact with each other, they are going to react.
For fun, put some baking soda in a little cold vinegar and some in room temp vinegar, that is essentially the same type of reaction. It will help you see what the difference is.
If I were making the cakes, I would have both dry ingredients and wet ingredient ready to go, but wouldn't mix them until I am ready to bake the cake.
speaking from experience.
Yes, you can hold the batter in the fridge and use later.
I've held it overnight with no noticeable difference in the outcome (density, amount of rise, etc.) when baked.