High Altitude Baking Recipes??

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
High Altitude Baking Recipes??
Mon, 12-08-2003 - 11:06am
I moved from Texas to Utah about 18 months ago and i am still battling with this high altitude stuff. I am not a Betty Crocker person anyways, but i had mastered the store bought cake mixes and muffin mixes before i got here. And it took me several months to get those right.

Meanwhile, all of my homemade cookie recipes i have avoided altogether. I have resorted to buying the cookie dough in the rolls and throwing a few in at a time when needed.

But Christmas is coming, and my father UPSd me a 2 pound package of fresh pecans and i have nothing to bake with them. Any help on the recipes would be nice. I need something fairly easy to start out with. i don't sift or anything like that. But if anyone has a killer high altitude choclate chip recipe, or peanut butter, or sugar cookie, i would love to try it.

By the way, i have a wonderful recipe for Pralines and Hermits (cinnamon raisin cookie) if anyone would like them. They are made all through my family and are SO good. I will try the pralines up here, but i am afraid to even mess with the Hermits.

Thanks again



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 12-08-2003 - 11:54am

Hi Helen and Welcome to QUick and Easy board.

I have to tell you I have NO experience with that high altitude baking....I'm barely good at baking Period!(lol)

I can sure see where you would want to bake up a batch of your favorite x-mas cookies....have you experimented at all?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Tue, 12-09-2003 - 6:55pm
thank you for the warm welcome Tracy. I thought i had that Hermit recipe written down in my recipe basket, but it isn't. so give me a day or two to locate it. I am 7 months pregnant and my mind is FRIED! lol

But i do have a wonderful Apple Enchiladas recipe if you are interested... it is YUMMY.i usually make it when we have company.

I haven't tried altering my Hermit recipe yet. It is already made with alot of flour. I guess i need to hunt a baker down and see if they can suggest how to alter it. It is a family recipe and i am not ready to give it up. It is VERY good.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 12-09-2003 - 7:58pm

Helen, that must be so frustrating for you not being able to use your tried and true recipes.

Seven months pregnant...congrats...hope all is going very healthy for you and baby.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 12-09-2003 - 8:12pm

Helen, here's a link to a site that talks about high altitude cooking and gives a couple recipes...Maybe this can get you at least started...


I'll keep looking....there must be more info somewhere...


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 12-09-2003 - 8:27pm

AND, here's ONe more bit of info....

High Altitude Baking

Ahh, the joys of mountaintop living. Clean fresh air, snowcapped peaks, falling cakes…

Cakes already can be tricky but when you throw altitude into the mix the pesky little confections can become positively cantankerous.

The higher in elevation you are the less air pressure there is. The low air pressure causes water to boil at lower temperatures, thus increasing the time it takes to boil and cook whatever food you're preparing. The lowered air pressure also tends to cause baked goods to rise faster. This requires a change in the proportion of ingredients used in leavened foods. Occasionally, you may even need to adjust the baking temperature in your oven as well, which means the liquids will evaporate faster. When too much liquid evaporates from your batter, the rest of the ingredients become concentrated. This generally means you end up with too much sugar in the batter. Too much sugar will prevent the cake from setting and you'll find a gooey mess on your hands. At the same time, the air bubbles trapped in the batter will be rising faster and developing a sneaky little habit of escaping into the atmosphere. When these air bubbles rise too fast your cake will rise fast and high…then fall. This will create a dense, dry mess of a cake.

So, how does one solve this problem?

Cooking at high altitudes generally requires two basic adjustments:
1. An increase in time for boiled foods.
2. A change in the proportions of ingredients used in leavened foods such as cakes and yeast breads. In some instances, a change in baking temperatures may also be necessary.

Most cake recipes need no modification for sea level up to the altitude of 3,000 feet. Above that, it is often necessary to adjust recipes slightly. Usually, a decrease in leavening or sugar (or both) and an increase in liquid are needed. Remember, ingredients such as eggs or butter are considered liquids.

For any baked goods that rise (yeast breads, cakes or breads made with baking powder, etc.), it is important to adjust the recipe so that the rapid rise time doesn't make the resulting bread or cake too dry. This can be done as follows:

For yeast cakes:

  • Yeast cakes rise more quickly at high altitudes, so be sure to watch your dough carefully and judge the rise time by the change in the dough's bulk, not by the amount of time it takes. Proofing time for yeast cakes should be reduced.

