High Altitude Cake Dilemma
Here is the challenge: I need to bake a birthday cake for a dear friend and 14 others this weekend. We will be in a remote location near Lake Tahoe, at a relatively high altitude, Because of the remote location, I will need to bring all of my ingredients, pans, etc. with me from Berkeley. Any thoughts, tips, recipes for fabulous yet foolproof cakes? Because of the season, I am thinking that a white cake with buttercream icing, decorated with fresh berries would be nice. But I'm open.
I moved from about 100 ft to 5600ft a year ago.. so my experience is limited... but I find that most of my "lighter" cake recipes turn out fine (just a little more dense... things just don't rise as much). but that heavier cakes, like pound cake.. can turn in to a lead brick in higher altitudes. Generally, just be sure to closely follow the recipe.. e.g. if it says use room temp, make sure eggs, etc. are at room temp. and to carefully cream butter & sugar, etc. also, since things don't rise as well, you have to fill the cake pans a little higher... like say making a 3 layer cake, a 2 layer cake... where you might fill something 1/2 full I'd make it 2/3 full.
some recipes just don't work at higher altitudes, but some turn out just fine... I don't know why. I would just suggest maybe you bring a box mix as a back up.... (with home made frosting... well, it wouldn't be too terrible)... those things are so full of chemical leaveners... they rarely fail at higher altitudes.
I grew up at 5500 feet and we never followed the "high altitude" directions on the box of cake mix and things always turned out great. That being said, there are website forums developed to tricks of the trade (with some being altitute specific).