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Can I put a cake recipe designed for 2 9in pans into 2 8in pans?

I'm trying to make a cake but I'm unsure if the recipe I can do that since most recipes call for 2 9in pans or 3 8in pans

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  1. There are some conversion sites. The cake will be thicker in an 8 inch pan and you risk undercooked middle or overcooked bottom and top unless you adjust properly for time and temperature.

    I would just pour in an inch or 2 of batter in each pan then turn the rest into cupcakes.

    1. the 9 inch pan is capable of holding 20% more batter than the 8 inch. The 8 inch may hold it but it will be pretty close especially when you consider the expansion of the batter during cooking. The 8 inch will be thicker also. That will require a longer bake s you will have to keep a close eye on it and test with a toothpick every minute or two after the normal time.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Hank Hanover

        Lower the temp by 25F and start checking doneness at 10 minutes longer than the recipe says. Once you see the edges pulling away from the sides of the pans, check the center with a toothpick, or take the temperature.

        1. re: greygarious

          This is what I'd do. But, I'd also add, having done it w/ tall 9" pan cakes, that if is makes a tall cake, it will work but you end up w/ an incredibly tall cake. And, it might overflow a 2" tall 8" pan.

      2. HI, MY NAME IS JOAN,YES YOU CAN PUT A BATCH OF CAKE BATTER MEANT FOR A NINE INCH PAN INTO AN EIGHT INCH PAN,BUT DON'T PUT AS MUCH IN OR YOU'LL OVERFLOW THE BAKING PAN.
        IF YOU HAVE ALITTLE EXTRA BATTER MAKE ONE OR TWO OR 3 CUPCAKES FOR ALITTLE TREAT : )
        I THINK A MIX TELLS YOU TO FILL IT HALFWAY OR 3/4 WAY,AND I'D SUGGEST PUTTING FOIL ON THE LOWER SHELFAND TO GET EVEN BAKING SWITCH THE PANS HALFWAY THROUGH BAKING. I ALWAYS TRY TO BAKE ON MY MIDDLE SHELF,AND IF YOU HAVE ANOTHER ONE ON THE LOWER SHELF THEY MIGHT RISE UNEVENLY ,THAT'S WHY I SWITCH SHELVES HALFWAY TO GET THE LAYER'S EVEN .YOU'LL DO GREAT.
        I JUST GET BETTER RESULT'S EVEN IF IT TAKES LONGER TO BAKE ON THE CENTER SHELF ONE AT A TIME OR IF YOUR OVEN IS BIG ENOUGH FOR TWO 8 INCH ROUNDS I'M SURE YOU CAN FIT THEM BOTH ON THE ONE MIDDLE SHELF,LET ME KNOW HOW YOUR CAKE TURS OUT PLEASE,JOANIE P.S WHERE DO YOU LIVE? I'M IN CT. AND I'D LOVE A BAKING BUDDY. THIS PAST YEAR I'VE REALLY BROKEN NEW GROUND WITH NEW DIFFERENT GREAT CAKES AND PIES.
        I ALWAYS HAD BAD LUCK WITH PIE DOUGH,BUT I'VE GOT IT NOW-I THINK IT'S JUST PRACTICE.IF YOU WANT SOME NEW AWESOME RECIPES I'D BE HAPPY TO SHARE,JOANIE,SORRY FOR TALKING SO MUCH,HAVE A GREAT FALL WEEKEND!

        1. Can you do it? Of course you can! But the question is SHOULD you do it? Not even! Unless you want a big mess.

          Here are several baking tips that come from the days before cake mixes, but that still apply for scratch and mix cake baking today:

          1. Don't fill any size baking pan more than 3/4 full of cake batter.

          2. Do NOT open the oven door before the projected baking time. (This assumes an accurate thermostat on your oven. First rule of baking: KNOW your oven!)

          3. Test cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake while the cake is still in the oven. If any batter residue clings to the toothpick, continue baking another 5 to 10 minutes based on evidence provided by test toothpick, then test again. The toothpick should come out clean.

          4. DO NOT begin testing prematurely or you will seriously risk the cake falling (center of cake will collapse because semi-liquid batter loses its loft when air bubbles lose heat and collapse prior to baking long enough to set).

          5. When baking a cake you wish to serve unfrosted and do not want flour residue (from greasing and flooring the pan prior to filling with batter) to show on the finished cake, simply grease the pan liberally with real butter and omit flouring. When cake is done, cool in pan for five minutes, then release cake onto cooling rack as usual. Cake will release as if you had greased and floured the pan normally, but be warned: This ONLY works with real dairy butter!

          6. If you do not want the finished cake layers to dome during baking, then prior to putting layers in the oven tilt the pans so the batter reaches the top of the inside of the pan and rotate the pan to achieve an even coating all the way around. This batter coating will "crisp" during the earliest stages of baking and will then provide a lattice ladder for the remaining batter to climb during baking, thus avoiding the dreaded dome on the finished cake layers. "It's magic!" The finished layers will show no evidence of the "ladder" after baking.

          So the final question is what to do with the left-over batter after you've filled your 8" cake pans? As suggested above, cupcakes! But the same rule of only filling 3/4 full still applies!

          Good luck!

          11 Replies
          1. re: Caroline1

            Re your #5: "flour" the pan with cocoa powder if it's a chocolate or other dark cake, otherwise with regular sugar. You might think the sugar will scorch and stick. It does neither, and it adds crispness to the cake's crust. With either cocoa powder or sugar, it does not matter what you use to grease the pan.

