Measurements and ScalingPosted 19/03/2007 by Liz Hinds
If you’ve browsed the CakeBaker website you’ll have noticed that all our recipes are given in both Metric and Imperial measurements. But what if you have scales that only measure in metric? Or you don’t have scales and guesstimate quantities from the packaging size, which is in grams? Then you’ll need to convert the quantities.
Imperial to Metric
The metric equivalent of 1 oz is 28.35g and 1 lb is 453.6g.
Now that’s a bit fiddly to bother with so we suggest instead that you replace each ounce with 25g. This will mean that you will end up with a slightly smaller product but, as long as you maintain the proportions, you shouldn’t have any problems. But remember to use a little less liquid than the recipe says if you’re using this method of converting from Imperial to metric.
If your tins are larger or smaller than suggested, amend the ingredient quantities proportionately. You will need to keep an eye on the baking times though especially if you’re making a much larger cake, as it may need a slightly lower temperature for longer to ensure it is cooked through, and not burned. If it’s for a special occasion, have a trial run beforehand: I’m sure you’ll be able to find a willing volunteer to eat it!
You’ll occasionally – but rarely in CakeBaker – see a recipe that uses a cup measurement: for example, lots of American recipes use cups.
By definition, a British/Imperial cup is bigger than an Australian cup, which in turn is bigger than an American cup, even though British and American cups are both ½ pint size. Confused?
Don’t Mix in Units
An Imperial pint is 20 fl oz; an American pint is 16 fl oz. Does that help? Probably not a lot!
However, it shouldn’t be a problem as a good recipe won’t mix its units. If it specifies cups, then all ingredients will be measured in cups, so whatever size you have to hand will be fine as it’s the proportions that matter. If you use a very large mug, then the finished product may be bigger than you anticipated – but when is that a problem?!
If you ask your grandmother how she makes your favourite fruit cake, she might tell you she uses a handful of this, two handfuls of that and a bit more of the other! She’ll have done so much baking over the years she will know through experience, and by looking at the mixture, what she needs.
The more you bake, the more accustomed you will become to recognising when a mixture is wet enough, light enough, creamy enough etc, and you’ll be able to tell if you need to add a little more of anything.
As for the oven, we’ve given you a choice of gas and electricity temperatures, and these should be a helpful guide. But ovens vary and, older ones especially, can be temperamental, so, again, it’s a case of what works best for you.
Cake baking is a science and there are certain guidelines – recipes – that will help you, but it’s also an art. Don’t forget to experiment, taste, and, most of all, enjoy the act of baking as much as the end result.