Fix my cake recipe
April 12, 2006 12:01 PM   Subscribe

How do I alter this cake recipe to bake successfully at low altitude?

My mom bakes this wonderful, simple apple cake that I love. Mom lives at one mile elevation and the cake turns out perfect every time. I live at sea level and the cake never bakes properly when I attempt it. My pride is now assuaged since Mom is visiting and just attempted the cake with the exact results I always get. Tastes great. Looks like hell. Falls in the middle.

How do we alter this recipe for low altitude baking?

Mom's Apple Cake
3 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 large apples - sliced
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup Vegitable oil
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 tsp Vanilla
4 to 5 tbsp Sugar mixed with 2 tsp Cinnamon

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and Salt into large bowl. Add eggs, oil, orange juice, and vanilla. Mix. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan. Pour 1/2 batter. Arrange 1/2 the apple slices and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Pour rest of batter. Top with rest of apple slices, sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 for approximately 75 minutes. Cool in pan then remove.
posted by onhazier to Food & Drink (9 answers total)
IANAPB but that recipie looks OK to me. I'm wondering if its your oven. One of my old apartments had an oven that never cooked cake properly but after our landlord bought us a new oven/stove we never had that problem again.

(BTW, that cake sounds de-lish!)
posted by LunaticFringe at 12:10 PM on April 12, 2006

Unfortunately, there's no magic formula, only guidelines. You're probably still going to have to experiment. This web page done by Colorado State Cooperative Extension explains how to alter sea-level recipes for cooking/baking at higher elevations. You can adjust your mother's recipe for temp, leaveneing, etc. in the opposite direction.
posted by wryly at 12:13 PM on April 12, 2006

Sorry, not the oven. All other cakes turn out perfectly. I've attempted this cake at all the places (8) I've lived in Virginia and had the same results. Thus, we can rule out the stove.

Could it also be a result of the cake pan. The recipe calls for a 10 inch tube. I use a 10 inch tube pan. Mom uses an old angel food cake pan. It's a bit larger than my tube pan. I don't know if it is an 11 or 12 inch pan.

On preview: Thanks wryly. Oh curse the bad luck... more cake.
posted by onhazier at 12:17 PM on April 12, 2006

That baking soda quantity looks suspect to me. I'm not a pro, but I'd expect 1-2tsps in that slot.
posted by Shutter at 1:23 PM on April 12, 2006

Which of course should have read "baking powder"...
posted by Shutter at 1:23 PM on April 12, 2006

I wonder whether replacing the salt with half a teaspoon of baking soda might not help? (But before you take my advice you should know I'm just about the world's worst cook.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:46 PM on April 12, 2006

Yeah, that sounds like too much baking powder to me. 1 Tbsp seems a lot for a cake - I'd start with trying halve it.
posted by Melinika at 7:24 PM on April 12, 2006

For low altitude, increase baking powder in a recipe that works at high altitude. Rising is easier when you're already high.
posted by Goofyy at 12:17 AM on April 13, 2006

Hi! I was about to try your recipe, when my mom called. It turns out my Mom's Apple Cake is differs from your Mom's Apple cake in only three ways! Here are the differences between her recipe (which I ended up using, and has been tested in both San Francisco and Boston):

5 eggs instead of four.
1 tsp instead of 1/4 tsp salt
90 minutes baking time instead of 75 minutes baking time.

I used an Angel Food cake pan. I think the cooking time is probably the most significant change - I tested it at 75 minutes with a wooden skewer and it didn't come clean. So I cooked it 90.
posted by aubilenon at 2:47 PM on April 17, 2006

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