How To Scientifically Adjust A Cake Recipe?

Baking By Pearl645 Updated 8 Jun 2013 , 1:43pm by Pearl645

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Pearl645 Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 5:52pm
post #1 of 4

Hi all,


I used this recipe recently but got feedback that it was too sweet. I must input that I used Silk vanilla soy milk to make buttermilk for this recipe since I couldn't use regular buttermilk.




  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrot $
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


Can anyone tell me if by looking at this recipe you can tell it will be too sweet and if I can reduce the amount of sugar, omit coconut and crushed pineapples to lessen sweetness while possibly needing to increase some other ingredients? Is it possible the silk vanilla soy milk added more sugar to the cake than buttermilk would have?


I am not familiar with how to adjust recipes scientifically to produce an excellent cake. I just know that if x amount of liquid is removed more of some other ingredient must be added. Hope experienced bakers can help me :)

3 replies
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vgcea Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 7:05pm
post #2 of 4

ARecipe looks pretty balanced to me as far as carrot cakes go. Little tweaks would be to use unsweetened coconut, real buttermilk, bump the salt to 1 tsp and pair the cake with a semi-savory type bc like cream cheese smbc vs the sugary American bc counterparts. Sugar's job is more than just sweetness, it also affects shelf life, retained moisture, and texture. By cutting out some of the sugar you'll be reducing these effects.

If you absolutely must mess with the sugar I was going to suggest subbing some less sweet sweetener like corn syrup and slightly decreasing your liquids to compensate for the 20 percent more water that adds to the recipe but unlike a butter cake, this recipe doesn't give much wiggle room because believe it or not a significant amount of liquid for this recipe is in the carrots. If you're only subbing a small amount say 1to 2 oz you probably could get away with a straight 1:1 substitution by weight without ending up with a too 'wet' cake. I wouldn't mess with the buttermilk or you'll throw your acid base balance off.

One last thing, be sure to drain those pineapples properly cos that liquid is quite sweet.

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MimiFix Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 7:58pm
post #3 of 4

Hi Pearl! vgcea has some very good points. But I think you can cut the sugar to 1 1/2 cups. I've had similar recipes that were too sweet and reducing the sugar was fine. Also, instead of vanilla soy milk, use plain soy milk. If you can, scale the recipe down and make a small cake.

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Pearl645 Posted 8 Jun 2013 , 1:43pm
post #4 of 4

Thanks vgcea and Mimi. I feel very confident with this advice. Will try it again with real buttermilk and plain soy milk as it was a one-off order for a bride allergic to milk. Thanks again :)

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