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Scaling Up Chocolate Cakes

Asked by amycakes. Answered on 9th May 2011

Full question

Hi, I want to make a bigger version of Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake (Feast, p269) as part of a stacked wedding cake. Could you please tell me what the ingredients would be for making a 10'' cake or how to scale it up? Thanks, amycakes

Can I successfully double the recipe for Devils Food Cake in Kitchen (p253)?I want to make a 26cm version of this oh so yummy cake for a birthday and need it to be spectacular! I could experiment but don't want to waste ingredients if it doesn't work. Many thanks, cupcake53

Hi, your recipe for Chocolate Fruit Cake (Christmas, p180) is for an 8-inch cake with approximately 2hrs cooking time. I am making this for my wedding cake and need a 10-inch round cake. I believe this would need 1 1/2 times the original quantity but I am stuck for cooking time. I have experimented once and it baked in just over 2 hrs but it burned a little. I have a fan oven that is quite fast, any suggestions? Thanks, Therese

Our answer

Unfortunately we haven't tried scaling up any of Nigella's cakes so we aren't able to offer any specific advice on the scaling up of her cake recipes. Scaling up cake recipes is also tricky at times as the larger a cake becomes, the more difficult it is to make sure that the cake bakes all of the way through without burning on the outside. For sponge cakes of 25cm/10 inches or more it may be useful to use a baking core which is inserted into the centre of the cake and conducts heat to the centre for ore even baking (for suppliers see the links below). Scaling up recipes can also cause problems with fractions of eggs, though if you find you need half an egg then generally using just a yolk instead of the half egg works in cakes, as long as there are some whole eggs as well in the ingredients.

For the Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake the original recipe is for 20cm/8-inch tins (pans) so to increase to 25cm/10-inch tins you are likely to need to increase the cake ingredients by 25% to 50% (ie 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 times the recipe). Also if you are stacking cakes then you will need to run dowelling rods through the cake when you assemble the tiers as a sponge cakes are not able to hold much weight on top.

For the Devil's Food Cake again the recipe is for 20cm/8-inch tins so again could be increased by 25% to 50% for 25cm/10-inch tins. However for this cake we would suggest that you make 1 1/2 quantity of the cake mixture, split it equally between 3 x 20cm tins and bake following the instructions in the recipe (if you only have 2 tins then make and bake one full recipe and then make a half recipe and bake in one of the washed up tins when the first cakes are cool) Make 1 1/2 times the icing to fill and cover the cake. This will make a 3 tier cake which will be spectacular too.

For the Chocolate Fruit Cake if you are using 1 1/2 times the original recipe then line the cake tin as described in the recipe and then also wrap a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the pan. Secure the paper with stapes and then tie a piece of string around the pan to hold the paper in place (see p173 of Christmas for detailed instructions). This will give some extra protection to the outside of the cake. For fan ovens you usually reduce the baking temperature by 20c/50F but do check your manufacturer's handbook for more specific advice on your oven.



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