            1. re: Caroline1

              So helpful! Definitely looking forward to trying #6

              1. re: youareabunny

                Tip # 6 AND Tip #5 were passed on to me by a professional baker many many years ago, and they work like a charm! I've never seen them passed along on a cooking show, and I can't figure out why. I had always assumed they were old homemaking trips that everybody in the whole wide world knows about. From the responses here, I guess not! '-)

                I'm not sure Tip #6 would work well if someone has Teflon or non-stick pans though... If anybody has non-stick cake pans and tries it and it works, please let us all know.

                And about that 3/4 full rule for cake batter, it is possible that this rule does now work well for EVERY type of batter. For example, when I make angel food cakes from scratch (haven't done that in years!!) half full may be a better rule. If you use a cake mix, the directions on the box should tell you how much to fill different sized cake pans, and that will give you a good rule for that amount of batter. I THINK most cake mixes are geared to 2 9" cake pans. Or at least they used to be...

              2. re: Caroline1

                I love your suggestion in number 6, to stop the cake from doming. When I make cakes that I want to frost, that is always a problem. I'm going to try your trick the next time I bake.

                1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                  I have never seen that hint, either--it's a good one. I have seen those magic strips but personally, I cut the dome and it's a taster for the cake to make sure it tastes okay.

                  1. re: chowser

                    True, but when you're baking fancy birthday or wedding cakes that cut surface will release a lot of crumbs into a buttercream frosting or fruit glaze to go under a rolled fondant icing. But I DO own one of those special wire cake cutters for slicing layers in half to turn a 2 layer cake into a 4 layer cake that also works for decapitating the dome, which then becomes "cook's bounty," just like the Pope's nose on a roast chicken!!! '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      The first time I made a wedding cake, I flipped the dome over, pushed down in the middle and frosted. It looked fine...until the next day when all the layers were topsy turvy. I learned my lesson. I put the cut side down but do a crumb coat, too. I have a wire cutter but it's only about 12" wide so I have to make do w/ a knife for larger tiers. But, I love the "cook's bounty." Maybe that's the reason I refuse to go to the strips! But, I will give top #6 a try.

                  2. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                    HI ,THIS IS JOANIE AGAIN,JUST WANTED TO ADD THAT I TOOK A CAKE DECORATING CLASS ABOUT 2 YEARS AGO,AND THE PART OF THE CLASS I DIDN'T LIKE DOING WAS LEVELING A LAYER CAKE(OR SLICING OFF THE RAISED BUMP : ) .HATE THROWING OUT CAKE:)
                    IT REALLY WORKS WELL THOUGH.
                    ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS TAKE A LONG SERATED BREAD KNIFE AND WITH A GENTLE BACK AND FORTH MOTION IS SIMPLY SLICE OF THE BUMP ON THE ONE OR BOTH LAYERS,AND THEN YOU'LL HAVE PERFECTLY FLAT BEAUTIFUL LAYERS-.ONE THING THOUGH IS AFTER YOU EVEN OFF THE CAKE PUT IN THE REFRIDGERATOR TO CHILL UP SO WHEN YOU START FROSTING YOU WON'T WINDUP WITH CRUMBS THAT LIFT UP FROM THE FRESHLEY BAKED CAKE,AND GENTLY GO OVER THE BARE SPOT WITH A GOOD AMOUNT OF FROASTING. ALSO WILTON SELLS A SPRAY TO FIRM UP THE CRUMBS SO YOU DON'T MIX CRUMBS WITH FROSTING.-I LIKE FIRMING UP THE CAKE IN THE FRIDGE OR EVEN THE FREEZER FOR 10 MINUTES.HAVE FUN MY FRIENDS-WILTON ALSO SELLS A LEVELER FOR LAYER CAKES.: )

                    1. re: JOAND

                      (Why the caps?)

                      And this is exactly why I can't figure out why Wilton and professional bakers don't make it common knowledge that tilting the pan and allowing your batter to "climb the lattice" doesn't give you nice fully finished layers on ALL surfaces??? Or am I so old that professional bakers like the one who taught me this trick died out before companies like Wilton came along? When I first began saving family and friends BIG bucks by baking their wedding cakes for them, it was before the web, certainly before many cake decorating shops came along, and Ateco was the ONLY brand for decorating tubes! (or at least that I knew about. It was the 1950s!) And there were no plastic or paper decorating cones. They were all canvas and a real PITA to wash/clean!!! So I used to make my own "disposables" with parchment and a Tiny Tot stapler... Where there's a will, there's a way. '-)

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Well, Wilton would sell fewer of those magic strips and the cake levelers if they gave out that tip!:-) I use both reusable bags and folding parchment triangles for cake decorating. I hate cleaning the supplies afterward, though.

                        1. re: chowser

                          Dishwasher! I use a hinged basket to put all of the tips and couplers and flower nails and such in, then stick it on the top shelf. Those tips can be nasty to clean!

                2. I'm curious if most people who bake have different sizes of cake, pie, springform, and tart pans? I never seem to have the right size pan for what is called for.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pagesinthesun

                    over the years I have accumulated, mostly from tag sales, a fairly large selection of pans. But most frequently used are 9 and 10 inch springforms, 9 x2" rounds and a9" square.

                    1. re: pagesinthesun

                      I have TONS of cake pans, from those little 9" pans that have the "scraper" built into the bottom to make sure it won't stick to two full sets of wedding cake pans in each size from 3" through 16 ", bundt cake pans, an angel food cake pan, two sizes of spring form pans, loaf pans, plum pudding molds... Well, if it has been available in the last 15 eons or so, there's a very good chance I have it. And no, I don't think I'm truly a pack rat. It just bugs the hell out of me to want to make something, then not have the equipment. THAT is one of life's big PITAs!!!

                      1. re: pagesinthesun

                        I used to try to make do but they're so inexpensive and I bake often so have an assortment. I also went through a period where I was making big cakes, eg. wedding cakes. I still have the assortment but haven't make a wedding cake in years.