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Topic: How long can you let batter sit before baking?
mumsy5 10/13/2009 2:59 PM is my "dumb" question of the week. Let's say I'm baking my first wedding cake. I'm using a large pan and need a couple of recipes to make enough batter for the pan. If my mixer is smaller...and I have to make, for instance, one box of cake mix at a long can the batter sit out before you bake it?

In other words...if you have to make 3 boxes of cake mix to fill your must be okay to let the batter sit out or no one would be baking large cakes.

I just would like to know how long the batter can sit before baking. (A reasonable amount of time would be)???

Well there may not be such a thing as a dumb question...but I feel dumb asking it.

I hope I've made myself understandable. ;o)

cheers...the mums
N8sMom96 10/13/2009 3:37 PM
Mumsy, I don't know the "official" BC or DH answer to this, but I have to do that too. My mixer can only take 1 at a time, and 2 really pushes it and makes a mess. I have let it sit in the pan while I mix the 2nd batch and put it in the 2nd pan. It really only takes about 5 minutes or so to whip up the 2nd box. My cakes have turned out fine.
cakes06 10/13/2009 3:40 PM
My mixer bowl holds 3 box mixes at one time, but if I were doing say, 3 separate batches and then mixing them together to pour into pans, the batter would be just fine. Also, when I use all the batter in the mixing bowl, it's okay to let it sit until the cakes come out of the oven and then I mix up another batch of batter for the next ones.
Jeanne G 10/13/2009 5:17 PM
It is not at all a dumb question. It is an important one, and not one we could be expected to know without some guidance.

I do know the "official" BC or DH or Pillsbury answer to this, because I've asked them. Ideally the batter goes directly into the oven once it is mixed, and if necessary the excess batter can be refrigerated for up to one hour. After that discard it.

A chemical reaction starts as soon as the wet and dry ingredients are mixed. That is why all recipes direct you to preheat the oven and prepare the pans before you start -- once that batter is mixed, into the oven it goes!

If you must mix a few batches one at a time, you can minimize the wait time by having the dry ingredients (the mix) in separate bowls, the wet ingredients in separate bowls for each, and then go down the line mixing each, one after the other. That way the entire time that the first bowl of mix is waiting is only what it takes to mix the others -- not the measuring time as well. So the first bowl has been mixed and sitting for 4 to 5 minutes by the time the third bowl is mixed. That is not a problem.

It is best to only mix the amount of batter you can bake at one time. When you are doing multiple tiers sometimes you can bake more than one size at a time and get maximum use out of the mixes. Small amounts of excess batter can often be baked as cupcakes.

So far I'm only talking about what is "ideal." Can you get by with refrigerating the batter longer than an hour? Can you let the batter sit on the counter while the first batch bakes? Maybe. But if you are hoping for optimum quality you will try to keep your practices as close to ideal as possible.
mumsy5 10/13/2009 6:32 PM
Thank you for your replies. Now it will take a while for this here brain to soak up those interesting facts. When you're new at something it seems so hard to figure out these things! Now I'll have to keep in mind how many cups of batter each size cake pan takes and then figure it all out in my totally non-mathematical brain.

It oughta be quite an adventure! Fortunately my very first wedding cake is not needed until 10/10/10...lots of time to practice!!! I also have a 6 qt. KA to work with...I think I can get a couple of box mixes in there...but then again...I wonder how the cake turns out when you put in two boxes together.

So many questions...but a lot of time!!

cheers...the mums
Jeanne G 10/13/2009 8:56 PM
The cake turns out fine when you mix two at a time ... or even three, which I'll bet your mixer can hold. Double (or triple) the ingredients, but not the mixing time!
MARIE J 10/14/2009 7:28 AM
I'm with Jeanne - you should be able to make 2 or 3 boxes at a time

When I make my cakes - from scratch it makes 6 cups of batter for each mix. I can make a double batch in my mixer - which is a 5 qt, giving me 12 cups of cake batter !!- no problems
ladycatisadiva 10/14/2009 9:15 AM
mumsy5, I have 2 6 quart KA's and yes I have mixed up to 3 boxes at one time. NO problem. Don't be afarid to put the KA to work. It's made with a big motor to take a beating. So, work it out, I promise you won't be sorry.

cakesbychrystal 10/14/2009 1:07 PM
I agree with Jeanne, MARIE J & ladycatisadiva. You should be able to mix more than one box with your mixer. I have a 6qt KA and I do three in that one and I have a 4.5qt KA and I can do two in that. If your mixer can only handle's probably better to just dump your mixes in a large bowl (Wal-Mart sells 5qt plastic bowls for like $4) and use a hand mixer.

If I have too many cakes in my ovens and still have more batter to bake...I poor the batter into the pan(s) and put it in the fridge until I have more oven space. I haven't had any issues with having to do that. I read somewhere that when you chill the batter it slows down the chemical reaction.

Jeanne G 10/14/2009 1:18 PM
"I read somewhere that when you chill the batter it slows down the chemical reaction." But, according to the mix companies, an hour is the max you can reliably do this.