The best way to ensure a recipe turns out perfectly when baking is to measure ingredients properly. How do you even measure properly when baking? Do you just want half of that cookie recipe? Or just 12 cupcakes instead of 24? Math, math, math! What is half of 1/3? Keep reading for these answers plus a free printable measurement helper for dividing and conquering your favorite recipe.
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Tools Needed to Measure Ingredients
Knowing how to measure ingredients properly when baking is really important. Every kitchen needs a good set of measuring cups and measuring spoons. There are two types of measuring cups, liquid and dry. I have a few sets of measuring cups for dry ingredients cause I’m a sucker for shiny things and I may be guilty of catching a 1/2 teaspoon in the garbage disposal a time or two. They are so dang tiny! I also have two liquid measuring cups. A small one that just holds a cup and has smaller increments on it like 1/3 and 1/4. The second liquid measuring cup I have is a large one that holds up to a quart of liquid. Here are a few good sets to check out on Amazon.
I also find a kitchen scale very helpful especially when a recipe calls for the weight of something. I have a really simple digital scale like this.
It’s great when I want to make half a box of cake mix or measuring eggs for macaroons. I use it when I’m cooking dinner for measuring pasta or making perfectly sized meatballs. Settle that dispute over who has more Cheetos in their bowl once and for all!!
To store my flour and sugar, I use to pretty glass jars that sit out on my counter. All my other ingredients like brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder are stored in airtight containers in the pantry. Chalk labels help identify what’s in each container.
How to Measure Ingredients:
For measuring granulated sugar, use a dry measuring cup and just scoop the sugar with the measuring cup or spoon. Make sure it is full to the top. Use the back of a knife to level it out if needed. Be sure to scrape the excess back into your sugar container, not your mixing bowl.
For brown sugar, similar to granulated sugar you can scoop the brown sugar but pack it down into the dry measuring cup until it is level with the top.
For measuring flour, use a scoop and sprinkle or pour it into the dry measuring cup or spoon, fill it to the top or a little more then use the back of a knife to level it. If a recipe calls for sifting, sift the flour first then measure.
For baking powder, baking soda, and salt scoop the desired amount with the measuring spoon and level the top with the back of a knife. I say the back of a knife because that will create a flat straight surface. You could also use a flat offset spatula.
For liquids, place your measuring cup on a level surface and pour the liquid to the line of measurement you need. Don’t lift the measuring cup to see how much is in it. It will no longer be level. Bend down to where the cup is to see if you have reached the correct measurement. If you just need a tablespoon or teaspoon of liquid, I recommend holding the spoon over the sink to catch any spills.
For butter or cream cheese, these delicious ingredients are usually marked directly on their wrappers. I use a sharp knife to cut straight through the paper. It’s best to do this before softening for a recipe so the measurement is crisp. You can also use a kitchen scale to weigh them.
To use a scale, first turn it on, then place a bowl or container on top of the scale to hold whatever you plan on measuring. Press the zero button to set the scale back to zero. This will ensure your bowl or container is not included in the weight of your ingredients. Gently pour or place your ingredient in the bowl until the correct weight is reached.
How to Divide a Recipe:
Now that we have brushed up on how to measure ingredients, let’s talk about how to divide a recipe. I mention dividing recipes a lot in my tutorials because I love to make a little version of this and a little of that or cakes with layers of different flavors. It kinda sounds like I have trouble picking which cake I like best…hmm, yes, I love them all.
I decided to come up with a quick cheat sheet to help with dividing recipes and measuring ingredients. I keep a copy on my fridge. When I’m developing a recipe or a plan for an order it’s right there to help me out. It has each cup measurement broken down into ounces or tablespoons, and teaspoons. So you can look at it and quickly figure out what is half of 1/3 of a cup of milk.
It’s easy to figure out half of a cup, right? But what about half of a tablespoon when you don’t have a half tablespoon in your set of measuring spoons. On the cheat sheet, find the row with 1 tablespoon. It says one tablespoon is equal to 3 teaspoons. Half of 3 is 1 1/2. So half of a tablespoon is 1 1/2 teaspoons. All the measurements are broken down for you so you can quickly find what you need. BTW, half of 1/3 of a cup is 1 1/2 ounces or 3 1/2 tablespoons or 8 teaspoons.
What about eggs?
For cookies, if I’m halving a recipe that calls for one egg, I use just the yolk. Save the egg white for breakfast or freeze them in ice cube trays for later. For cakes, I use just the white. To be really precise though, l get out that kitchen scale and weigh it. Whisk the egg together really well. Place a bowl on your scale to catch the egg. Zero it out. Then pour the egg into the bowl. Half of a large egg is 1 ounce.
Printable Measurement Cheat Sheet
Now it’s time for the promised measurement helper! To get your free printable measurement sheet, enter your email below, confirm your email and then you will be sent a link and a password for instant access to print that bad boy out. Then head over to my recipes section to find the perfect recipe to test out your skills. By providing your email address you will also get my weekly newsletter so you can get your cake on with new recipes and tutorials!
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