For cakes using baking powder:

  • Don't overbeat the eggs. Overbeating adds too much air to the cake.
  • Raise the baking temperature slightly; the faster cooking time will keep the recipe from rising too much. At elevations over 3,500 feet, the oven temperature for batters and doughs should be about 25 degrees F higher than the temperature used at sea level.
  • Decrease the amount of baking powder slightly; this also prevents the recipe from rising too much.

For foam cakes:

  • Don't overbeat the eggs. Foam cakes have a very delicate egg protein structure.
  • Reduce sugar slightly to help compensate for the liquid loss.
  • Increase whole eggs or egg whites to compensate for the liquid loss.

Cakes tend to stick more when they are baked at high altitudes. So be sure to always grease your baking pans well and dust them with flour or line them with parchment paper. Exceptions are angel food cakes and sponge cakes, which should always be baked in ungreased pans. Also, fill pans only 1/2 full of batter, not the usual 2/3 full, as high altitude cakes may overflow.

Follow the chart below for more specific adjustments. When adapting a recipe for high altitudes always start out with the smallest adjustment, then add more adjustments later and only if necessary. Keep in mind that any or all of these adjustments may be required, for every recipe is different in its balance of ingredients. Only repeated experiments with each different recipe can give the most successful proportions to use. It's a good idea to keep notes of how you adjusted your recipes until you know what works best for your particular location. Good luck and happy baking!


Adjustment for 3000 feet:

  • Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon decrease 1/8 teaspoon.
  • Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 1 tablespoon.
  • Increase liquid: for each cup, add 1 to 2 tablespoons.
  • Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

Adjustment for 5000 feet:

  • Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
  • Increase liquid: for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons.
  • Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

Adjustment for 7000+ feet:

  • Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 1 to 3 tablespoons.
  • Increase liquid: for each cup, add 3 to 4 tablespoons.
  • Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

The Staff

This article was written by Ursula Dalzell, a former member of the Allrecipes editorial staff.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Wed, 12-10-2003 - 12:07am
Thank you Tracy!! You gave me alot of information. I will have to print it out tomorrow after hubby comes home and tells me where he put all my computer paper! lol

Second pregnancy. A boy this time. With my daughter i couldn't stand sweets. This time all i want is hamburgers and sweets. So, i wanted to do some baking for the holidays.

I am still on the hunt for the Hermit recipe. If worse comes to worse, i will call my mother and get it. I know it is around here somewhere. I am getting very airheaded with this pregnancy.

It took me quite a while to learn how to cook to begin with. My poor hubby ate lots of runny eggs. But just when i finally got the cooking and baking down, we moved to Salt Lake City. And our altitude is around 4500 feet.

Took me three cakes to finally ask my neighbor what i was doing wrong! lol, she said "Honey, you are high altitude now!"

Duh! So, i am AFRAID to even try my cookie recipe. :)

But i guess i will try it once and see what happens. Can't hurt.

Thanks again Tracy for all the info. I posted the Apple Enchilada Recipe for you. I will look and see if i have anything else i can remember that i have tried and liked.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 12-10-2003 - 12:36am

Well Helen, I'm just sorry I couldn't find something more definitive..but, I have a feeling this is something that you are just going to have to experiment with.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2003
Wed, 12-10-2003 - 7:09am
Sorry I was kinda MIA yesterday and missed this one.
TracyPalmPoster.jpg picture by cl-daisy526
Avatar for cl_daisy526
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Wed, 12-10-2003 - 9:46am
Hi Helen.. welcome to Quick & Easy.

BabyFoot.jpg picture by cl-daisy526

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Wed, 12-10-2003 - 10:10am
Thanks for the warm welcome you guys. The baby is due in Feb and my DD turns four in April. I feel like i have my hands full already. But i have been told that once she hits four, she will chill out a bit. I hope so!

I don't know if it is the pregnancy, or what. But i am feeling VERY Martha Stewarty lately. I want to bake, i want to cook, and i have begged for a sewing machine for Christmas. Now, i don't know how to sew on a button, much less thread a sewing machine! ROFL

But i will try a few recipes and see what i can find out. My upstairs neighbor brought me down a cook book last night. Apparently it is from a nice resturant down in SLC. So she said everything in there should already be high altitude.

My husband's birthday is in two days and i thinking of trying a cheesecake.

How did i talk myself into this??? ;)

Glad to be here and i will probably lurk as much as i pipe in!