How to Scale Up a Cake Recipe

Not a recipe today after all the wedding cake antics I have a lot of catching up to do!

A question I get asked a lot is how to change a recipe to bake it in a bigger or different sized tin.

I have a full set of recipe sizes for Madeira, Chocolate and Fruit Cakes in The Busy Girl’s Guide to Cake Decorating from 6″ all the way through to 12″ round cakes.

But, I needed a 14″ round madeira for the wedding cake so I thought I’d do a post on how to work it out.

To scale up a recipe you first need a basic recipe and the tin it should be baked in.

You also need the tin you want to bake it in.  Both should be roughly the same depth.

Here is my recipe for a 12″  round madeira cake

700g Butter

700g Caster Sugar

10 Eggs

530g Plain Flour

175g Self-raising Flour

105ml Milk

and here is the 14″ tin (it seemed like such a good idea at the time!)

Because the given recipe works correctly you can’t just go gung ho estimating that it’s say 1/3rd bigger because you will change the depth of the finished cake.

If the cake mixture is too deep you will most certainly end up with a volcano effect in the middle and the outside edges will be too overdone before the middle is cooked through.

So to find out the scale when enlarging a recipe….

Find out the capacity of tin A (the one that the cake should be baked in) and find out the capacity of tin B (the one you want to bake it in).  Fill them with water to the brim (measure the water as you pour each jugful in rather than trying to measure it back out!) Write it down in millilitres.

Tin A (My 12″ tin) will hold 5 litres 200ml or 5200ml

Tin B (my 14″ tin) will hold 7 litres or 7000ml

Tin B divided by Tin A = Scale

7000 divided by 5200 = 1.346

In a world of digital scales multiplying ingredients by 1.346 would be fine, but not with eggs! So we need to adjust the scale to accommodate the eggs in the recipe.  I fear I may lose you when you see the chart…. my brain is aching from typing it up!  You have your scale,  look down the chart to the row that matches the number of eggs in the original recipe.  Select from that row the scale that is closest to the one you have worked out.  That is the number you need.

Eggs                     Scale

2                          1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5

3                           1.34, 1.67, 2, 2.34, 2.67, 3, 3.34, 3.67, 4

4                           1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, 3

5                            1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 2, 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 2.8, 3

6                            1.17, 1.34, 1.5, 1.67, 1.84, 2, 2.17, 2.34, 2.5

7                            1.14, 1.28, 1.43, 1.57, 1.71, 1.85, 2

8                            1.125, 1.25, 1.375, 1.5, 1.625, 1.75, 1.875, 2

9                             1.11, 1.22, 1.33, 1.44, 1.55, 1.66, 1.77, 1.88, 1.99, 2 and onwards

10                           1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 2  and onwards

You can print the chart out - it’s much less bamboozling when you have it in front of you. Scaling Recipes

For me at 1.346 I need this line

10                           1.1,1.2,1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 2  and onwards

rounded up to one decimal place 1.346 is 1.3

so I need to multiply all the ingredients in the recipe by 1.3

Butter                             700g                          x 1.3 =   910g

Sugar                             700g                          x 1.3 =  910g

Eggs                               10                              x 1.3 =  13

Plain Flour                     530g                          x 1.3 =  689g

Self-raising Flour           175g                          x 1.3 =  227.5g

Milk                                105ml                       x 1.3 =  136.5ml

round any rogue quantities ie. self-raising flour goes to 228g and milk goes to 137ml

So my new recipe for a 14″ round madeira cake is

910g Butter

910g Caster sugar

13 Eggs

689g Plain flour

228g Self-raising flour

137ml Milk

 

I just need to find something big enough to mix it in.

 

I hope that hasn’t completely put you off, scaling recipes is easy once you have an example to work with. You can use this method to bake pretty much any cake in any type of tin.  Keep the oven temperature the same as the original recipe but keep your eye on the baking time, of course the more cake mixture there is the longer it’s going to take to bake.  I’m sure there’s a mathematical equation for that too but I’m afraid it’s beyond my limits!

Oh and if there’s a computer/maths whizz out there that can make a little program for doing it instead of the chart please give me a shout!

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

 

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54 Responses to How to Scale Up a Cake Recipe

  1. Lester Fontayne says:

    And now for the science bit. ;o)

    The scaling constant is simply a ratio of the squares of the radius of each tin. Effectively, all you need to do is multiply each tin size by itself and then divide these two numbers (larger on top, smaller on bottom). It doesn’t matter if you measure in inches or centimeters. So, from your example, it’d be (14×14) and (12×12) = 196/144 = 1.36. When scaling up, multiply all quantities by this number; when scaling down, divide all quantities by this number.

