Scratch Bakers: Large Cakes And Leavening

Baking By vgcea Updated 30 Apr 2012 , 5:52am by vgcea

vgcea Posted 28 Apr 2012 , 10:35pm
post #1 of 9

I noticed the Cake bible has some complicated tables and calculations for wedding cakes. I have not even tried to comprehend the whole thing because it looks so complicated. Before I invest brain power, I would like to know if any of you modify the leavening or particular ingredients in your recipes for large cakes OR do you just scale up your ingredients? Thanks.

8 replies
MimiFix Posted 28 Apr 2012 , 11:55pm
post #2 of 9

I scale up all recipe ingredients and make no adjustments. My recipes all began as home-sized cakes made in a 5 qt mixer. When I opened a bakery in the late 1970's, I scaled up all my recipes for 20 qt and 30 qt mixers. No recipe adjustments. I do, however, adjust baking temps and times depending upon pan size. The Cake Bible was published ten years later with, as you have pointed out, "some complicated tables and calculations." I don't know if those cookbook changes work or not; I have no need to try them since my uncomplicated scale-up method has worked all these years.

TheSweetTreat Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 3:38am
post #3 of 9

I've been reading through the Cake Bible lately myself and saw the tables you're referring to. My understanding was that the larger the cake pan the less leavening you need since it has more surface area and room to rise. For smaller/deeper pans you need more leavening. So the leavening in a 6 inch cake might be considerably different than a 14 inch cake.

vgcea Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 3:43am
post #4 of 9

Thanks MimiFix. i guess I'm just going to scale up and see how my recipe holds up.

TheSweetTreat I was wondering if the calculations were absolutely necessary for a large scratch cake or not or if they were specific to the cake bible recipes. I'm trying to avoid messing with my recipes if at all possible.

FromScratchSF Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 4:35am
post #5 of 9

If you use RLB's wedding cake recipes from the Cake Bible you need to adjust your Rose power to get the best results for a perfectly light, fluffy cake in pans 12" and above. When you do, they bake really even without having to use a heat core and they will magically shrink exactly 1/8 of an inch from the sides, leaving a perfect amount of lip for you to ice your cake perfectly. All you need is bake-even strips to keep the sides cool to minimize your dome.

Not all recipes are this finely-tuned, but I can tell you her wedding cake recipes in the Cake Bible DO need it to come out as intended.

Being a scratch baker and making cakes large scale or doing any production baking is math math and more math. All day long... math! Embrace it, baby icon_biggrin.gif

After understanding how she breaks her recipe down by "Rose Factor" I use the same formula for every single recipe I make. I have them all in one spreadsheet on my iPad - all I do is change one number and everything recalculates for me right there standing in front of the oven.

karateka Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 1:11pm
post #6 of 9

I use RLB 's method, too. I've been dying to make some type of spreadsheet like FromScratch's.....though I'm not all that great at working with those types of programs. I generally have the book and a calculator right next to me.

rosech Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 7:54pm
post #7 of 9

I just double everything but it works better for shallow pans than deeper. I will have to try the rose factor for deep pans. Calculations are my life.

scp1127 Posted 30 Apr 2012 , 12:25am
post #8 of 9

For many recipes, I just leave it, especially if the cake is dense, old, southern recipe. But if the base cake is a newer recipe by a chef that relies on math, then yes, I adjust. These more intricate batters with defined methods and precise ratios will not work as well without adjustments.

Another type of recipes I have found that need adjustment are the more liquid batters.

I use the formulas as a guide, but go by my best guess based on my knowledge of the recipe. I think after awhile, you just know, but only after a few screw-ups.

vgcea Posted 30 Apr 2012 , 5:52am
post #9 of 9

Thank you all for these responses. It looks like there is no avoiding the math. Ugh! I'm going to take the time to wrap my head around her "Rose Factors" and then do a test batch with her adjustments, and another just scaling up my recipe.

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