You don’t have to go out and buy a new pan just because the recipe you want to use calls for it…Let’s learn how to scale a recipe!
You want cake. You have a new cake recipe you want to use. The recipe calls for two 8 inch pans and you only have a 9 inch. It’s the middle of the day on a weekend. You’re still in your pajamas in the middle of binge-watching Gilmore Girls for the fifth time on Netflix. You just want cake. There’s no freaking way you’re going to Walmart to buy a for an inch difference in pan size. What to do?!?
I’m going to show you how to scale a cake recipe to use any pan size you want. There is some math involved but don’t freak out, don’t run away! Stay with me. It’s not that difficult, and I’ll walk you through it!
How to Scale a Recipe
The first thing we need to do is find the area of the pan the recipe calls for and the area of the pan we want to use as a substitute. So let’s think way back to school days and remember how to calculate area.
The formula to find the area of a round pan is A = πr2. π is the symbol for Pi. Not pie… but I wish. Pi equals 3.14. The r2 tells us that we need to multiply the radius of the pan times itself. The radius is the length from the center to the edge of the pan.
One we get this number, we’ll multiply it by 3.14 to get the area of a round pan.
To find the area of a square the formula is A = a2. Basically, we just need to multiply the length of one side of the square by itself.
Below, I’ve listed the areas of same standard pan sizes just in case you want to skip a little bit of the math.
Now that we have the area of both pan sizes, we want to divide the area of the new pan by the area of the originally called for pan. The will give us our multiplication factor.
Next, we’ll take this factor and multiply it by the original weight required of each of the ingredients in the recipe. The resulting amounts are the new ingredient measurements for the recipe using the new pan size!
Whew, that was a lot, but completely doable and not that hard once you get the hang of it!
Once you have your new recipe measurements, you will need to consider the baking time. The suggested baking time stated in the original recipe will most likely need to be adjusted up or down depending on the size of the new pan. Bake at the same temperature the recipe originally states, but keep an eye on it while baking to ensure it is baked for the proper amount of time. We don’t any over or under baked cakes around here!
You can absolutely do all the necessary calculations to adjust your recipe by hand the old fashioned way. Who really wants to do a bunch of math though? I’ve created a spreadsheet that will calculate everything and spit the new recipe right out for you. Easy peasy!
It is available for download in my freebie library! You can subscribe to my newsletter below and the password to the freebie library will be emailed to you and then you can download the calculator along with some other cute things!
If you need help with adjusting your recipe please don’t hesitate to drop a comment below, and I will be happy to help you out!