    Sweet Success have an online Cakeulator that will do this for you. It’ll even handle the more complicated round to square conversion.

    • Thanks! I wanted to give a method that would work for every type of tin hence the water method – you know how we cake bakers like cake tins in the shape of dinosaurs, pirates and all sorts! x

  2. Laura says:

    Hi Ruth!
    Random question…where did you get your large tins from? Have you found silver ones are better for the larger cakes (less dark crust?!)Got some big cake to bake in the near future!
    The cake looked fantastic – bet your sister was thrilled! Hope you all had a wonderful day.

    Laura

    • Yes I have a full set of silver tins for cakes for decorating. The 14″ is a Wilton tin but I actually picked it up recently in TKMaxx. The rest I bought online. The best brand to search for is Invicta tins they are brilliant quality x

  3. Chris says:

    Hello Ruth,

    Here’s a very useful website for scaling up cake mixtures

    http://www.cakebaker.co.uk/baking-tin-size-conversion-calculator.html

    I used this website to scale up cake recipes and it’s never failed me.

  4. LizF68 says:

    This is such a big help, thanks for taking the time to explain it Ruth x

  5. Heather says:

    Wow ! thanks Ruth for all those calculations for us – I’m far less precise but things usually work out – I have found weighing eggs (without the shells) and scaling up to the required ratio works well. Thanks again. Cheers from Auckland New Zealand :)

  6. Angela M - Garden Tea Cakes and Me says:

    Thank you for a very helpful guide, as you say very handy for those unusual shaped cake tins

  7. Nadia says:

    Oh Ruth, unfortunately baking relies on maths and science more than we would like! Thanks for making an important skill a bit easier to deal with. Love your wedding cake and the edible lace, as well as your fabulous recipes and fun, down to earth approach! From Melbourne Australia. xx

  8. Frances King says:

    Many thanks for posting this Ruth – we’ve missed you! And thank you also to everyone else who has posted useful websites. I now have the confidence to use that penguin shape cake tin that was given to me 2 Christmas’s ago – I’ve had the black fondant for ages :o)

  9. Beatriz says:

    Thanks Ruth!, But how can I know the time in the oven? I suposse it has to be longer.
    Cheers from Seville, Spain

  10. Lorraine says:

    This is absolutely fantastic! I never realised you had to scale up cakes – i just thought to make a bigger cake you double/triple a recipe. My cakes in large tins would cave in the middle and I had no idea what I was doing wrong especially when my standard cakes would turn out perfectly. Thank you for this!

  11. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    This is so useful! I’m making a wedding cake in August so this will be so helpful!

  12. lynne says:

    hi
    i have recently been doing cakes for my close friends and family,but cannot find a sponge that i am happy with, they all seem to firm compared to the usual sponge recipe, i went on a course and the sponges were a nice lemon colour, soft texture, but was surprised to find that it was made from a ready mix and they only needed to add water to it,does a sponge have to be so firm for a tiered cake,it,s all new to me so i’m learning as i go along,any advice thanks lynne

    • Hi Lynne,

      It depends on how you look at it – ready mixes are packed full of preservatives and stabilisers which we just don’t use at home in our baking (for all sorts of reasons) for a cake to be long lasting enough to give you time to decorate it and for the recipient to enjoy eating it then a firmer cake such as Madeira is used as it keeps for a much longer period of time (upto 10 days thereabouts) compared to a regular sponge cake which would keep well for approx 3 days.

      Ruth x

  13. Rebecca says:

    Hi what is the oven temp and time required to make your 12″ madeira? thanks

  14. Gina Essien says:

    Hi,I really do need you help, am making a wedding cake for my friend’s daugther in sizes 12,19,8,6. but the big once are coming out either over cooked or too thick(spongy but not fluffy) and am also stuck on the measurement for the 12 and 10 inches,pls helo me out, i am running out of time because the wedding is in 2weeks time. Thank you.

    • The best option for you would be to borrow a cake decorating book from the library – they have all the recipes in all the different sizes – that way you should have more success and will come out with a fabulous wedding cake! x

  15. DK says:

    Hello – this has been amazingly helpful – thank you!
    I’ve read that you should reduce the oven temp by approx 25 degrees if scaling up, is that right? As you’ve recommended keeping it the same. I’m scaling up a 6″ cake recipe to 9″ and 12″ for a wedding cake and I’m slightly concerned! really appreciate any help you can offer. thank you!

