How would I modify recipes for making mini-cakes and tarts instead of a single large cake/tart?
April 21, 2011 10:46 AM   Subscribe

How would I modify recipes for making mini-cakes and tarts instead of a single large cake/tart? Specifics on my cakes and tarts are inside.

I’m making fruit tarts for Easter and rather than making one big fruit tart I’d like to make several little tarts. The original recipe calls for a nine to nine and a half-inch pan; I’ve got four-inch tart pans and want to know how to modify the baking. The recipe says to bake the tart shell at 375 for about thirty minutes covered and then another five to eight minutes uncovered. How would I change this for smaller tarts?

As a bonus, I’d also like to make mini-bundt cakes instead of a big bundt cake. The recipe says to bake for an hour and fifteen minutes at 350. How should I change this?

As an extra-special bonus, if there’s a general rule for modifying baking times and temperatures for ensmallening or embiggening baked items, that would be awesome. Thank you!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There really is no set rule to modify baking times. It varies due to ingredients.

It would be hard to give you an exact time on the tarts. The best thing to do, is lower the temp of your oven a bit and check it every few minutes.

Someone else might have a better answer, but when I do this same type of thing, it's what works best for me. I once asked something similar and followed the advice given, it then burned.

Live and learn I guess.
posted by magnoliasouth at 11:25 AM on April 21, 2011

If you can get your hands on Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible (check your library), she has baking volume & cooking time adjustments for every conceivable size of pan.

"Mini-bundt" is not specific enough. You would need to know the volume. But if your mini-bundt pans came with sample recipes you should be able to ballpark it. Just check for doneness every few minutes.

For the tarts if you're just blind-baking them all you need to do is get them dry and golden. Just keep an eye on them.
posted by bcwinters at 11:29 AM on April 21, 2011

Best answer: Are you baking the empty shells? If so, it's very little change in time total. For bundt to mini bundt, I'd expect a much bigger difference, probably I'd start checking around 25-35 minutes to see if a tester comes out dry.
posted by jeather at 11:40 AM on April 21, 2011

You may find these of interest. I confess my lovely partner idest was behind this blog.

This too, wrt mini Bundts. Damn, I wish we still kept this blog up.
posted by Decani at 11:40 AM on April 21, 2011

I wouldn't change the temperatures. As far as times, you're probably just going to have to watch them and check for doneness.
posted by wallaby at 12:10 PM on April 21, 2011

Best answer: You just have to check them and see if they're done.
Really you should never go by the times in recipes, those are just guidelines. Ovens vary widely, and they are often not calibrated correctly. It's best to check the physical signs, trust your eyes and your hands and your nose!
If it smells good, looks dry on top, springs back from a light finger tap, and a toothpick comes out clean, you're good to go. If you're blind baking the pastry watch for the edges to become golden and gently pull up the foil or paper to check the bottom.
posted by meringue at 1:02 PM on April 21, 2011

A friend of mine did a stint in a commercial bakery. I remember her telling me that (presumably at least until they got the recipes completely nailed down) they'd cook bread based on internal temperature — just like you'd cook a roast beef.

This may not be quite practical depending on how aesthetically concerned you are (they'd basically sacrifice one loaf, I guess, in order to stick a probe thermometer in it) but I always thought it was an interesting idea. Here's an article on doing it at home, with temperature recommendations for different types of bread, and this Alton Brown article specifies 212F for cake, so I don't think it's too insane.

I think that if you use temperature rather than time, that it ought to be agnostic to pan size.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:36 AM on April 25, 2011

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