How to Adjust Cake Baking Times for Large Cakes

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Preparing a large cake for a special occasion presents a few challenges. Using more of your favorite mix, or scaling up your favorite recipe, is only the starting point. In most cases you'll also need to adjust your baking time and oven temperature, so the middle will finish baking before the edges become tough and over-baked. As long as the cake pans are the same depth, it's a relatively simple adjustment.

Things You'll Need

  • Cake batter or cake mix
  • Large cake pan
  • Cake tester or skewer
  • Refer to a baking pan conversion chart to determine how much batter you'll need for your cake. Prepare the corresponding quantity of cake mix or scratch-made batter.

  • Preheat your oven to a temperature 25 degrees Fahrenheit lower than your recipe or cake mix specifies, if your pan requires more than double the original quantity of batter. For example, if you'd normally bake at 350 F you should reduce the temperature to 325 F.

  • Compare the size of your large cake pan to the size you'd normally use for your recipe or cake mix. Make a note of the difference in size.

  • Add approximately 5 minutes of baking time for every inch of additional diameter, with round cakes. For square cakes, add 5 minutes of baking time for every two additional inches. For sheet pans, add 5 minutes of baking time for each increase in size beyond 11 by 15 inches.

  • Test the cake for done-ness 5 to 10 minutes before the end of your projected baking time. If the middle is fully set and a cake tester or skewer comes out clean, your cake is done. Otherwise, continue baking and test it again at the end of your projected baking time. Continue, until the cake tests as done.

  • Remove your cake from the oven and cool it completely.

Tips & Warnings

  • The 5-minute allowance is a rough guide, not an infallible rule, because cakes bake differently depending on the recipe.
  • If your cakes are prone to over-baking at the edges before they're done in the middle, there are several ways to adapt. Most kitchenware retailers sell insulating "cake strips" that wrap around the pan, reducing the likelihood of overbaking the edges. To help the middle bake more quickly, some companies sell metal inserts that conduct heat into the batter. When the finished cake cools, the insert can be removed and the hole filled with icing or a small piece of cake.

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  • Photo Credit John Moore/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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