    • If you are going much bigger then it can be better to drop the temp for a slower gentler bake – what kind of cake is it you’re baking? Fruit cakes are usually fine at the same temp, and for a 12″ madeira or sponge I would be tempted to bake at 150 rather than 160. x

  16. Eccentric Genius says:

    If the cake has risen into a volcano like peak why not decorate it and turn it into a volcano cake. Kids may like to eat a cake which looks like a volcano :-)

  17. Helen says:

    Do you work out the calculations with medium or large eggs?

  18. Emma says:

    Finally an answer to scaling up in odd shapes – this is so helpful. I am trying a horse-shaped tin (to be transformed into a unicorn by icing!), and this is the only info I’ve had to help me work out the scaling. THANKS!!

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  20. Ros says:

    Could anyone help please I have been aasked to cook a 16″ madeira cake I have the quantitys but does anyone know the cooking temp and time.

    • Sorry I can’t help you there, I do know though that the biggest tin that I can get in my oven is a 15″ tin so I would just check that the 16″ will fit in yours x

  21. Lee says:

    I’m making my own wedding cake ( Madeira ) had problems with 10/12 inch cakes ! Not sure if I have the right recipe as they turned out dry on the outside and fluffy in the middle . Pls help

  22. Anita says:

    Hi Ruth, I’m going to try this conversion from an 8 inch round white choc mud to a 8 inch round tin. the scale I came up with was 1.224 but the closest the egg scale comes to is 1.5, I guess that’s good enough and better to have leftover batter for cupcakes or something rather than not enough for the tin, but just wondering why the 2 eggs scale only starts at 1.5? I have no idea how you work all this out in the first place but I’m glad you did. Thanks heaps.

    • Hi Anita – yes better to have a little more and then make extra cupcakes! The 2 egg scale starts at 1.5 which would be 3 eggs, it means then that you don’t have to try portioning a whole egg into halves or thirds – which is nigh on impossible! Xx

  23. Karen spence says:

    I am baking the 12 inch round Madeira cake is the baking temp 140 or 150 for 2 hour 10 thank you. Karen

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  25. Emilie Mutter says:

    Hi there,
    I’m really interested in making the 14″ Madeira cake for a friends wedding. Hopefully this isn’t a stupid question – but is the above recipe for 2 x 14″ tins to make the one Madeira cake?
    Any help would be greatly received!

  26. Zain says:

    Hi, I came across your blog by chance and now have been stuck to it for over 2hrs it’s excellent I’m glad I found it late then never
    though I do have a quick question regarding the eggs in your recipe are they large or medium size as its not been specified
    thank you and keep up the great work x

  27. Kelly says:

    Hi. This recipe is great thanks :) been looking everywhere for a 14″ recipe. How long too cook it for please and what temp I have a fan oven. And would you happen to have a lovely 12″ chocolate recipe please :).
    Thank you kelly xx

    • Kelly says:

      Oh and is this recipe for a 3″deep pan? And what can I do to help stop over cooking the edges? Thank you x

  28. Jamila says:

    Hello,

    My cake tins have different heights, even the ones made by the same make! Will this technique still work? Shall I measure the smallest height and fill the others up to this level too?

    Also I’m making genoise spounge, my recipe is for a 9inch and I want a 12 and a 6. Do you think this type of recipe will be ok in such a large tin?
    Thanks!

    • Set your level and then fill them all to the same height. Yes a genoise should be fine in a large tin but make sure its well supported when turning out and moving as they can be very fragile x

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  30. Steve says:

    Hi, we’re making the 16″ version for a friends wedding (wish us luck!) what temp and how long would you say in a gas oven?

    Many Thanks, and amazing work, we love your site! x

  31. Sharon self says:

    Hi hope you can help me please, I am attempting to make my dad a 14inch square cake for his surprise 80th birthday. Do I need to do 2 cakes then put them together with your 14 inch round recipe or will one do and then cut in half an butter cream the middle then I want to fondant the outside. Best ideas please. Thank you Sharon x

  32. Helen says:

    Hi I was really excited about this idea as trying to scale up Victoria Sandwich recipe to a 30cm tin for my son’s 2nd birthday party, but I quickly realised your method wouldn’t work for my loose-bottomed tins as the water seeps out, so will have to look for something else…

  33. Kirst says:

    Hi i am going to be making your 12″ recipe for a birthday cake soon i was just reading the other comments and seen you say for the 14″ cake you need to make 2 and put them together, well is it the same for the 12″ would you say i would need to make 2? Thankyou x

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