How to use our Cake Decorating Recipe Calculator

Did you know we have a cake decorating icing and recipe calculator? We made it to support the recipes in my books, so it has all the cake recipes from both Adorable Cakes for All Occasions and Playful Party Cakes, as well as various types of buttercream and chocolate ganache.

Here it is! Blame Nick if you find any problems 😈

We’ve had a few questions about how to use it so here’s a quick guide.

How to use our cake decorating calculator

  1. Choose your cake recipe under Flavour, the Shape (round or square), the size (which is the width, so the edge for a square cake or diameter for a round cake), and the baked height.
  2. Decide if you want icing. If not, turn it off! Otherwise pick the icing recipe and how many layers you plan to cut and stack for your cake (3 is usually what Sharon uses).
  3. Calculate! And Print if you like what you see (it’ll remove all the extra page decorations and just leave you with the recipes).

That part is fairly easy but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Tip 1: It uses basic arithmetic and isn’t perfect

The calculator is based on multiplying the volume of a known recipe to get quantities for other sizes. We haven’t tested every size and variation so you might need to make some adjustments because cooking is also a science and (as an example) a larger mix might not rise at the same rate since it takes longer to heat up. So if possible bake a bit early so you have time to make a top up cake if it’s a bit short (and please let us know if you run into trouble).

For reference, all our recipes are based on an 8 inch square or 9 inch round cake (these are almost exactly the same size) baked to around 4 inches tall. If your recipe is for this size and comes up short let us know, we might have to fix it.

Tip 2: You might get some weird numbers (0.5 eggs!?) so need to work around this

Like above, it just multiplies the amounts. So a recipe that takes 1 egg, when half the size, asks for half an egg. There’s two ways to approach this:

  • The super accurate way is to beat the egg in a bowl or cup, weigh it, then weigh out the proportion you require. A digital scale makes this easier.
  • Round up or down (within reason – don’t round down to no eggs!) and see what happens.

We usually use the second option because a lot of the time changing 3.5 eggs to 4 eggs makes no major difference to the recipe (eggs come in various shapes and sizes anyway).

Tip 3: Cooking times will vary

It’s almost always easier to get a consistent result when cooking a smaller cake. Larger cakes just take longer for the heat to get to the centre, and the edges can dry out or burn. So we personally sometimes prefer to bake 2 shorter cakes to stack since it’s a lot quicker and easier.

And if we do need to make one larger cake, it might be better to bake it low and slow or on the bottom shelf rather than the top (see the next tip!). But keep in mind it can be difficult to get a larger cake to rise as much as you’d hope so it can end up more dense. Some stores sell baking strips and heating cores so that might help, but we’ve never used them.

Tip 4: Every oven is different

Even if you can set a temperature on your oven rather than just gas levels, it doesn’t mean your oven is that temperature. Even if it’s close, there are always hot spots due to the oven layout and airflow.

As one example, the top rack is often hotter than the bottom (hot air rises, remember?). So even though everyone says not to open the oven too much, if you have a standard home oven you may need to open it quickly to rotate or move the cake. And since baking uses up the heat energy, adding more cakes might slow everything down if your oven cannot put out enough heat to keep warm (just like when you crowd a frying pan with too many items, you can get a soggy mess).

For carved 3D cakes, I prefer a denser recipe. My favourite for this is chocolate mud.
Here he is in progress. It’s important to have layers of ganache between the cake to keep it tasty and moist.

Tip 5: We prefer weights, and we think you should too 🙂

Using a digital scale makes baking so much easier. Where possible we like to weigh all ingredients (even liquids) but that isn’t as practical for everyone so we’ve used teaspoons (tsp), tablespoons (Tbsp), and millilitres (ml) for liquid weights in most cases. Whenever we find a recipe we want to use again, we print it out and write the ingredient weights to save time in the future.

If you aren’t familiar with the units we use, the best way is to go to google and type a query like 125ml in cups. It’ll pop up a handy calculator (follow that link to try) and works for everything!

But here’s a quick conversion chart with some common measurements we use. Cooking is a bit of an art as well as a science, so if you have US cups or tablespoons instead of Australian, don’t worry too much.

This unit… … is equal to:
28 grams 1 ounce
29.5 ml 1 fluid ounce
1 tsp 5 ml
1 tbsp 20ml
1 cup 250 ml
160 degrees Celsius 320 degress Fahrenheit
170 degrees celsius 338 degress Fahrenheit
180 degrees celsius 356 degress Fahrenheit
190 degrees celsius 375 degress Fahrenheit

We hope that helps but let us know in the comments or our contact page if you have any more questions!

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