## I'm Scared Speechless...amounts...samples...

By BakingIrene Updated 28 Jun 2012 , 8:27pm by scp1127

BakingIrene Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 2:44am
post #1 of 20

I see requests on this forum every day for specific amounts of batter, icing, etc to use. Also questions about how to divide recipes.

It scares me speechless. It's so easy to make a mistake typing amounts, and if somebody then goes and follows that mistaken number, they are going to have a problem. Waste money, or run short, or the cake falls, or...you name it. Disaster comes in all sizes and shapes.

Please people--if you can't do such simple arithmetic, then you have no right to be taking somebody else's money for a cake. You should write down the information of how many cups of batter each cake recipe makes. Yes that means YOU measure the batter when you mix the cake (either in testing the recipe or once when you know it's a good recipe). Then you can use the posted tables to fill larger pans.

Or you do everything by weight. But you still have to divide and multiply weights to get the total ingredient list for a given cake project. And you still have to do this arithmetic correctly for the different pans.

And NO you don't just assume that somebody else has written the correct cups per recipe. NO you don't just download a recipe and bake a huge cake with it. NO people don't all use the same amounts of icing for the same sized cake...That should be commonsense.

If you want a small batch for samples, bake exactly the same recipe as your real cakes will be. Use some practical ingredient to do your arithmetic--divide the recipe:say by the number of eggs? Or just use a bunch of small pans...I mean, you will sometimes divide a large batch into several pans anyway, right? FYI You have a legal obligation to divide them into equal portions by weight for sale.

19 replies
Pearl645 Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 3:08am
post #2 of 20

Well at least your are honest and those who haven't started will take your smart advice. When I 1st saw a recipe that had " yield : x cups batter" or CC members saying they got x cups from a specific recipe I thought "wow, that is new. This must be how they do it abroad. I better start doing this too". I was never taught in baking school or by my baking teacher about measuring and weighing batter. We were taught to eye-ball dividing batter between pans. I remember the 1st time I measured my yellow cake recipe by cups and then divided equally between pans. I actually got 2 same sized cakes. Normally one was higher than the other because I was eye-balling it as I was told to do. Measuring my batter really helped when scaling up recipes. I used to under-estimate how much batter I needed everytime for a cake. As for the icing, would it be too much to say "the Wilton BC recipe with xyz ingredients in xyz measurements will give 3 cups". It will help starters get off the ground but I know...u don't want to spoon-feed right through right?

BakingIrene Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 3:20am
post #3 of 20

I don't want to make a mistake that will cost somebody else some money or a lot of grief.

The good recipes all say how much batter they make. The professional baking texts are the best because everything is by weight and you just scale it into the pans according to the published tables.

The Wilton icing recipes do say "makes xx cups" and they turn out for me pretty close to what they say. So you can use the Wilton table that people post links to every day for estimating the batches.

I am also trying to say that the foodservice mindset is priceless. in terms of not wasting ingredients and therefore making a profit.

Pearl645 Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 3:48am
post #4 of 20

Yes you're right about the foodserving mindset. Trust me. I have been there and was there for a long time till I saw all these posts on CC about batter yields by cup. Sometimes I would mix more batter than was needed. Sometimes I would under-mix. Either way I lost money. Lost \$ cuz when I underestimated I had to go back on the road and by more ingredients (in those days I was buying from the grocery and not wholesale cuz I had fewer orders. If I over-estimated I had more cake than was needed. Lost \$ again) and I ahte to lose \$. To be honest Irene, I think it was just laziness on my part in the earlies of running my business to not measure out my batters and make notes. I have learned since. Makes it easier now to cost cakes and faster and I don't lose \$

dawnybird Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 3:49am
post #5 of 20

Wow. What brought on this tirade? I feel like I've been reprimanded, and I was just looking around the site! OP, you sound very angry. Why not let everyone worry about their own business? Just saying.

Pearl645 Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 3:53am
post #6 of 20

What does OP mean?

scp1127 Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 4:06am
post #7 of 20

Pearl, it refers to the original post or poster.

