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Aug 26, 2013 08:21 PM

Scaling up cake recipe

I am thinking of making Ottolenghi's Apple Olive Oil cake for Rosh Hashanah next week. The recipe makes one 8 inch (20cm) cake that is split in half and frosted between layers and on top. I want to make this recipe in a 9x13 inch pan, but I think that original recipe would make too thin a cake. Would I double the recipe or make 1.5 times?
Anyone have experience of adapting/scaling such quantities?

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  1. Baking gets weird when you start scaling recipes up and down, for such an occassion (vs experiment on weekend alone) i recommend you follow the recipe exactly using the pan size asked for and make the original recipe twice
    Cakes that go from round to rectangle can end up raw in the middle overcooked on the edges, or its too heavy and sinks, etcetc. Aka holiday meal crisis.

    1. I had to do exactly this last week in making a celebration cake. I found this website useful, although the quantities are for a fruit cake, it gives the basic formula too.

      1. An 8" round cake pan is about 50.25 square inches (pi*r squared). A 9" by 13" pan is 117 square inches. The rectangle pan is well more that twice the surface area so I would go ahead and double the recipe.

        4 Replies
        1. re: jpc8015

          I agree. I would double the recipe. I have doubled and 1.5'd many cake recipes for different sizes and shapes of pans and never had any trouble with rising, over/undercooking. If it looks like it will cook to fast on the edges and to slow in the middle, I double pan (set the pan with the cake in another empty this for cookies and scones too if they are getting too brown on the bottom).

          1. re: jpc8015

            Agreed as well. There are many cake recipes that say they make enough for two 8" round pans, or one 9" by 13", or 24 cupcakes, etc. So don't think doubling this one for a 9" by 13" pan will cause any problems. It's not like trying to scale it 4 or 5 times. Baking time may be a little longer, and Sooeygun's double-panning suggestion is a good one if the edges are browning too quickly.

            1. re: jpc8015

              Yep - double it. I have a chocolate cake that I sometimes make in 8" (or 9") layers or else in a 9x13. The thickness is about the same so should work fine.

              1. re: jbsiegel

                for items like brownies/blondies/crumbles, that do not require lots of rise, i double without fear. not all cakes are that forgiving. it really depends on the recipe.

            2. If you plan to still split in half and frost layers, consider making two 8 inch cakes for easier handling. If the rectangular shape is important make in 8x8 pans and place side-by-side for final frosting.

              1. I just did a little MATH!?! Assuming pans are the same depth (say 2"), the larger one is a little over 1.8 times volume of smaller one. NOT much into baking, but would probably just double recipe, but have a small (loaf) pan ready cuz I don't think all the batter will fit... without ricking a mess in oven.

                OOPS! I did my calculations on an 8" square pan... not pir2!!?