The Optimal Sizes Of Cakes

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This is not a treatise on the dimensions of a baking tin that will produce the perfect cake-to-icing ratio, prevent crispy edges or avert sticky middles. It definitely isn’t about appropriate portions of cakes to eat in one sitting – that’s one fraught question to be tackled alone, preferably under cover of darkness in the privacy of your own kitchen, potentially with the sparse light emanating from a fridge door cracked ajar as you forage for a fork without waking anybody up... Sorry, got all distracted there for a second. It’s not about midnight cake snaffles, anyway.

Tiny model patries photographed by Dave Warren for the Daily Mail
Tiny (model) pastries via the Daily Mail (photo by Dave Warren)... such a pity they're not real!

The subject at hand is how big (or small) a cake should be to give it the best possible chance of not ending up looking like it got dressed in the dark. If you’re a daring baker who can turn out flawless entremets while simultaneously chatting on the phone to your mum, this might seem like a funny question. If you’re a messy penguin baker who tends to get cake batter all up the sides of the tin, though, it’s a very real consideration.

If it’s too big, you risk running out of puff halfway through. A bit like painting the house. All those wide expanses to not get all smeary. Very like painting the house...

Victorian house cake from Confetti Cakes
Victorian house cake from Confetti Cakes

And if it’s too small, you can become a fumble-fingered giant poking futilely at a microscopic baked whatsit until you end up having to fish it out from the bowl of ganache into which it fell. A penguin in the kitchen sometimes has more in common with a bull in a china shop than she’d like to admit...

Miniature cake via Indianapolis Monthly
Miniature cake via Indianapolis Monthly

So what is the perfect size for a cake? Like Goldilocks, I’m just going to have to keep trying until I find the one that’s just right. Or until a bear stops me!

Almond cream bear donut from myinnerfatty on Flickr
Almond cream bear donut from myinnerfatty on Flickr

Kellie Collis on February 11, 2011 at 6:37 AM

They look so pretty! Have a beautiful day, Kellie xx

briarrose on February 11, 2011 at 12:41 PM

The miniature models are just too cute. ;) The quest for the perfect sized cake...the taste testing along would be fun...all in the name of science of course.

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