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Do I *Have* To Alter The Cake Recipe?


Dailey
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i know that when you bake a cake in a larger size pan, you are "sopposed" to alter the recipe. does anyone not do this and still get good results? i want to make the CI's white cake in a 14 inch pan but am hesitant that it will not turn out well. i really don't want to start altering the recipe since it is one of my favorites. thanks :smile:

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Gotta say.....I've never "altered" a recipe for a cake. Messing with the balance of a cake...not a good thing.

Other than the obvious doubling or cutting in half of ingredients (if you want to make a larger or smaller cake), lowering the oven temp a bit is always a wise idea if you go larger.

That's about the only "alteration" needed.

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Ditto what chefpeon said. I've never done the alterations either, but that's because I can't figure them out. I've always had good success anyways.

Having said that, I don't use commercial mixers and I think there's a possibility that may make a difference. I also use a flower nail in any cake 12" diameter and over, 3 nails in anything 16" diameter and over, and 6 nails in cakes 20" diameter and over. The nails help an awful lot.

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Ditto what chefpeon said. I've never done the alterations either, but that's because I can't figure them out. I've always had good success anyways.

Having said that, I don't use commercial mixers and I think there's a possibility that may make a difference. I also use a flower nail in any cake 12" diameter and over,  3 nails in anything 16" diameter and over, and 6 nails in cakes 20" diameter and over. The nails help an awful lot.

Flower nail? What does that do? Distribute the heat from the center out?

I've never had a problem with cakes falling or anything, so haven't really sought out a solution since I've never had a problem. I use commercial mixers all the time....the only thing you have to watch with those is under or over-mixing. Either one can happen. You have to know your mixer.

But you got me beat..... I have never baked a 20 inch cake. Holey moley! :blink:

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Having said that, I don't use commercial mixers and I think there's a possibility that may make a difference. I also use a flower nail in any cake 12" diameter and over,  3 nails in anything 16" diameter and over, and 6 nails in cakes 20" diameter and over. The nails help an awful lot.

I have sets of odd-shaped pans from Australia (hexagon, octagon, emerald, etc) and they are 3" deep (my rounds and squares are 2"). For the larger 3" deep pans, I've used a heating core (it's hollow on the inside and you use some batter to fill it to plug the hole it leaves behind.) All the flat-head flower nails I've seen have a little curve or lip to them - when you use them, do you flatten them out so they sit level in the pan?

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Having said that, I don't use commercial mixers and I think there's a possibility that may make a difference. I also use a flower nail in any cake 12" diameter and over,  3 nails in anything 16" diameter and over, and 6 nails in cakes 20" diameter and over. The nails help an awful lot.

I have sets of odd-shaped pans from Australia (hexagon, octagon, emerald, etc) and they are 3" deep (my rounds and squares are 2"). For the larger 3" deep pans, I've used a heating core (it's hollow on the inside and you use some batter to fill it to plug the hole it leaves behind.) All the flat-head flower nails I've seen have a little curve or lip to them - when you use them, do you flatten them out so they sit level in the pan?

I don't, but I'd like to know if anyone else does. They do leave a mark on the surface where they were, but frosting hides that easily enough. Can't be any worse than the mark from the heating core...

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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Rose Berenbaum has a chart toward the back of her Cake Bible book that details how to change the amount of leavener when changing cake sizes. It has to do with surface tension, and contrary to what common sense might tell us, (if I remember correctly) the larger cakes require a lower ratio of leavener. If you have her book, you might want to check it out.

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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Flower nail? What does that do? Distribute the heat from the center out?

I've never had a problem with cakes falling or anything, so haven't really sought out a solution since I've never had a problem. I use commercial mixers all the time....the only thing you have to watch with those is under or over-mixing. Either one can happen. You have to know your mixer.

But you got me beat..... I have never baked a 20 inch cake. Holey moley!  :blink:

I use flower nails to help with even heat distribution and moisture control. I know it's probably wrong and you're supposed to just pop a cake in the oven but it works for me. Very big cakes would take forever to bake otherwise, and with the batters I've frankensteined being more liquid than typical cake batter they'd be dried out on the outside and still gooey in the middle if I didn't do it. I'm sure the professionally trained pastry chefs will find that funny, but oh well.

Biggest cake was 22" so far.

I have sets of odd-shaped pans from Australia (hexagon, octagon, emerald, etc) and they are 3" deep (my rounds and squares are 2").  For the larger 3" deep pans, I've used a heating core (it's hollow on the inside and you use some batter to fill it to plug the hole it leaves behind.)  All the flat-head flower nails I've seen have a little curve or lip to them - when you use them, do you flatten them out so they sit level in the pan?

