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January 12, 2009 in Uncategorized


The other day I saw one of the new bloggers asking for advice with baking so thought that I would supply a bit of information that I have learned over the years….



Altitude affects baking


At high altitudes the atmospheric pressure, which prevents cakes from rising, is lower than it is at the coast so you need less baking powder to make cakes rise. Rule of thumb – reduce the baking powder in the recipe by 1/2ml per every 5ml ie if your recipe calls for 20mls then use 18mls


At higher altitudes water boils at a lower temperature so more liquid will evaporate from your cakes during the baking time. Therefore you need to add more water at high altitudes to end up with the same moisture content – rule of thumb – increase your liquid by 15ml per every 125ml ie if your recipe calls for 250ml then increase it by 30ml to 280ml


Sugar has different effects at different altitudes (who knew this???)

At higher altitudes lower your sugar content – rule of thumb – decrease your sugar by ¼ ie if your recipe calls for 1 Cup then reduce it to ¾ cup


At higher altitudes you usually need to increase your oven temperature by 5 – 100C. Because oven temperatures vary from oven to oven the best way is to experiment. Once you perfect your cake, make sure you write down what temperatures you have used.





Always use level measurements unless otherwise stated

Use standard measuring spoons & cups – a standard TEA cup is usually only 200ml and not 250ml as measuring cups state

Always measure flour before sifting it

Only 250ml water weighs 250g – make sure you measure in the correct units. Read recipes carefully

1 x 250ml Cup contains 150g of Flour

1 x 250ml Cup contains 200g Sugar

1 x 250ml Cup contains 210g Castor Sugar as it is finer than granulated sugar

1 x 250ml Cup contains 230g Butter, Oil or Margarine





Try to use extra large eggs in your baking unless otherwise stated in the recipe

 Use eggs at room temperature for baking purposes

 Left over egg whites can be frozen for up to 6 months. Break them up slightly with a fork, place into plastic bags, note date and amount of egg whites. Thaw to room temperature before using 



Always beat well before you start adding the flour. 

Overmixing usually occurs when adding flour to a mixture,  when adding baking powder to a warm mixture, or when folding in beaten egg whites

Overmixing can happen easily when using a food processor because the blades move so fast

Egg whites can become dry and lumpy if overbeaten, causing cakes or soufflés to collapse.

Rule of thumb – for meringues beat until stiff peak stage – this means when you lift the beater up the whites stand up in sharp points

For everything else beat until soft peak stage – when you lift the beater up the whites form little peaks that fall over



To make your own Self Raising Flour if you don’t have any or have run out

Add 8ml Baking Powder to every 250ml Cake Flour


Never keep cake in the fridge – they dry out and become stale very quickly

Keep them covered at room temperature


Baked goods can be frozen but once thawed to room temperature eat them as soon as possible as they too will become stale very quickly


I mostly use Spray n Cook to grease my pans, then dust with flour. I also use baking paper, cut to the size of the base of the tin, to line the base. Don’t spray or flour the paper



Happy baking in 2009 everyone,

browniegirl xxx

Some of the above information was taken from my very well used copy of

A Practical Guide to Cooking

by Pamela Schippel