Baking at a high altitude

Baking is a science. It takes careful measurements and perfect mixing and folding to achieve the desired finished product. There isn't a lot of room for experimenting with ratios or ingredients - and that's just at sea level. Go up 5,000-9,000 feet and it's a whole different story.

When I first graduated from culinary school, I worked at a camp in Blue Jay, CA., (near Big Bear). The elevation is around 5,200 feet. I had to learn to alter recipes while also making mass quantities of my experimental recipes. It was a challenge, but I would say all in all it went very well. I moved on since then and ten years later, here I am in Aurora, Co., at 5,200 feet again!

Back in 2007, I altered recipes by increasing/decreasing each ingredient based on percentages.

OH MY. It was not fun.

This will give you a basic idea of how I did it.

Increase eggs by 9%?? how do you do that, you ask? You have to measure the eggs the given recipe says to put in, multiply by .09 and then scramble one extra and weigh it so that it is equal parts white and yolk, and add the exact right amount down to the decimal point.


I'm not doing that again.

Based on some research about why baking is different at high altitude, I have found that this simpler method of adding or subtracting an amount based on dry measurement will be easier work for a wide range of cake recipes.

This "cheat sheet" only applies to cakes. It doesn't apply to other baked goods like breads, custards, candy making or cookies so do not use it for those. As I continue to test out more recipes I will add them to the blog and I will eventually cover all those bases. Since cakes are my specialty, this had to come first. Also remember that all recipes are different, even cake recipes differ. So this is not guaranteed to work, but it SHOULD work.

Please feel free to comment with any questions you have about this topic, or any other baking/cooking questions you might have!



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