I've never been a fan of the heating core. I don't own any but have had cakes made with them and I always find the "plug" tastes drier than the rest of the cake. The flower nails are just coated aluminum spikes so they're the same material as most cake pans, and do a good job with heat distribution.

I have quite a few, but the ones I use in the cake are just flat, and they sit flat side down in the pan and the batter gets poured in around them. After the cake is cooled and inverted you just pull them out from the bottom.

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The flower nails are just coated aluminum spikes so they're the same material as most cake pans, and do a good job with heat distribution.

You know, what the heck, I think I'll try the flower nail thing. I'm always up for something new and better. Besides, I never use my flower nails for flowers, as I prefer to make my flowers on a stick.

I've got some big cakes coming up this month and I will be anxious to see if there's any kind of difference. I'll report back on results as compared to my usual way of NOT using a flower nail.

Of course, a "big" cake for me goes no larger than a 16" round......I don't have any access to an oven that will accomodate anything bigger than that! My commercial convection ovens will, but those stupid ovens have way too many hot spots for me to risk decent cake baking in them.

So, that makes my wedding cakes less wide and more tall...... :shock:

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Try using the upside down nail first and see if that works

I agree with etalanian above regarding the leavening. I believe Sarah Phillips also mentions the need to sometimes adjust the leavening for larger sized cakes on her website baking911.com .

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Try using the upside down nail first and see if that works

I agree with etalanian above regarding the leavening. I believe Sarah Phillips also mentions the need to sometimes adjust the leavening for larger sized cakes on her website baking911.com .

I actually have no problem baking larger cakes, just by adjusting the oven temp down. I'm trying the flower nail thing to see if there is a definite advantage to using one. If I don't detect much difference then I probably won't use it in the future. I just want to see if there IS a major difference. However, even when I use the flower nail, I will still lower the oven temp as needed for the larger diameter cakes.

In my experience, I have not really had any problems when baking larger cakes that have the same percentage of leavening in them as the smaller ones. So I really don't see much of a need to adjust, to be honest.

Also, having worked in a production cake shop, many sizes of cakes came from one mixerful of batter. It wouldn't have been a very efficient use of time to mix each cake individually with it's own

measurement of leavening...... :wink:

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Also, having worked in a production cake shop, many sizes of cakes came from one mixerful of batter. It wouldn't have been a very efficient use of time to mix each cake individually with it's own

measurement of leavening...... :wink:

I agree with that. RLB's chart of baking powder amounts is all well and good, but my God...I don't have a triple beam balance in a glass enclosure handy most of the time. I had to make a 12" wheat free wedding cake layer for yesterday and I just baked two thinner layers, rather than one thick one. But I did follow Rose's chart for batter weights. And while I'm mentioning her, anyone think her serving numbers for wedding cakes are way optimistic?

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Way, WAY optimistic! for a 12/9/6 round configuration, I calculate 80 servings (including the top. I give them a certificate for an anniversary cake so they can serve the entire cake at the wedding. Too many times someone forgets the top tier, or whatever so a few years ago I changed my policy. Works out much better this way.) I use Earlene Moore's serving chart and find it works really well.

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Way, WAY optimistic! for a 12/9/6 round configuration, I calculate 80 servings (including the top. I give them a certificate for an anniversary cake so they can serve the entire cake at the wedding. Too many times someone forgets the top tier, or whatever so a few years ago I changed my policy. Works out much better this way.) I use Earlene Moore's serving chart and find it works really well.

Yeah, my servings come out real similar to yours, Jeanne. I haven't seen RLB's serving chart....uh.....I don't own the "Cake Bible".....am I bad? :raz: I think if I bought that book

now, it would just screw me up! :laugh:

I also give a gift certificate for the anniversary cake. BUT! If they lose the certificate....too bad!

They must have it in their possession when they place their order (there's a number on it that I verify). I don't keep records of old cake orders (especially year-old cake orders) but I do have my certificates numbered. The reason for this? At my old cake shop, the record keeping was lousy. People knew they could get a "free" anniversary cake. They would tell friends. Friends would pretend they had a wedding a "year ago" and call the shop. The shop would give them a free 6" cake no questions asked. Yeah, that was just ONE of the reasons that place tanked. Being on a sinking ship was no fun at all. :sad:

Sorry to veer off topic.

Back to regular programming.

Leavening? Yeah, that's it. :biggrin:

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