If you’re lucky enough to live in the mountains above 3,000 ft., you know that this presents some challenges for baking. Cakes rise too fast, and fall too hard! But these problems can be overcome if you follow these instructions.
First, find out the exact altitude of your location by checking your address with whatismyelevation.com. (Link opens a new tab). No login required – just enter your address and it tells you your elevation in feet or meters.
Once you know your elevation, here’s a quick corrections chart to adjusting your cakes for high-altitude baking.
There are six factors you’ll need to correct in adjusting a cake recipe for high altitude: Oven Temp, Baking Time, Sugar, Liquid, Flour and Leavening.
For a cake mix, the rule of thumb is Add one tablespoon of flour at 3,500 ft., then another tablespoon for every 1,500 beyond that.
See below for adjusting your scratch recipes.
Oven Temperature: Increase by 25F for most cakes. Increase by 15F for chocolate or angel food and lighter cakes.
Baking Time: Cut 5 to 8 minutes for every 30 minutes of baking time in the original recipe.
Sugar: Cut sugar by 1 tablespoon per cup in the original recipe.
Liquid: Increase liquid by 2 tablespoons at 3,000 ft., and an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons for every 1,000 ft. beyond that. “Liquid” can include eggs (highly recommended), water or milk. 1 egg is about 3 tablespoons – an egg white is 2 tablespoons.
Flour: Add 1 tablespoon of flour at 3,500 ft. For every 1,500 beyond that, add another tablespoon.
Leavening: This is critical. As altitude increases, leavening must decrease drastically. Follow the table below:
LeaveningHow to adjust cakes for high-altitude baking
|Recipe calls for this amount of Baking Powder or Soda||Use this at 3,000 - 5,000 ft.||Use this at 5,000-6,500 ft.||Use this at 6,500-8,000 ft.|
|1 teaspoon||7/8 tsp||1/2 tsp||1/4 tsp|
|1 1/2 teaspoons||1 1/4 tsp||3/4 tsp||1/2 tsp|
|2 teaspoons||1 1/2 tsp||1 tsp||3/4 tsp|
|2 1/2 teaspoons||1 3/4 tsp||1 1/4 tsp||1 tsp|
|3 teaspoons||2 tsp||1 1/4 tsp||1 tsp|
|3 1/2 teaspoons||2 1/2 tsp||1 1/2 tsp||1 tsp|
|4 teaspoons||2 1/2 tsp||1 1/2 tsp||1 tsp|
One word of caution: Many, MANY scratch cake recipes are way too over-leavened in the first place. At high-altitude, this will make-or-break your cake!
In general, the recipe should call for:
- 1 tsp of baking powder per 1 cup of flour
- 1/4 tsp of baking soda per 1 cup of flour
Check your recipe FIRST before making high-altitude corrections!