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Jul 13, 2005 11:13 AM

changing size of pan for baking cake?

  • s

I'm interested in trying a devil's food chocolate cake recipe, but want to make it in a 9x13x2 inch pyrex rectangular pan (roughly 10-12 cup) instead of an 8x2 or 9x2 inch round (roughly 7 or 8 cup). Honestly, I'm lost on whether this is doable. Any advice at all appreciated (e.g. lower temp/longer time, same temp/longer time, don't try it, structure of cake inadequate to support it over bigger area).

Also, I want to bake some cupcakes using a standard butter cake recipe. My understanding is that I can almost certainly do this, should just keep temp same but reduce baking time by 1/3 to 1/2. Does this sound accurate?



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  1. My mother always told me to lower the temperature 25 degrees when baking in pyrex, I do this and also lower it 25 degrees for dark pans.

    Baking your recipe in a 9 by 13 pan instead of a 9 by 2 or 8 by 2 is going to give you a very thin cake. Maybe double the recipe for the bigger pan?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Middydd

      The recipe actually makes 2 or 3 8x2 rounds, so I'll definitely have enough batter for 9x13. My question was more if the cake was the same depth in pan, can I bake it and if so, how?


      1. re: Smokey

        In fact, 2 9" rounds is a bit more than a 9 x 13 pan but probably not enough to cause problems, especially in a sheet cake. (The former is 254 cubic inches, the latter 234.)

        I've never tried something quite like this but I don't think I'd change the heat, certainly not more than 25F lower, if you do. It may take a few minutes longer to bake - but probably not much more than that, again assuming the pans are about the same height.

        1. re: MikeG

          Hey, someone else who did the math (although I generally just do square inches rather than cubic, since the height of the pan is more or less constant).

          It works the way the original poster did it too, with cups -- what's important in deciding how to adjust the recipe is the ratio, not the actual measurements.

    2. It may be too late to be useful but:

      6" round pan = ~28 square inches
      8" round pan = ~50 square inches
      9" round pan = ~64 square inches
      10" round pan = ~ 79 square inches
      12" round pan = ~117 square inches
      which is the area of a 9x13

      So you can take your recipe for 2 8" pans and increase it by the exact increment of difference, or rough it out and make the cake plus a cupcake for the cook.

      As I posted downthread, I've never competely understood how the proportion of baking powder has to change, when, say, doubling the recipe. I'd love help with that, but I must say I haven't had an issue in real life just varying the baking powder proportionally with the rest of the ingredients. Maybe it becomes an issue only when you triple, etc.

      1. Thanks for the feedback so far. I guess I should have been more specific in my query. I'm not looking for info on the volume of batter necessary to fill a pan, or how to double a recipe. That end of things isn't the problem.

        My question is whether the baking time/temp might change when one bakes say a 7 cup volume of batter in an 8" round metal pan vs. 11 cups volume of the same batter in a 9x13 pyrex pan? I assume it does, but want to get some sense of it. Additionally, not only do I think it's possible that the baking time/temp might change, but I think it's possible that some recipes might not work in one format, but work fine in the other (e.g. a very dense cake might not bake adequately in the center and burn at outside if baked in a much larger volume.).

        If I'm all wrong here, let me know! But that's really my question, not what the volume of a pan is.



        3 Replies
        1. re: smokey

          Yes, the baking time will change. Excluding the pyrex variable, in a regular aluminum pan, a 6"-er usually takes ~20 minutes, a 9"-er ~35-45 min, a 12"-er (and therefore a 9x13) closer to an hour. Keep the temp the same. 350 for an hour won't give you a burned top (at least it wouldnl't in my oven).

          As for which cakes do well in larger sizes, I can say that all the conventional butter cakes I make have converted beautifully, including pound cakes. I'd be very curious as to how, for example, a 12" Galley Girl's Pear Cake would turn out, as you really want to keep that uniformly very moist, except on the top.

          Now that you bring it up, most 'casual' cake recipes seem to be for rectangular pans. Why, I wonder? I tend to make everything round or square, I suppose because I tend to bake only for guests, and those shapes present so well.

          1. re: Tatania

            Thanks, Tatania! I almost always make fairly conventional butter cakes, so I'm pleased to know they convert well and thanks for the rough estimate of baking times. I ended up making a recipe that is intended for a 9x13 (chocolate cake). The recipe states 350 for 40 minutes, and I would say that was a pretty good estimate of when it was done. I guess the bottom line is--keep an eye on it.

            BTW, is your name really Tatania? In Ukrainian, Tatiana is not an unusual name, but Tatania actually means something (nothing weird, just "that Tanya"). I've never seen Tatania as a name before, so am curious whether it's your name, or is a handle for chowhound.

            Smokey (and no, my name isn't Smokey!)

            1. re: smokey

              Just now saw this, hence the delay. Glad that cake worked! And though all my grandparents came from neighboring schtetls in Ukraine, Tatania's just the first name that popped into my head when I first posted here. :)