MEASUREMENTS 101

Quite possibly the #1 reason for recipe failures is due to incorrect measuring.

This will be the first thing I will ask you when I get the question,  “Gretchen, my recipe came out terrible! It looks nothing like yours on the video! What do you think went wrong?”

I will almost always answer “Double check your measurements, are you SURE you measured correctly?”

cups measure 1`

 

I have had terrible failures in baking many times before. So I always look to my measurements first when my recipes fail.

Often times I am rushing through, or simply not paying attention, or thinking I put in the baking powder when I actually did not. Or better yet, putting it in TWICE! Yikes, talk about LAVA CAKES!

Now, mistakes are mistakes, and I have made them whether using volume measures as well as weighing on the scale.
Forget to press the TARE function? Yep- mistakes happen.

But what I am talking more specifically about is INFERIOR measuring devices, such as the “Good Ol'” American Cups and Spoons!

Here’s the deal about the Volume Measuring System:

A cup is a cup. But what you put in that cup makes all the difference in the world!
Don’t be confused by thinking, “well, my cup measure says it is 8 ounces. So if I need 8 ounces of flour, then that’s 1 cup. Right?”
WRONG!
So you see we are already being tricked with weights vs. volume in the American measuring system.

The answer is easily explained when you think about 1 cup of feathers and 1 cup of rocks. Everyone knows these two things don’t weigh the same amount even though they have the same volume. This holds true for ingredients because density (therefore weight) does vary from ingredient to ingredient.

Not to mention, the word “ounce” can refer to both volume (capacity) and weight (mass).
There are ‘weight’ ounces and there are ‘fluid’ ounces. For example, you can have 4 ounces of flour (weight) and 4 fluid ounces of milk (volume).

Totally different things.

You could put a 1/2c of flour into a liquid measure that reads 1/2 c= 4oz. But this is FALSE. a 1/2 c of flour is NOT 4oz at all. It is more like 2.25oz.

And just for the record,  OUNCE = WEIGHT! So you are already doing it! Just INCORRECTLY!

Let’s take this thinking over to the Metric System.

If I need a cup of flour it will weigh 130g. But a cup of sugar weighs 200g.
This is the rocks vs feathers example and a good thing to always remember when getting used to this new way of measure.
Please take a moment to check out this video where I explain more in a visual about using a scale versus measuring cups CLICK HERE (and skip to 7:47 minutes in the video)

I know it is difficult to accept change.  But believe me,  if you can just invest less than $15 on a digital scale, your recipes will start to transform!
Now look, I do understand that some of you cannot simply spend the money right now. I GET IT!
So in the meantime you will have to do some extra work in converting your recipes. Check out this great website for help there INGREDIENT CONVERSIONS

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17 Comments

  1. Hi gretchen,tenks for all the information you give out here,it has really helped me alot,I am a nigerian and I came across ur videos while browsing and I must say I haven’t stopped watching and learning since then cos am new to baking buh d problem is I really need to know more about measurements in baking like from scratch and would love if you can explain that to me

    1. excellent! welcome! I am not sure what your question is though, other than what has already been answered in this blog post. can you be more specific?

  2. Hi gretchen,when I said I did not know much about measurement from scratch,I meant if there’s a way you could explain wat amount of butter to sugar and flour to use wen making a cake from scratch that’s if I want to try baking a cake without using same measurement u give,let’s say I want to bake an 8 inch cake should the flour and butter measurement be equal and d sugar less than or equal to?

    1. Oh I got you- well, that’s a whole class semester in school! LOL I cant really go into that here right now! I havent even tried to create my own formulas in a very long time!

  3. Hi Gretchen, I enjoy your blogs very much and have learned a lot, can you please help me, I want o make the Yellow butter cake, for my granddaughter birthday she want a Dolphin cake, I need a larger quantity, is it ok to triple the recipe , the cake pan is14inch by 11.1/2 inches and 2inch high, and how long do I cook it for.
    thanks Lidia

    1. HI Thanks! You can triple the recipe sure! You will bake the came until its done Id say about 35 minutes to start then check it every 5-10 minutes- you may have to adjust the temp too towards end of baking- to prevent overbrowning

  4. I love your page and YouTube Chanel. I thank you for being my teacher .I have baked so many of your cakes and goodies. They are so good. I use the scale. I love doing it that way. Although I do follow another channel who I love but she does it the old schooled way. I am trying to find where you have a chart or a website I can pring out so I can convert her recipes using the scale. I hope you can help . thanks.

  5. Thanks Gretchen. I invested in a good digital scale a few years ago and every single recipe that I make using weight rather than measurements comes out perfectly! I had a children’s pie making class and while the dough was resting in the refrigerator I show the students how very different measurements are. We did flour and I showed them on the scale the difference in scooping vs. spooning and then showed them also sifted. They were really amazed at the difference. I wish I would have thought about the feather/rock comparison. I find it particularly important when adding eggs. I always appreciate a recipe that calls for grams in eggs or egg whites.

  6. Hi Gretchen, I love all the great information you give us. I do have one problem though. I made the Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes and the filling did not come out the way it should have. I measured all the ingredients and followed your recipe exactly, but the filling was okay until I added the egg. Then it became loose and I know now that I should not have added the milk because it turned out soupy. What did I do wrong? When I baked the filling into the cupcake it seemed fine.

  7. Hi Gretchen, I’m making my daughters wedding next year and have started to plan the cake, my question is how much ingredients would I need to have up size you white sponge mix,not sure on the size of cake yet but possibly need a least three tiers in three tiers any help would be great. Thank you I’m in the UK

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