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Old 08-31-2013, 10:33 PM   #1
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Problems doubling a recipe

I have a cake pan that requires me to double the recipe for a chocolate cake that I often make (recipe requires 3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup oil, 2 cups water and 2 tsp baking soda, to give you an idea.

In the past I had trouble with the cake cracking very early in the baking time. This last time I added quite a bit more water to the batter - more than 5 cups instead of the required 4 - and the batter thinned out and produced a cake with almost no crack and no crown - pretty flat on top. These are good things but it was also a bit heavier, not the light airy cake that the recipe usually makes. Should I add a little more baking soda to the recipe? Cook at a lower/higher temperature?

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Old 08-31-2013, 11:56 PM   #2
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How is the cake pan's shape when compared to the one you would use with the recipe as written. Cake recipes can be tricky to double. If the doubled cake is double the thickness as the single recipe, I think I would lower the temp rather than jack up the liquids which messes up the chemical reaction of making a cake. I've double recipes that fit into a 9x13 pan to bake a 1/2 sheet cake but both cakes would be about the same thickness.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:18 AM   #3
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this is not exactly an answer to your question, but whenever I see baking soda and no acidic agent, I wonder how does baking soda is going work. Basically you are adding an ingredient that not only is not going to do what it is supposed but will also add bitterness to the final product. Of course I am assuming that there is nothing, maybe you simply did not mention it. Kind of as the side note, if soda is not working then maybe it is why your cake is not rising ans is not soft.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:18 AM   #4
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Use a recipe that calls for mass instead of volume, or measure out one batch and take the mass of each ingredient and then double the mass instead of the volume.
For example, in one batch, the variance in 3 cups of flour is less noticeable than the variance in 6 cups when the batch is doubled because a cup is not a precise way to measure baking ingredients in the first place. Each cup will weigh a different amount. It's all in the ratios.

Baking uses formulas, cooking uses recipes. While you can use a formula to cook, you can't always rely on a recipe to bake. One of many reasons I don't trust baking recipes that call for volumes of ingredients vs. masses of ingredients.

The other issue is that the surface area of the pan vs. the mass of the cake changes when you double the recipe because you haven't necessarily doubled the surface area of the pan to compensate for the difference in overall mass of the cake.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:31 AM   #5
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Make sure you are really beating it well. You are dealing with more batter so you may need to beat it for longer than the normal amounts.
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:55 AM   #6
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Beating cake batter would make the cake tough. The more you move flour around the more gluten it makes = tough cake.

Correct me if I'm wrong?
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no mayonnaise View Post
Beating cake batter would make the cake tough. The more you move flour around the more gluten it makes = tough cake.

Correct me if I'm wrong?
That's what I was thinking.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:08 AM   #8
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changing the surface area of the cake will also determine the amount of leavening needed for the cake, it's all about chemistry.

Also as Nomayonnaise said, if you are measuring with cups instead of weight, that 3 cups of flour can vary in weight, and be barely noticeable in the end result, but when you are dealing with 6 cups of flour the variance can be quite a lot, as much as an extra cup of flour added to the recipe.

This is the reason that I really prefer to make single batches of stuff. In the event that I need 2 batches to fill a pan, I will make each individually and combine them in the pan.

With a large pan it is very hard to have even heating from edge to center. With a large pan you will often get a crown and a crack on the cake with the edges over baked. This can be remedied with cake strips and heating cores, both available from Wilton. Wedding cake bakers use these for even baking and flatter tiers.

I wouldn't really mess with the recipe quantities if you aren't familiar with how the chemistry of the recipe works, you can see how just adding more water drastically affected the texture of the cake.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:19 AM   #9
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...with cake strips and heating cores,...
Bakechef, I had to look up heating cores. I had no idea. However, I need you to explain how it's used. It seems it would leave a big hole in the cake, so I know I'm missing something.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:27 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
this is not exactly an answer to your question, but whenever I see baking soda and no acidic agent, I wonder how does baking soda is going work. Basically you are adding an ingredient that not only is not going to do what it is supposed but will also add bitterness to the final product. Of course I am assuming that there is nothing, maybe you simply did not mention it. Kind of as the side note, if soda is not working then maybe it is why your cake is not rising ans is not soft.
Although chocolate itself is a bit acidic, I think you raise a great point.

Without an acid the baking soda won't work as a leavening agent.

I don't recall ever seeing a chocolate cake recipe that only used baking soda and no buttermilk. Recipes that don't use buttermilk generally use both baking soda and powder.

I'd try a different recipe.
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Problems doubling a recipe I have a cake pan that requires me to double the recipe for a chocolate cake that I often make (recipe requires 3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup oil, 2 cups water and 2 tsp baking soda, to give you an idea. In the past I had trouble with the cake cracking very early in the baking time. This last time I added quite a bit more water to the batter - more than 5 cups instead of the required 4 - and the batter thinned out and produced a cake with almost no crack and no crown - pretty flat on top. These are good things but it was also a bit heavier, not the light airy cake that the recipe usually makes. Should I add a little more baking soda to the recipe? Cook at a lower/higher temperature? 3 stars 1 reviews
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