Problems When Multiplying Scratch Recipe

Baking By -Tubbs Updated 8 Nov 2009 , 3:23am by KitchenKat

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-Tubbs Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 1:04am
post #1 of 10

This is driving me crazy. I have a nice recipe for a basic butter/pound cake (it's not called that because it's a British recipe, but that's what it's like). It works great when I mix one or two quantities, but anything over that weird stuff happens. Today I've had to chuck 6, 8 and 10" squares I was baking for a wedding on Saturday - $20 ingredients down the drain. I was so freaked I didn't even try again, I just went to the store and did doctored box mixes (which I really prefer NOT to do).

Here's the recipe:
4oz each butter, flour, sugar, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, 1tsp BP, vanilla.

When I double and bake in a small pan it turns out really nicely. Today I mixed quadruple quantities (very carefully to ensure everything was correct) and the cake took forever to cook and was dark and wet and full of large bubbles. Now it looks like foam rubber.

Can anyone save me from this insanity???!!

9 replies
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Deb_ Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 1:20am
post #2 of 10

tubbs I've found that with pound cake or any other heavy dense cake when I double or triple the recipe to bake in larger sized pans, I have to also increase the amount of BP....usually I add an extra 1/2 tsp to help the recipe rise properly.

Having said that, I have found some recipes that just don't multiply well, it's a real trial and error sort of thing.

Sorry you had to throw away so much today, that stinks.


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BlakesCakes Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 1:23am
post #3 of 10

Looks like a classic pound cake to me.

Sadly, some recipes just won't give you the same results when they're increased.

Baking is chemistry and sometimes you can only get so much yield before you screw up the reactions. My guess is that's what's happening once you go beyond doubling.

Good luck.

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-Tubbs Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 2:05am
post #4 of 10

Thanks for your responses. Deb, I honestly don't think extra BP would have saved this - it was a real disaster. It's like there was too much liquid, or maybe eggs..?

So what do other scratch bakers do when they need to make a larger cake? Are there recipes specifically for large yield? I use a KA 6qt, so can't use a recipe meant for a commercial mixer.

I'm getting desperate. This isn't the first time this has happened and I hate wasting ingredients. I have a reliable scratch chocolate cake which multiplies really well, and need the equivalent in vanilla cake.

Thanks again.

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costumeczar Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 2:52am
post #5 of 10

I don't have trouble multiplying quantities, but I do notice that square cakes bake up differently than rounds. Could that be part of the problem? It also sounds like you might have left out some baking powder or another leavener, I've done that before and been left with a rubber hockey puck instead of a cake...

With the squares, you have to use more batter than you would in the round pans in order for the corners to bake as high as the center of the cakes. I notice that the corners tend to bake faster than the center, so they stop rising faster and end up being shorter. Maybe using a flower nail in the center would help, too.

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-Tubbs Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 3:27am
post #6 of 10

Okaaay, interesting. They are 3" pans - I'm wondering if that may be part of my problem.... I prefer 2" but could only get Wilton, so instead I bought 3" Fat Daddio's and have torted twice. Also, I'm baking at altitude (3500ft), which adds another 'fun' element to the equation. I did use a flower nail in the 10" pan, but no bake-even strips.

You're definitely right about needing more batter. The corners were a bit lower so I've had to cut off the middle to even it out (this is on my new, box-mix cakes).

Those first cakes baked up high, just like damp rubbery sponges. I'm pretty sure my measurements were good - I was very careful because I didn't want to make any mistakes (haha). I'd take a picture but my husband has taken my camera away to work with him...

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prterrell Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 4:22pm
post #7 of 10

Hmmm. Sounds to me as well that the pans were the culprit.

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Mike1394 Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 8:08pm
post #8 of 10

I think it's more in the mixing.


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brincess_b Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 9:23pm
post #9 of 10

sounds like a victoria sponge cake to me.
i use it, and always double, tripple, quarter etc the recipe.
there it a bit of technique to it - over mixing might be the problem. but when i have had more rubbery results, its definatly a maths problem, and i have missed something out.

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KitchenKat Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 3:23am
post #10 of 10

Whenever I double/triple/quadruple recipes, I always do it by weight and not by volume.

Slight variations in measurements are almost always okay in small quantities but multiply that by 3 or 4 then the variations become very significant.

For example, most recipes are written with "large" eggs as the standard sized egg. A large egg weighs 50 grams. Even eggs graded large can be off by a few grams, say 3 to 7, usually heavier than the standard 50 grams. If you use 2 eggs then you can be off by about 6 -14 grams which isn't so bad. But if you're now using 8 eggs, you're off by about 24-56 grams which is pretty significant. Especially since the flour, butter and sugar are measured by weight which means even when they are scaled up they maintain the proper proportions.

Same is true with liquids & the baking powder.

Try scaling by weight next time and see what happens.

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