The New Bakers Dozen
Baking times for smaller cakes

The The Bakers Dozen: Baking times for smaller cakes
By Adelie (Adelie) on Thursday, August 11, 2005 - 09:04 pm: Edit

I made a full-sized cake for the county fair and won a blue ribbon. My husband wanted to taste it but I couldn't cut it before the judging or bring it home afterwards, so I made him a half-sized one, in a half-sized Turk's Head pan. The recipe divided nicely and all was well, but I forgot to adjust the baking time (one hour) and it came out dry.

So I tried again. I figured that while the amount of batter is smaller, its density doesn't change just because there's less quantity. So I baked it for about 40 minutes and it came out too moist.
Is there a rule of thumb for situations like this? I like to make smaller cakes because there are just two of us, but never know how long to bake them.

Thanks for any help -

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Thursday, August 11, 2005 - 11:56 pm: Edit

Hi Adelie, Congrats on that Blue Ribbon !!!
Heres maybe part of your problem.
full size mix, 1 hour at whatever temp.
half mix, 40 min, at whatever temp, AND in the same size oven.
I would cut back temp, 25 degrees, at the 35 min mark start checking every 5 min. to see how its doing.
If its still not done at 45 min, then I would cut back the fat portion of your recipe, but just slightly. like maybe a fifth.
try that, good luck, and send me a piece.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Friday, August 12, 2005 - 06:16 pm: Edit

Hmmm - I never thought about cutting back the temperature. Or changing the proportions of the batter. It's a lemon cream cheese pound-cake, so the fat is all from the flavoring agents, butter and cream cheese.

I'll try it next time and let you know - thanks!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 06:42 pm: Edit

Sign me up for one of those Margaret!...UPS overnight is good!!!!!!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 01:19 am: Edit

ya, that will be the day.
we give all this great advice here and we never get noth'in.

By Snuffaluff (Snuffaluff) on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 03:46 pm: Edit

hhhmmm... I'll give no advice and let's see if I get some cake!!
Sound yummy too... I love lemon. Heck, I just love cake, i'm fooling noone. lol

By Adelie (Adelie) on Friday, August 19, 2005 - 03:26 pm: Edit

My dear and helpful friends, I would be happy to send you cakes, but I'm sure you could all do a better job on them than I can. I have been known to send my fruitcake-for-people-who-hate-fruitcake all over the country to online friends I've never met, so the precedent has been set. I will, however, gladly share the recipe (as if you don't all have equally good ones for the same thing...)

By Snuffaluff (Snuffaluff) on Friday, August 19, 2005 - 03:32 pm: Edit

I'm all ears... or eyes since we're on the net... and I'm still waiting for you to ask for my address to send that cake to. :D

By Adelie (Adelie) on Friday, August 19, 2005 - 03:44 pm: Edit

Don't be shy, Snuffy - send it on!

Here it is, in case it arrives in crumbs - I've never sent anything more delicate than my fruitcake brick in the mail:


This began as a regular lemon pound cake recipe, but I didn't have enough butter and didn't feel like running to the market. I did, however, have some cream cheese in the house, so I substituted, and Eureka! I found that cream cheese replaces butter very nicely, and makes for a finer crumb and moister texture than the usual butter pound cake. A serendipitous shortage...

It works as well with orange instead of lemon, but then you have to change the name on your menu... ;-P

2½ c. flour
2 t. powder
¼ t. salt
8 ozs. cream cheese
1 c. sweet butter
1½ c. sugar
4 large eggs
2 T. lemon juice
1½ t. grated lemon zest (at least - more is good)
1 t. vanilla
confectioner's sugar

Sift together the flour, powder, and salt.
Cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Beat well.
Add eggs, one at a time.
Add lemon juice, zest, and vanilla.
Stir in flour mixture, in batches.
Pour into buttered Turk's head or Bundt pan.
Bake at 325° for 60 - 75 minutes.
Cool in pan 10 minutes before turning onto a plate.
Sift with confectioner's sugar.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Friday, August 19, 2005 - 10:17 pm: Edit

so I was right, theres no way that recipe is going to come out if you don't cut the fat back with a half recipe
this isent a pound cake by the way.
its something else now.
it morphed.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Friday, August 19, 2005 - 11:28 pm: Edit

I think the original pound cake had a pound each of butter, flour, eggs, and sugar, no? So I guess it's a half-pound cake now.

I'll try cutting back on the butter and cream cheese to make a smaller one. Any suggestions how much?

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 08:02 pm: Edit

try this first.
just use egg yolks in the half recipe.
half batch is a pretty small cake.
you could also use for a half batch, a muffin pan. 3/4 full. (sorry the mini ones)
a bundt pan just allows the mix to bake very fast at, as even a temp all around the cake mix, yes?
so with a larger square or round pan you almost do the same thing. I know, kinda.
but close.
that 325 temp should be good for the half batch too. but if you use a larger sq. or round pan, just watch it close, it should bake quick.
good luck sister.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Sunday, August 21, 2005 - 02:01 pm: Edit

OK, I'll tell you how it comes out.

One more question - the yolks without the whites will keep it compact and moist, no? Don't the whites contribute to the loft and the drier texture?

I really need to find a baking chemistry resource!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, August 21, 2005 - 05:08 pm: Edit

As long as we don't cook Margaret, it's great!
Someone else's labor always tastes best!!!!
Should we send SASEs????

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Sunday, August 21, 2005 - 11:12 pm: Edit

Yeah an envelope would keep it

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 12:24 am: Edit

cake...wrapped in foil,...placed in bubble wrap...placed in a small box.
Don't tell them it's food.
Send george one first, he's the official taster.
No sence all of us getting sick!

By Adelie (Adelie) on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 01:59 pm: Edit

"As long as we don't cook Margaret, it's great!"

I gotta tell you, that makes me a little nervous - was there a discussion about cooking me that I missed?

I could be talked into baking, if you really want to risk it. So send your contact info to my e-mail address and a cake will be forthcoming.

By Saguaro (Saguaro) on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 05:44 pm: Edit

I would bake the full size cake, cut it in half and freeze for use later.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, September 11, 2006 - 10:33 pm: Edit

I don't think it would come out the same after you thaw it.
with all that cream cheese.
pound cake does not come out right, after you freeze it.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - 06:51 pm: Edit

Well, it's a year later. I entered my incredibly fabulous Fresh Ginger Cake in the fair and got shut out. The judges were all yakking away, and the one who judged mine cut the requisite slice, put it on the plate, and then licked her fingers. That's how she tasted. Sob.

Her loss - it's an incredible cake!

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - 09:40 pm: Edit

Sorry to hear that Adelie. That is quite a kick to the crotch. Keep at it though. Good Luck.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - 01:40 pm: Edit

Oh, my husband rolls his eyes back and swoons when I make it, so stupid judges are nothing compared to that!

By Tortesrus (Tortesrus) on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - 06:33 pm: Edit

Adelie- our loved one are the only ones that REALLY matter anyway! Your husband thinks your cake rocks- that's as good as it gets in my book.

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - 06:55 pm: Edit

The best for me is when my kids like what I cook. Kids can be some very harsh critics.

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