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Old 10-27-2009, 12:32 PM   #1
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Wedding Cake flavoring and scaling?

My DIL has been asked by her BFF (since 2nd grade) to make her wedding cake because she does a lot of birthday cakes - but she makes these from boxed mixes. Well, Carrie doesn't want to use a mix for this one - she wants to try to do this one from scratch! Grandpa has been recruited to help with the project, and I'm not really that much of a cake baker although I do understand the process and the science - thanks to my baker's manual and Shirley Corriher.

I have a recipe from a baker's manual that was used in the culinary program at the junior college (written by the head pastry guy at the CIA in 1972) for a basic white wedding cake but it is a 14.5 lbs batch! So, to test it I scaled it down to 1.5 lbs (weight of batter for 1 8-inch pan).

To scale it up or down I took the original recipe and put it into a spreadsheet so I could play with scaling by batch weight using the percentage of each ingredient as part of the total weight to give me the amounts needed for various batch weights (entered in pounds) and then calculate the volumes from that:



Did I do this right? Or, do you see somewhere I went astray? I took all of these ingredients and checked them against Shirley's list to balance a recipe and it looks right. Yes, I know, I should really use scales to do it by weight ... now if you could point me to which box they are in (everything I own is in storage in my son's garage) ...

Now, the problem of the flavoring ... Carrie wants an Amaretto flavor, not sure how much to use but for this first test cake I'm using 1 Tablespoon. If I need to increase it for more flavor, do I just replace part of the milk with Amaretto or use some powdered milk or just use Amaretto and water with powdered milk to replace the volume of milk?

Should I still use some vanilla extract in addition to the Amaretto?

I'm off to whip up the first test batch of this using AP flour .... I'm sure I'll have more questions later!

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Old 10-27-2009, 12:53 PM   #2
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Michael, your calculations look very good. However, if you can get your hands on a scale I would go with the weights instead of the cups. It makes a better cake, specially for a wedding.

For the amaretto, yes, do use the vanilla and do take the amaretto from the milk. Don't use water and powdered milk as it will change the texture slightly and you don't want that in a wedding cake.

If you want I can PM you my wedding cake recipe and how I scale it up. Just give me the diameter and height of the layers you want.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:09 PM   #3
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I find that if I add too much alcohol to a cake recipe, it changes the chemistry. But if I don't add enough, you can't tell it's there.

If you want to boost the Amaretto flavor without ruining your cake, add some almond extract along with the Amaretto.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:39 PM   #4
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Michael: I use Excel all of the time for messing around with recipes. Its lots of fun and some interesting things pop up once in a while.

Your numbers look OK and your basic thinking is correct; but you have made it a little more complicated that necessary and there are minor and essentially inconsequential errors.....due to rounding, I suspect.

It is really not necessary to calculate all of those individual ingredient percentages unless you are just curious to see what they are.

All you need to do is divide the weight of the new recipe by the weight of the original recipe which will give you the ratio for all ingredients.

1.5 14.5 = 0.103

Take the resultant number (0.103) and multiply it by the amounts of each ingredient in the original recipe and you will have the amounts needed for the new recipe.
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:30 PM   #5
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Oops!!

Turns out Mike's numbers are spot on. When I reviewed them the first time, I based my work on the statement that the original recipe was 14.5 pounds; but it is actually 14 pounds 5 ounces. That makes the ratio shown in the previous comment 0.105 rather than 0.103. Using the new ratio, his figures and mine agree right down the 1/100 of an ounce!!

I do, however, stand by my comment that it is easier to use a simple ratio rather than calculate percentages for each ingredient.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:12 PM   #6
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Do you think it would be ok for you to sprinkle the cake with simple syrup flavored with Amaretto? This way you would be adding flavor and moisture at the same time. I am just suggesting this because I always sprinkle the cakes I bake with syrup flavored with rum.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:42 PM   #7
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Well, that recipe didn't really come out with the crumb I wanted - tweaked it a little by doubling the fat, tried with whole eggs instead of just whites, instead of straight creaming method used creaming and foam (whipped the whites and folded them in). Finally got what I was looking for ... but Carrie also tried three other recipes. So, when the bride came over to taste test we had 6 cakes to choose from. She didn't really like any of them - she decided she didn't like the Amaretto in the cake the way she thought she would!

So - back to the drawing boards and 4 more recipes - and the final winner turned out to be one that surprised me - a Betty Crocker Raspberry-White Chocolate Cream cake. Well, Carrie did tweak it a bit (fresh raspberry puree instead of the wine coolers, and a couple of other little things - and she used her own icing recipe). There wasn't a crumb left!

This is a picture Carrie took with her phone after she got the finishing touches on it before taking it to the shindig ...

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Old 11-11-2009, 04:31 PM   #8
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Michael, it is beautiful.

I apologize I never got those recipes to you. I had them all ready to go and just had to copy and paste and it got lost in the to do list in my memory. Think I will have to start using pen and paper but that would get lost on my desk...or maybe it is the fact I put mayo on my burgers that is affecting my thought processes.

This is a beautiful cake and the flavour sounds awesome!
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:57 PM   #9
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No problem Laurie! After the first try didn't turn out as I expected I just started 'sperimenting to see what this thing and that thing would do. It was fun - and I have a bunch of cake samples I can munch on for breakfast, afternoon snack, midnight snack, etc. - just need to remind Carrie to get more milk!
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:10 AM   #10
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Nice looking cake..i bet it taste good...i still need to practice baking coz im kinda scared of it;)
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