BakingIrene Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 4:14am
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawnybird

Wow. What brought on this tirade? I feel like I've been reprimanded, and I was just looking around the site! OP, you sound very angry. Why not let everyone worry about their own business? Just saying.

There were a couple of people today alone who posted that they took an order for a wedding cake for 200+ people WITHOUT a recipe of their own. They asked for the exact details of how much icing their cake would need, they asked for recipes to fill their pans, they basically asked for somebody else to do their arithmetic for them. It has been happening on this forum just about every day.

At the same time there appears to be an error posted with a cake picture that somebody else wants to copy...an error that experience (or high school geometry) would catch and correct.

Here's MY problem: what if a response has a typo that costs some poor person \$100??? I'm afraid of causing somebody else a problem that their inexperience will not catch in time.

And YES there was a person claiming to be employed in producing baked goods, that posted several times that they wanted a recipe from somebody else to make a tasting size of their own product. There have been other discussions about tasting samples, from people who know that they are supposed to offer the same product in the tasting size as the final cake. It was clear that this particular poster didn't understand that basic principle.

FYI you can set up your account to block all future posts from me. Then you won;t have to be disturbed.

KLCCrafts Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 4:26am
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawnybird

Wow. What brought on this tirade? I feel like I've been reprimanded, and I was just looking around the site! OP, you sound very angry. Why not let everyone worry about their own business? Just saying.

Lots of people come to this site for advice from "the experts". I have seen lots of good advice by BakingIrene and appreciate her thoughts. If we all just minded our own business instead of trying to help others by giving good advice this wouldn't be such a cool place to learn how to get better at what we love doing.

It sounds to me like the anger you hear is OP's way of getting a point across because she is looking out for other people's bottom line. Sometime's it's hard not to get angry when you're frustrated at seeing needless or careless mistakes.

Pearl645 Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 4:30am
post #10 of 20

^^ yes well said. *trods back to kitchen with fire extinguisher*

tbkimber Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 4:38am
post #11 of 20

I think it is very good advice. Sometimes people just don't get it unless you are blunt. Irene was not being rude, just honest and to the point.

scp1127 Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 5:01am
post #12 of 20

BakingIrene was tring to stress the need for some simple math needed to be in business. We talk about business plans and accounting systems, but many bakers do not have the math skills needed to bake as a business.

Fractions, ratios, conversions from cups to oz's and grams, pi(r)squared to convert pan sizes.... the one you really need to adjust recipes, are just a few skills needed in the kitchen.

Some resort to programs, but taking the time to learn the math is a skill just as essential for growth of a business. You can only go so far with guessing and if you need a program, you will not know the fundamentals of the measurements and how they relate to COGS.

We should probably start some threads on the math behind baking. Anyone interested or having a problem, there are at least a few here that are willing to help.

rosech Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 5:10am
post #13 of 20

I hear u Irene. Loud and clear. Our backgrounds are different. Some are used to buying a cake mix box which tells them how much cake will come out. Others know how to experiment, calculate and measure. It's scary that one takes a wedding order without knowing the calculations involved! What if.......? I shudder! Also if everyone minded their own business we wdnt come here. I, for one, choose to ignore some things if they get to me.

Pearl645 Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 5:10am
post #14 of 20

I would like that..a thread on the maths behind baking. All my recipes are in cups and oz. None in grams. I have a problem finding credible and consistent sources that can tell me 1 cup of x = y grams. I know weighing is better but every website and baking book I check is telling me different conversions of basic ingredients like flour, sugar and cocoa powder from cups to grams. Always off by a few grams with each website. Anyone has serious info on this..it would really help if you could guide me to a reliable source. Not sure if this is off topic but it came to mind and I would like the help. There might be others out there who want the help too?

mcaulir Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 5:37am
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawnybird

Wow. What brought on this tirade? I feel like I've been reprimanded, and I was just looking around the site! OP, you sound very angry. Why not let everyone worry about their own business? Just saying.

There were a couple of people today alone who posted that they took an order for a wedding cake for 200+ people WITHOUT a recipe of their own. They asked for the exact details of how much icing their cake would need, they asked for recipes to fill their pans, they basically asked for somebody else to do their arithmetic for them. It has been happening on this forum just about every day.
At the same time there appears to be an error posted with a cake picture that somebody else wants to copy...an error that experience (or high school geometry) would catch and correct.

Here's MY problem: what if a response has a typo that costs some poor person \$100??? I'm afraid of causing somebody else a problem that their inexperience will not catch in time.

And YES there was a person claiming to be employed in producing baked goods, that posted several times that they wanted a recipe from somebody else to make a tasting size of their own product. There have been other discussions about tasting samples, from people who know that they are supposed to offer the same product in the tasting size as the final cake. It was clear that this particular poster didn't understand that basic principle.

FYI you can set up your account to block all future posts from me. Then you won;t have to be disturbed.

I've been here for 3 years, and it's happened just about every day of that time. It astonishes me, too, but it's not really your responsibility to save people from their own lack of sense.

mckaren Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 5:37am
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl645

I would like that..a thread on the maths behind baking. All my recipes are in cups and oz. None in grams. I have a problem finding credible and consistent sources that can tell me 1 cup of x = y grams. I know weighing is better but every website and baking book I check is telling me different conversions of basic ingredients like flour, sugar and cocoa powder from cups to grams. Always off by a few grams with each website. Anyone has serious info on this..it would really help if you could guide me to a reliable source. Not sure if this is off topic but it came to mind and I would like the help. There might be others out there who want the help too?

Next time you bake a cake using cups, weigh each ingredient as you go and you will know the correct amounts.

hieperdepiep Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 7:22am
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl645

I would like that..a thread on the maths behind baking. All my recipes are in cups and oz. None in grams. I have a problem finding credible and consistent sources that can tell me 1 cup of x = y grams. I know weighing is better but every website and baking book I check is telling me different conversions of basic ingredients like flour, sugar and cocoa powder from cups to grams. Always off by a few grams with each website. Anyone has serious info on this..it would really help if you could guide me to a reliable source. Not sure if this is off topic but it came to mind and I would like the help. There might be others out there who want the help too?

I found the site www.joyofbaking.com very helpful. Chapter 'ingredients' (for conversions for a specific ingredient) as well as 'conversions' .

dawnybird Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 1:36pm
post #18 of 20

Geez, I'm blown away by the storm my comment caused. I'm really a nice person and never meant to insult anyone. I guess I was trying to say, if you don't want to "help" people who ask elementary questions, and even if they annoy you, just don't answer, but also none of us really need to "fuss at" the person. I'm genuinely sorry if I offended or hurt feelings. I appreciate all of you and the help you've given me many times. Forgive?

Pearl645 Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 2:10pm
post #19 of 20

I found the site www.joyofbaking.com very helpful. Chapter 'ingredients' (for conversions for a specific ingredient) as well as 'conversions' .[/quote]

Great! Thanks! I tried weighing each cup to get the grams conversion but every time it was always a bit off.

scp1127 Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 8:27pm
post #20 of 20

Pearl, you are right about discrepancies.

Fortunately, I choose mentors who give weights, but that doesn't help on those that don't have weights or when we make up our own versions.

Here is what I do: A long time ago, my first scale had a book of conversions. I used it for years and long before the bakery inception. Later, I found that my book of conversions is not the most popular, but, it works for me. My adjustments are all good.

For example, a chart that overweighs flour usually overweighs sugar too. For example, my chart is for flour 5 oz and sugar 7 oz, both slightly higher than soemchefs use. But the ratios work. My suggestion is to find a reputable chart and stick to it forever and build your recipes around it. If you have a recipe that gives weights, use theirs.

Another huge help... put in the correct amount of ounces and then hit the gram button. Note the grams. This is better when dividing and multiplying batters. For example in my rugelach cookies, it gives the amount that must be later divides into four. I weighed each component and then changed to grams. Now I have four cups I fill with the filling ingredients, now perfectly equal in cinnamon, sugars, pecans and cranberries.